Who’s the happiest?

Flexibility, predictable schedules and immediate impact influence these satisfied specialties.

By PracticeLink Staff | Vital Stats

 

Most satisfied physicians by specialtyWhat specialty has the most satisfied physicians? Dermatologists take the cake, with radiologists and oncologists following.

Medscape’s Physician Compensation Report 2011 determined the overall satisfaction level of 22 specialties. Overall satisfaction was ranked by averaging responses to questions about compensation and career and specialty choice.

Dermatologists ranked highest in every question, coming in with an 80 percent overall satisfaction rate.

“Flexibility and predictability are two reasons dermatologists enjoy higher levels of job satisfaction,” says Amy Derick, M.D., owner of Derick Dermatology, LLC. “Dermatologists can sub-specialize or do it all: pathology, surgery, cosmetics, pediatrics, adult patients, etc. Dermatologists can work routine daytime hours (full time or part time) and thus have predictable family time in the evenings not typically interrupted by emergencies.”

Radiologists came in second as a group in overall satisfaction (72 percent).

John A. Patti, M.D., FACR, radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and chairman of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors, has been practicing for 36 years.

He’s not surprised that his specialty ranked so high among physician

satisfaction.

“You’re at the center

of everything,” he says. “There’s very little diagnosis that occurs today without the use of imaging. That makes you able to interact with a wide range of physicians and a wide range of patients.” more »

 

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DeVry Anderson, M.D.

By PracticeLink Staff | Snapshot | Summer 2011

 

DeVry Anderson, M.D., Chief medical officer, CEO, owner: Quick Care Walk In Clinic; brigade surgeon, Warrior Transition Brigade, Fort Hood, TX

 

Work

Chief medical officer, CEO, owner: Quick Care Walk In Clinic; brigade surgeon, Warrior Transition Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas

Education

MEDICAL SCHOOL: Thomas Jefferson Medical College, 2000

INTERNSHIP: Completed an orthopaedic internship in 2000.

RESIDENCY: Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Texas

IN PRACTICE SINCE: Practiced as a military surgeon until returning to family medicine residency in 2006. more »

 

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Hospitalist

Long hours and flexible scheduling mark a hospitalist’s career

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Summer 2011

 

NAME: Clay Schneiter, M.D.Hospitalist, Clay Schneiter, MD

TITLE: Physician

EMPLOYER: Sound Physicians

What do you like best about being a hospitalist?

My schedule. As hospitalists, we work shifts. At the end of the day, we turn our pagers off and we’re done. At my former hospitalist job, I worked seven days on and seven days off, so that was a nice schedule. In my current position, I’m required to work 15 shifts a month. It leaves you with 15 to 16 days off a month. You also have the option of working as much as you want to. For example, you can work 20 to 22 shifts a month. I can work more to make more. However, it’s nice to only be required to work 15 to 16 days so I can see more of my family. The shifts are scheduled for 12 hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

I like the ability to practice inpatient medicine as opposed to outpatient clinic practice. I prefer the flow…higher intensity of more ill patients versus clinic patients. I have a good group of people to work with. I practice with about 24 physicians. Eight or nine of us are on during the day. We get along well—it’s a congenial atmosphere. Everyone looks out for one another versus everyone being in for themselves trying to one out somebody for more patients, more money.

What don’t you like about being a hospitalist?

The days can be long. The 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift is probably a longer day than for somebody who has their own outpatient practice. For a hospitalist, it’s a 12-hour day opposed to an 8-hour day. With this day-to-day kind of work, I probably see my children less than somebody who goes in a little later. They may have breakfast with their kids and maybe see them a few hours before they put them to bed. Some days, I don’t see my kids at all. I’m gone before they’re up and I’m home after they’ve gone to bed. We have to cover the nights, so that’s a little rough. You can find yourself at 35, 40, 45 years of age and still covering the night shift.

Of those 15 shifts I work a month, three have to be night shifts. Although, nights pay a little better. You’re seeing more patients, you’re probably billing more.

Why did you choose this job?

Originally, schedule. Getting out of residency, I liked the seven on, seven off schedule. I also liked inpatient versus outpatient. For me, it was less boring for lack of a better word.

Do you have any advice you’d give to other physicians who are considering becoming hospitalists?

For hospitalists, it’s a pretty wide-open field in the job market. There are opportunities almost everywhere. So you need to make sure you’re happy in the city or the part of the country you’re in. Hospital work is hospital work across the board. The last place I worked was in a part of the country we weren’t really happy with. I liked the job very much but didn’t like that part of the country. That’s why we moved to Denver, which is more suitable for our family lifestyle. So that would be my advice: Make sure you are happy and your family is happy in the place you’re living.

Was there anything that surprised you about being a hospitalist?

I don’t know if “surprised” is the right word. It can be frustrating to see a patient continuously come back to your emergency room due to bad lifestyle choices after you’ve counseled them extensively and helped them out with the hospital’s resources to get them on track to making the right choices. The taxpayer is responsible for every unfunded, uninsured patient regardless of their lifestyle choices.

The other thing physicians who are getting into this field should realize is that your workload gets harder as years go by. I think there’s a misconception that when you get out of residency, it’s going to be easier. It’s really the opposite. Life gets a little more intense when you’re out of training rather than when you’re in training. The buck stops with you ultimately as opposed to when you’re in training and there’s always somebody to co-sign your order.

How would a physician go about finding a job such as yours?

I’d start with the geographical area you’d be happy in then start the search there. Target where you think you’re going to be happy mentally and emotionally first, and then try to find the job based on that. Others may say to go for the most accredited or widely recognized hospital wherever it is. Maybe you want to work, for example, at Johns Hopkins. Just make sure you’re happy at home first.

Do you have any objective tips on how to land a hospitalist job?

I always use this adage: A good doctor is a good doctor. They’ll find work anywhere regardless of training, background, gender or ethnicity. A good doctor will be well received. Interviews for hospitalists don’t tend to be real intense. I think it’s a buyer’s market for the physician because of shortages. Be yourself, be honest, and if you’re ready to work, there’s a place for you. Stay in the game. Medicine is always changing.

Are you looking for hospitalist jobs? Check out what’s available on PracticeLink.com—it’s FREE to search! www.practicelink.com/jobs/Physician/Hospitalist/

 

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Rural Communities—The call of the small

Community health centers and rural locations can provide an enviable pace of life.

By Eileen Lockwood | Live & Practice | Summer 2011

 

Eric Sandefur, MD, Baker City, Ore.

"For a town of about 10,000, I stay busy all the time and have a full-time assistant as well."

A nightmare episode has forced Dr. Martin Ellingham to give up a successful vascular surgery practice in London. He has developed a pathological fear of blood. As the recently arrived PBS series begins, “Doc Martin” has relocated to a tiny coastal town in Cornwall. He’s obviously less than thrilled with his assignment. Yet no matter how hard he tries to keep patients and neighbors at arm’s length, the people of little Portwenn insist on being friendly. That’s the way it is in small towns.

Meanwhile, in an equally tiny, far-northern Maine community, real-life nephrologist Jenie Smith, M.D., can’t help making the comparison: “(Portwenn) is Eastport,” she says. “I feel like I know every one of those people.”

But there’s a big difference. Smith is delighted to be near the ocean and to associate with people in a tiny island community on Cobscook Bay. There, she spends two days a week with patients at a dialysis center in Eastport, Maine, where she’s the director. Her delight at being near the ocean more than makes up for the some 200 miles she drives from Auburn, where she lives, and Lewiston, where she’s in a group of five practitioners. Her husband, a choral and orchestral conductor, often rides with her to Eastport, and they spend relaxing time at a beachfront cottage. But, she adds, “Wherever you go in town, you can still see water.”

After only one visit to the coast while in medical school at the University of Minnesota, Smith says, “I knew I wanted to be in Maine.” Thirteen years later, “I convinced my now partners that they needed me more than they knew.” more »

 

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Ithaca, N.Y.: Mini-metropolis of the Finger Lakes

Ithaca, N.Y., features exquisite natural beauty, an off-the-beaten-track location, world-class universities and a growing populace attracted to “the simple life.”

By Eileen Lockwood | Live & Practice | Spring 2011

 

You could say that Ithaca is Exhibit A for the kind of society envisioned by America’s founding fathers. “People here are engaged,” reports Phyllisa DeSarno, the city’s deputy economic development director. “Everybody comes to city council meetings. There are all different kinds of opinions.”

Brian Bollo, M.D. and Family

The Bollo family moved to Ithaca from the New York City area—and gained hours back in family time each week that used to be spent commuting. I "wanted to be in a hospital and more involved in a place where I could serve people instead of scrambling for patients," says Brian Bollo, M.D.

At the Chamber of Commerce, membership services and public relations director Rob LaHood echoes the thought. “The thing that strikes me most is how everything is a big decision. Everyone chimes in on everything—and all these people have something to say.” In other words, it’s hard for a few politicians to foist unwanted laws on these engaged townspeople.
Sometimes, though rarely, a public meeting becomes the best show in town. DeSarno cites the legendary night when city officials were pondering an extensive upgrade to the road system between the main city and the hospital on the west side of the Cayuga Lake inlet. The proposed new road would have created faster access to the hospital and alleviated heavy traffic on another city street.

The project became “extremely controversial,” recalls Matthys Van Cort, then the city’s planning and development director. Environmentalists were especially concerned about damage to wooded land along the way. “Altogether,” Van Cort says,  “there were too many meetings to count, maybe more than a hundred. This thing got argued to death.”

The most dramatic moment, though, was the arrival of a woman costumed with perky ears and big bushy tail. Championing all furry forest denizens, she seized the microphone and barked, “Who will speak for the squirrels?”

(Bottom line: The squirrels’ land was mostly preserved.)

more »

 

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Cruise ship physician

A prime cabin, 24/7 food, diversity and the cruising life await

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Spring 2011

 

NAME: Adriana Yates, M.D.
TITLE: Senior physician
EMPLOYER: Carnival Cruise Lines

Adriana Yates, M.D.

Adriana Yates, M.D.

What do you like best about being a cruise ship physician?
A lot of things. The ship is amazing! As a doctor, you are a senior officer, so you have the best quality of life on board. You have one of the best cabins with a steward to clean your cabin and wash your clothes every day. You have food available 24 hours a day. You are provided with uniforms and have the opportunity to meet people from more than 60 different countries. You can go to different lunches and dinners that are available for guests and crew. You can go to the lounges, shows, work out at the gym or get off at the ports of call. You also have 24-hour Internet access.

What don’t you like about being a cruise ship physician?
The only thing I don’t like is being away from my husband, family and friends for a couple of months. The good thing is that my husband can come with me, but not for long periods of time. more »

 

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Tucson, Ariz.—America’s favorite sun

The great celestial body is a magnet for many a Tucson newcomer, but the city’s unique ambience, informality, outdoor activities and job opportunities are equally enticing.

By By Eileen Lockwood | Live & Practice | Winter 2011

 

Eric-Sipos-MD

Eric Sipos, MD and family in Tucson, Ariz.

The following account is essentially true, according to the Arizona History Museum in Tucson. In 1880, when the railroad finally reached the boom city of 7,007 inhabitants, Mayor Bob Leatherwood was so proud that he sent a telegram to the pope in Rome, rejoicing that Tucson was now connected with the Christian world. Who would think that His Holiness, thousands of miles away, would respond? Thanks to a few of the mayor’s wise-guy friends, he did—sort of.

The telegram the friends concocted read, in part: “Congratulations…but where the hell is Tucson?”

Not a question that ever occurred to internist and pulmonologist David Engelsberg, M.D., but southern Arizona’s biggest city did seem far, far away to a born-and-bred New Yorker. “When I was a kid,” he says, “I thought this was a place where they had cowboys.”

Then, with a degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, he signed on for training at the University of Arizona, arrived in town “and immediately hated the place.”

But things changed. “After I spent my first year in a pulmonary fellowship, I got to like the place, and after two years I didn’t want to leave. And I guess I still don’t want to leave.” In fact, “We don’t intend to move after I retire.”

He lists several reasons for staying. First, the obvious: The weather is “absolutely fantastic.” Because of the almost perpetual sun, Tucson is “a great place for doing outdoor sports. I hike, play tennis, fish and ski. We have all of that stuff in and immediately surrounding the city.”

Second: “Tucson is a real community and a unique community.”

Third: “I like the medical community. It’s collegial.”

Engelsberg currently cares for patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital, part of the Carondelet Health Network. more »

 

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Martinsburg—Where history meets vitality

Martinsburg, W.Va., is swimming in history. And a renaissance in the economy, its hometown atmosphere, and nearness to the Washington area is making it a more and more appealing place to live.

By By Eileen Lockwood | Fall 2010 | Live & Practice

 

Job selection seldom hinges on only one factor, but for Thomas Withuhn, M.D., drive time to work was a biggie—especially after several years of enduring

General Adam Stephen House

The General Adam Stephen House was built in 1774 and is open to the public.

heavy traffic in medical school, internship and residency in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

So he went in search of the ideal job combined with minimal strain on the gas tank.

“During my residency, I had an opportunity to work in a smaller community hospital in Pasadena, and I really liked how much neater it ran with 150 beds, so I started seeking out all the similar opportunities within three hours of D.C., and narrowed it down to my two favorites: Salisbury, Md., and Martinsburg,” he says. “They’re both beautiful little towns, but I didn’t want to negotiate the Chesapeake Bay Bridge” during frequent visits from Salisbury to friends and family in the D.C. area, he says.

Withuhn’s Valhalla turned out to be the historic municipality of Martinsburg, located in Berkeley County on the dangling Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, mostly bordered by the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.

“It met everything I was looking for,” he explains. A serendipity was the fact that his wife is an alumna of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, about 10 miles from their new home. City Hospital, where he works as a hospitalist, is licensed for 260 beds but currently staffs 140 to 160.

Among the most appealing aspects of this smaller hospital, Withuhn says, is that “you have a smaller group of people within which to work, and they know each other better. My (patients’) length of stay is much shorter because I can get things done faster. (For instance) it’s nice to get MRIs the same day or the next morning.”

These days, he describes his home-to-work drive as “very short.” In fact, he gloats that if it weren’t for recreational road trips, “I’d have to fill my gas tank only twice a year.” more »

 

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Upper Peninsula, Mich.—Call of the Wild

Never mind it's reputation for snow and cold. The Upper Peninsula is a Valhalla for outdoor aficionados and the independence-minded who revel in small town solidarity but embrace modern medical technology.

By Eileen Lockwood | Live & Practice | May/June 2008

 

Gateway to the UP, Mackinac City overlooks the harbor.

Gateway to the UP, Mackinac City overlooks the harbor.

Anyone with less than a B.A. in geography might think of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as a kind of Bali Ha’i, that mysterious “special island” hidden in the mist.

The more knowledgeable might recall this 16,452-square-mile piece of real estate as a territorial leftover the state got stuck with after losing the so-called Toledo War in 1836. Giving up a thin strip of northern Ohio was the price Michiganders paid for statehood. Most thought no good would come from owning this region cut off from “civilization” by cold Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and—more logically—part of Wisconsin. Some said its weather could be defined as “ten months of snow and two months’ poor sledding.”

Skeptics would soon discover the advantages, and, much more recently, so would some enthusiastic physicians from other parts of the U.S., some with nostalgic childhood memories. Richard Armstrong, MD, grew up, coincidentally, in Toledo. “My uncle,” he fondly recalls, “used to spend time at a cabin near Black Lake. I liked Northern Michigan probably better than anywhere I ever went as a kid. One morning, (a recruiter) called me. She kept going on and on about this great opportunity in the Midwest in a beautiful recreational area on the Great Lakes. I said, ‘Where is this?’ She said, ‘In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Now don’t hang up.'”

The opportunity was in Ironwood with another doctor practicing solo after his father’s retirement. “I flew up from Chicago. He took me out to a fish fry in a local bar.” The next morning, they talked business, inspected the hospital, and Armstrong agreed to make the move. But, the clincher, as he describes it, was “the solitude, pine trees, sand, smell of the trees, the lake like glass, the sun coming up in a mist. They reminded me of my feelings when I was a teenager, and I guess it was that, more than anything, that persuaded me to come. more »

 

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To Landlord or Not to Landlord?

Although it may not have the drama of Shakespeare, whether to rent or own your practice's facility depends - at least in part - on the philosophical question of how you see yourself.

By Mark Terry | Feature Articles

 

Tori Freeland, DDS, MS, an orthodontist in Lake Orion, Michigan, has a spacious lakefront office in a building designed to look like a lighthouse. Her own office and her patient chairs all face the lake, which is only a few yards from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Freeland, however, doesn’t own her office, but leases it from the owners of the building. “When I bought the practice,” she says, “they weren’t selling the building, which has four owners. I sort of inherited the lease space with the practice.”

Freeland notes that although she’s pleased with the office and the space, “in the long run, if you know the area you’re going to stay in, it’s much better to buy as an investment.”

LEASING: THE FEWEST HASSLES

The biggest problem with leasing for most physicians is the perception that they are throwing money away. Although you’re acquiring a needed service for the money, it’s not an investment. Freeland says, “Rent is not an investment. It is set, but it increases every year.”

Freeland also notes that CAM costs-Common Area Maintenance charges like snow removal, restroom maintenance, and upkeep—typically are lumped into the rent, which can change every six months to a year.

Mike Crosby, CPA, MBA, the president of Provider Resources, a physician practice management company in Nashville, says, “The cons to leasing are that you can end up in a space that requires constant maintenance on a triple net lease. Triple net means essentially that the taxes, insurance, and minor repairs are all passed through to you. You pay the utilities; the taxes are all passed on to you as well as the association fees or general building fees; any general assessments are passed through to you, and then minor repairs are your responsibility as well.”

There are advantages, though. “Leasing gives you a chance to get in and have some options, depending on the length of the lease. You may be entering an area where you’re not sure you’re committed to being in permanently,” Crosby says.

Some of the advantages, of course, depend on timing. John Guiliana, DPM, a podiatrist in Hackettstown, New Jersey and a partner in SOS Healthcare Management Solutions, a practice management group, says, “Most of the people I give advice to I recommend that they lease for at least a year to be sure that this is the right marketplace for them, the right location for them. Then they can certainly restructure their lease so it’s available for repurchase.”

Shelly Klein, MD, a pediatrician in Prescott, Arizona, says, “I don’t have a problem with leasing, but when I found out that the local leasing situation involved paying everything, I figured I might as well own the property and be my own landlord rather than pay all the expenses and have to follow somebody else’s rules and not get any benefit from it.”

Guiliana has owned his own practice facility for almost 20 years. “Unless you’re absolutely averse to having the necessity or responsibility of being a landlord, I would say there’s no real downside to owning. Certainly it’s a capital issue; you do need the capital available for down payment, and that capital that’s tied up in real estate could be used for something else. I can’t really see any other downsides,” Guiliana says.

OWNING: THE BIG COMMITMENT

Although the consensus seems to be that owning your facility is preferable to renting it, it’s not a particularly simple decision. Many physicians acquire or build a building—either to host their practice or for multiple practices or multi-use with the intention of it being a good investment. Paul Angotti, who runs a practice management firm called Management Design in Monument, Colorado, says, “Fundamentally, I would ask, ‘If it wasn’t the building the physicians occupy, would they want to invest in it as a building anyway?’ If it’s not a good deal, but they want to buy it just because they occupy it and want to be able to exhibit some power or want to exhibit some influence over the owners, then they probably shouldn’t do it. If it were a shopping plaza or an office building downtown, would they want to invest in it? If the answer is no, then they shouldn’t do it, because then it’s going to be a bad deal.”

 

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