A Valid Career for the Non-enlisted Physician

41 different specialties present an enticing opportunity to care for the military and their families.

By Allison B. McCarthy, MBA | Remarks | Summer 2009


A friend’s 16-year-old grandson is enamored with the prospect of joining the Army. His father, on the other hand, a Coast Guard warrant officer, would prefer he look at that primarily domestic-based service branch, so he would be more likely stationed within the United States’ jurisdiction. His view of the Army is it’s a hard life, with lots of battle scenarios, presenting potential harm to his son.

I suspect if you talk with friends and family, you will find lots of opinions about an Army career. But like many things, perception doesn’t always match reality. In fact, our recent work with the Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center in Fort Huachuca, Arizona has turned my original thinking on its head. more »



Generation X and Y Physicians: Lack of Work Ethic?

Young doctors' expectations may seem unrealistic, but maybe those doing the hiring should adjust as well.

By Donald E. Prince, Sr. CMSR | March/April 2009 | Remarks


Much has been made of the aging workforce and the difference in values and attitudes exhibited by younger workers entering the market—whom even the business community now refers to as “Generation X” and “Generation Y” (Gen X & Y). With people not only working—but living—longer, and as we shift from a manufacturing based economy to a service economy, the healthcare industry has grown tremendously. As the healthcare industry expands, the demand for physicians has expanded as well; however, the availability of physicians has not kept pace. The result is a nationwide physician shortage. more »



Sacrifice as a Career Booster

In today’s troubled economy, it may be time to consider taking on less-desirable job responsibilities to improve your marketability.

By David Witte | January/February 2009 | Remarks


In a perfect world, as a reward for all the hard work of medical school, you would be able to have a well-paying career with a perfectly balanced life in a fabulous community. Unfortunately, the world of medicine is not perfect. Potential employers have their dream list, too, built on their own all-too-important needs. The dichotomy of physicians’ desires for quality lifestyles against hospitals’ needs for medical services is the biggest battle non-metropolitan hospitals face. Physicians are increasingly placing more emphasis on their quality of life and limiting their availability for certain tasks. Hospitals, however, still have the same coverage needs they have always had, if not more. As the economy becomes more unpredictable, hospitals are going to have to be more particular about whom they hire. As a consequence, some physicians will find it harder to get their ideal jobs, while others are going to be rewarded better than ever. more »


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The Science and Art of Finding Your Best Job

Career opportunities abound—be as smart about finding them as you have been in your education.

By Brett Walker | November/December 2008 | Remarks


As a physician you dedicate much of your young adult life learning everything you need to know to be a physician. Choosing the right undergraduate education; taking the right  pre-med classes; passing the M-CAT exam; four years of medical school; residency match process; long hours and difficult rotations during residency; fellowship applications and  matching process; fellowship program and, for some, even advanced fellowship training. Let’s face it: the road to being a physician is a long and hard-fought battle. The same holds true for navigating your job search. more »




Where Expectations Meet Frustration

Physicians wonder: what has happened to focusing the practice of medicine on patient care?

By Pamela McKemmie | Remarks | September/October 2008 | Your Voice


“Give the practice of medicine back to the physician.”

“Get rid of lawyers, HMO, Managed Care Medicine and federal regulations.”

“Eliminate the hassles of getting reimbursed for an honest day’s work.”

“Malpractice issues—stop [the] practice of defensive medicine.”

“Free medicine of the stranglehold that the insurance industry has on reimbursement and practice styles.”

These are just a few of the more-than-2,000 open-ended comments we received in summer 2007 when we asked physicians what one thing they would change about practicing medicine if given the chance. more »




Wanted: Rural Physicians

Looking for an opportunity that provides great experience, quality of life, and financial benefits? Consider branching out to a rural practice.

By Tim Skinner | Remarks | September/October 2008


You don’t have to have a rural background to consider rural practice opportunities: There are many reasons to consider living and practicing in rural communities. Primary care  physicians, surgeons, and other medical professionals provide quality health care to those living outside larger communities and many small communities, are actively recruiting.  There are advantages and disadvantages in living in smaller communities, just as there are in larger cities. However, when you’d have to drive around on your way to the office just to  finish a cup of coffee in the morning versus a 45-minute “white knuckle” commute—well, think about it. Shorter commutes mean more time with family or for recreation. more »




Lawyers Rule; Doctors Drool

After a comparison of the two professions, this attorney may need a physician.

By Jim Silver | July/August 2008 | Laugh Lines | Remarks


There has always been a little rivalry between lawyers and doctors, hasn’t there? A certain amount of jealousy about the other’s place in society, a bit of resentment about the way “they” do things.  But it’s really sort of a silly exercise isn’t it—trying to determine which of two professions is “better”? Law and medicine are each noble callings, their histories littered with towering figures like Clarence Darrow and Jonas Salk, their ranks today filled with some of our brightest minds. And “better” how? Is there any reasonable way to determine superiority when there is no standard against which to measure? It doesn’t even seem rational to compare and contrast such dissimilar bodies. But I did anyway.



The Immigration Carrot and Stick

July/August 2008 | Remarks




It’s a Laughing Matter

If giggles,grins and guffaws aren't bouncing off your walls, your practice could be in serious trouble.

By Julie Sturgeon | Remarks


Mike Moore’s sonar has picked up an alarming trend in the medical world: physicians are afraid to laugh in the office.

Yet as a professional speaker, teacher, and humorist, the Toronto-based consultant still admits to a few butterflies in his stomach when he agreed to address a medical conference whose audience consisted of 150 palliative care workers. “I was reluctant because these people deal with death and dying. And here I’m walking in with the topic ‘Light Up with Laughter,'” he says. “But within 10 minutes, my fears and anxieties about the audience were neutralized because they were hungry for the relief and therapy that humor can give.”

Part of this squeamishness is understandable. There’s emotional safety in hiding behind a quiet medical mystique and terminology. And, many physicians are afraid they will be perceived as less competent if they’re caught playing on the job. Yet this profession has more of a rationale for having fun at work because fun and play contribute positively to patients’ healing, points out Matt Weinstein, the emperor/founder of Playfair, a consulting firm in Berkeley, California and the author of Managing to Have Fun (Fireside, 1997). For starters, laughter increases T-cell production, which fights and bolsters the immune system.

Ken Davis, MD, has practiced family medicine at Sadler Clinic in Conroe, Texas, for 26 years. He seized on the results of a study released in March 2005 by Dr. Michael Miller, the director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The studies show that heart attack victims who watch just 30 minutes a day of videos they deem funny improve more quickly and with less medication, fewer complications, and fewer subsequent heart attacks. Davis now makes that a routine part of his discharge orders for heart attack patients.

“There is medical research that shows doctors who employ humor in the office with their patients and at the bedside get sued less often,” he says. Davis has no reason to question those findings. “It’s risk management—people feel more comfortable with you, see you as more human,” he says.

He shares the laugh with Mark Pettus, MD, a nephrologist who serves as a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and practices in Charleston, South Carolina. Pettus, too, buys into health reasons like the fact that laughing lowers cortisol levels, an excellent antidote to the “flight or fight” mode so many patients find themselves in when they are under stress. Still, he’s very cognizant of the stereotype of physicians as a picture of seriousness; office feedback a few years ago revealed that his informal style of humor left some of his staff wondering if Pettus was more interested in being a stand-up comedian than a doctor.

“I do need to be careful about being too funny, but there can be a balance,” he says.

Physicians who find that magic equilibrium stand to gain far more than they realize. “Humor is a social glue because it promotes bonding with people. And if there’s one profession that needs that sense of bonding, it’s one that deals with people in very difficult, frightening, and insecure times,” Moore says. Take the family practitioner with Providence Hospital Systems in Waco, Texas, who impressed John Christensen, the playground director (a.k.a. president) of Charthouse Learning in Minneapolis—best known as the publishers of FISH! This doctor hugs his patients, gets down on his knees to examine a child’s ear, and takes the time to explain the anatomy behind an earache.

“We’re talking about a single mother who drives 50 miles to see this doctor, and because he’s not in her health-care system, she pays cash,” Christensen says.

Amusing myths

The foundation to perking up the mood lies in grasping what humor is—and isn’t—in a professional setting. According to Joel Goodman, the founder and director of The Humor Project in Saratoga Springs, New York, too many leaders think humor in the workplace is childish. Instead, consider it childlike, which is a very mature, adult coping mechanism.





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