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In this episode, we invite Dr. Brent Lacey to share effective strategies and actionable tips on how physicians can: achieve financial literacy, seek out mentorship, effectively negotiate their contracts and mitigate burnout.
Dr. Lacey is a full-time practicing
gastroenterologist and physician blogger. As Founder and CEO of TheScopeofPractice.com, he
specializes in personal finance, practice management, and early career
strategies. Highlights and insights from
our discussion below.
Reversing the trend: The importance of personal finance savviness to mitigate debt.
Consider this: Eight out of 10 medical school graduates borrow to earn their degree. Most take on six-figure debt with 18% borrowing $300K or more. The average time taken to repay medical school debt? Thirteen years.1
Despite these astounding figures, nowhere along the pathway to earning a medical degree do educators teach medical students how to manage their personal finances, let alone their private practices or business. Dr. Lacey shares tried and true tips on how to:
- Seek out a mentor, sponsor or advisor outside of medicine.
- Understand simple business efficiencies (e.g. how to run a meeting effectively, negotiate diplomatically and more.)
- Establish your own personal board of directors to provide you with sound guidance when it comes to taxes or accounting, legal matters or estate planning.
The art and science of contract negotiation
With new graduates coming into the scene and more physicians moving away from independent practice, it’s critical to understand rights and responsibilities before signing a contract with a hospital or large organization. Among many tips offered in this episode, here are a few that standout:
- Be prepared and do your research ahead of time. Talk to other people in your specialty to get a good comparison point.
- Don’t just focus on salary. Think holistically about lifestyle, colleague skill sets, peer experience, work-life balance and workplace satisfaction.
- Don’t just take what’s offered at face value. Most contract items are negotiable so go in with the facts – not emotion.
Think ‘mind over matter’ when it comes to physician burnout
The U.S. physician shortage is expected to reach between 34,600 and 88,000 in 2025. With high demand for care and short supply of physicians, burnout is a real epidemic. In fact, an online survey of doctors found an overall physician burnout rate of 44%, with 15% saying they experienced colloquial or clinical forms of depression.2
While this is a very real issue and should not be diminished, Dr. Lacey emphasizes the power of a positive mindset and creating boundaries. Some tips include:
- Don’t take on too many extracurriculars and volunteering activities. Learn to say, “no” or “not now.”
- Find your outlet to release stress. How can you create balance and seek out what makes you happy [e.g. cooking, fitness, travel, etc.]?
- Identify your support system. Whether it’s family, friends or coworkers, surround yourself with people who create a positive energy and can give you constructive advice.