Doctors spend several years studying, but they don’t always learn some of the most important skills needed to succeed in their professional lives. While medical courses are intensive and thorough, there are some key lessons that aren’t taught in college.
Here are 3 things doctors don’t learn in school that are insanely important to new doctors trying to start their career.
1. Marketing a Medical Practice
The old guys think marketing is necessary. They’re like Jeff Bridges in Arachnophobia when he shows up to a new town and hopes the town doctor is going to retire. It just doesn’t work that way anymore. Doctors are now up against stuff competition and marketing has become an integral part of the speed in which their practice will grow and prosper.
When you’re studying to be a doctor, your time is largely devoted to learning about the mechanisms of the body and honing your practical skills. Unfortunately, while doctors leave college knowing almost everything there is to know about anatomy and physiology, many lack marketing skills and expertise.
If you run a practice, you need to be able to use effective, innovative marketing strategies to attract clients and patients, to build a positive brand reputation, and ultimately, to generate profits. In this day and age, medical marketing plays an integral role in drawing clients to medical practices.
More and more people use search engines and reviews to locate medical services in their local area, so it’s crucial to be able to capitalize on this trend. As a doctor hoping to expand, using techniques like SEO (search engine optimization) can help to drive traffic to your website and increase your conversion rate. It’s also vital to have a seamless, attractive website, which provides detailed information about the services you provide.
Your website should be accessible, visible, and easy to use. Make sure potential clients are able to contact you, provide an FAQ section, and feature patient reviews and testimonials. Introduce your practice team, include information about qualifications and experience, and make sure the tone is professional but approachable. If you don’t have expertise in modern marketing methods, it’s wise to work with an agency that specializes in healthcare marketing and branding.
2. Emotional intelligence
Being a doctor doesn’t just involve analyzing test results and matching symptoms to a diagnosis. Interaction with patients is key, and this is where emotional intelligence comes into play. Sadly, emotional intelligence is not something you can really learn in school, but it’s vital for life in the world of work.
Doctors are faced with difficult situations on a daily basis, and having emotional intelligence can help to improve the client or patient experience at the same time as protecting against stress and burnout. Doctors work long hours, they often have to deliver bad news to patients or their families, and they have to deal with stressful situations, often with very little notice. Being able to exercise emotional intelligence builds trust between patients and medical professionals and helps to reduce the risk of mental exhaustion.
Having emotional intelligence also enables you to recognize and process your own emotions, as well as those of others in different scenarios. In the medical profession, it can help you improve your bedside or chair-side manner and ensure you establish positive relationships with the people you treat.
3. Managing finances
Doctors are notorious for turning their finances over to a “person that they trust” which is often the front desk person whom they just hired. Unfortunately, it’s doctors and dentists who end up getting ripped off the most. Prevent embezzlement first so that you don’t end up with no money in the bank! Most doctors spend their college and working years concentrating on learning, providing treatments, and working with patients to achieve positive outcomes. It’s uncommon for financial management to crop up in the syllabus, and some doctors have very little knowledge or experience of balancing the books and accounting when they start their professional careers.
Managing your money is advantageous for a number of reasons, regardless of whether you own your own practice, or you’re an employee. There are ways of making your money work harder and stretch further, and it’s worth looking into investment opportunities, as well as keeping an eye on your balances and trying to save.
In this day and age, there are all kinds of tools you can utilize to make budgeting easy and keep track of personal spending, and it’s increasingly common for doctors to work with accountants and business managers to run a business efficiently and cost-effectively. If you own a practice, and you don’t prioritize your finances, you run the risk of encountering cash flow problems, and you may be missing out on tools and techniques that could save you money.
Hiring an accountant can also help to remove a task that eats into other people’s time, and it will eliminate stress and hassle when the time to file and submit tax returns comes around.
Training to become a doctor is rigorous, but you don’t learn everything you need to succeed in school or college. Doctors graduate with expertise and knowledge related to the human body and how it works, but they don’t tend to have skills in marketing or money management, and there are no classes in emotional intelligence on the syllabus. Being aware of the importance of these skills can help to push your practice forward and ensure you get the most out of your career.