Session 33 – Start the Process – Where to Put a Practice Series
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Podcast 33. Start the Process – Where to Put a Practice
Hello. This is Scott McDonald and welcome to the Perfect Place to Put a Practice Podcast. As you know, our purpose is to help provide information on evaluating locations to put a practice in the United States that will give you the greatest advantage based upon the area’s demographics.
We have heard back from several of our listeners and we thought it might be wise to provide several podcast sessions that are dedicated to the process of starting your search. Keep in mind that these are sequential so you will be wise to consider them one at a time starting with this session (Podcast Session 33).
Almost every week I am approached by a young doctor who asks, “Where is the best place to practice? I can go ANYWHERE! Just tell me a great place to go and I will go.”
I will then mention locations I know have need and he will invariably respond, “Well, I don’t want to go THERE!”
How can this young doctor know so certainly that those locations are not right?
It is because those sites don’t fit his or her preconceived notions of the place they want to practice. Almost everyone already has an idea of what the right office will look like and even the kind of community they want to focus upon. It already exists in your mind’s eye. You might say, it is all in your head already.
So, let’s do a little self-examination. What appeals to you in terms of the size of the population?
It might be a small town with the intimacy of a local community.
Or it might be in a cosmopolitan Big City with all the stimulation of a large and varied population.
Population Size matters in where you will be happiest in practicing. So, let’s cut to the chase on this issue. Yeah, you will want to settle in a community, city, or neighborhood that “fits.” But, have you ever considered what factors there are about YOU that make it matter? Many doctors jump to the idea that there is a place that has no competition, patients who will always make it to their appointments on time, will follow-through on treatment, and have loads of money. Naturally, no other practice is also targeting them. Ah, if it were only true that such a place exists!
On the other hand, there are going to be places that are better than others based upon the criteria that you will find most important. But you have to understand that the best practice site for YOU may not be the best practice site for someone else. There are also aspects of certain locations that will make your success in practice far greater because the practice model you want to enter will fit the population and the market circumstances better than other sites. We have spoken about this before in this podcast: practices are a reflection of the doctor and the doctor’s vision of practice. The biggest location disasters we have witnessed involve a doctor who either doesn’t know what he or she wants or misunderstands the population they want to serve.
Here are the reasons why this knowledge matters. These are important things to keep in mind because they are more about YOU than about a Patient Base.
- Marital Status/Parenthood
- Hobbies and Interests
- Social Structure and Experience
- Housing Preference
- Demographic Character of the Population.
In each of our subsequent sessions, we will discuss these.
Let’s start with our first one:
- Marital Status and Parenthood
Regardless of what is politically correct, most men and women want to marry at some time in their lives. Dating and other social opportunities are far greater in larger communities. While a community of 5,000 residents will support a general dentist or physician, it can seem awfully small when there are no good restaurants, lounges, sports clubs, social clubs, or other gathering places for singles.
Doctors who are married tend to have an easier time in smaller or even suburban settings.
We bring this us because it is the number one reason our younger clients want to find another place to practice: they don’t like the social atmosphere for themselves or, when parents, for their children. Oh, sure, there are many doctors who complain about increasing competition and declining production. Issues of crime, political opposition, and boredom are certainly common. But when it comes down to contacting us to find a different place to practice, this is what makes the biggest motivator.
Let’s extend this a little further. When the professional is female, and most especially when the Client considering a community is also a mother, having a long commute to the office can be a challenge to her lifestyle. Sure, fathers are doing more and more with their kids but, as politically incorrect as this sounds, they are not the mother. So, not only is the size of the population important, so is the time-distance needed to travel between home and the office.
It does not take many 45 minute commute sessions to make you hate your life. This is especially true if you have many emergencies or demanding patients. That is why we want you to take into account the other people you have in your life and the people you WANT in your life. Your social needs and their social needs are important.
Now, you have to keep in mind that there are usually places that are going to be favorable in many locations in the U.S. It is not a matter of rejecting one state over another. Nevertheless, there are going to be more of the types of sites that you want in some locations than in others.
Next session we will go into Hobbies and Interests and how they will influence your practice location decision.
Thanks for listening to the Perfect Place to Put a Practice Podcast. This is Scott McDonald and thanks for listening.