The Doctor’s Guide to Starting Your Practice Right

Starting Your Practice Right

Starting Your Practice Right: synopsis

In The Doctor’s Guide to Starting Your Practice Right, Dr. Cory Fawcett outlines the practical and philosophical steps that all newly minted physicians should take in order to ensure that they are starting clinical practice on the right foot.

Dr. Fawcett is a surgeon who has written a series of books called “The Doctor’s Guide” series. Like the mission of The Scope of Practice, he’s dedicated to helping physicians find ways to master their personal finances.

In this book, he walks readers through the most common mistakes that new physicians tend to make that hamper their progress and reduce their ability to gain financial independence.

Starting Your Practice Right Chapter 1: The Right Start Makes All the Difference

Right from the outset, Dr. Fawcett helps us define what it looks like to start off on the right foot. Many doctors don’t consider factors like proximity to family, ability to travel, and climate when choosing where to set up their practice.  He insists that we must consider these factors when deciding where to live and start a business.

He also observes, rightly, that many physicians expand their lifestyle immediately after finishing their training years. That one mistake is the biggest predictor in keeping physicians from gaining financial independence.

When you graduate from residency, he argues you should avoid the temptation to buy a big house and new cars. He advocates for selecting a practice location that you would love to live for the rest of your life, living like a student, paying off debt, and only then starting to increase your lifestyle.

Starting Your Practice Right Chapters 2-5

In the next 4 chapters, Dr. Fawcett goes on to discuss 4 very important topics:

In these chapters, he provides both the philosophy and practical action steps that new physicians should take to get the best job for them and get it on their best terms.

Among the topics he covers are:

  • Being an employee vs owing your own practice
  • Academic setting vs private practice
  • How to find the job that best fits you
  • What factors to consider when considering who your ideal partner is
  • Ensuring that your contract secures the most reasonable and favorable terms possible
  • Credentialing and privileging
  • Insurance

It’s a crash course on how to look for and secure the best job for you. The book is worth the read for these chapters alone!

Starting Your Practice Right Chapter 6: Building Your Life as a Doctor

In this chapter, Dr. Fawcett addresses a tough subject with clarity and focus. Many physicians opt early in practice to live a lifestyle they can’t afford.

He breaks down the true cost of lifestyle expansion and discusses the limitations that are placed on physicians once they lock themselves into that kind of lifestyle.

New physicians would do well to heed the warnings about living beyond your means.

Starting Your Practice Right Chapter 7: Setting Personal Lifestyle Goals

In this chapter, we see Dr. Fawcett turn us to some serious self-reflection. He exhorts readers to set priorities around which to schedule their time and set appropriate boundaries.

Some of the priorities he reminds us to set include:

  • Schedule family time from the beginning
  • Put limits on your daily schedule
  • Take adequate time off
  • Clearly define call boundaries
  • Plan vacations in budget and schedule
  • Get exercise and sleep
  • Budget your time and money

I think as physicians we’re tempted, even encouraged, to take on more and more responsibilities and then accept whatever personal time is leftover.

As Dr. Fawcett prefers us to approach it: “Plan your life and fit work into it, instead of focusing on your work and fitting your life around it.”

I agree with him, and I think we’d all be a lot happier if this was our guiding philosophy.

Starting Your Practice Right Chapter 8: Managing Your Debt

No book about starting your practice right would be complete without a chapter on the scourge of personal debt.

He goes through a thought exercise on ways to tackle student loans, including loan forgiveness programs. It’s a balanced view, discussing a variety of options that may be available for each person to choose for themselves.

After addressing “debt from the past,” he talks about considerations for taking on new debt such as with buying into a practice or buying a new house.

It’s a great discussion, full of practical steps and wisdom that comes from seeing many physicians make a lot of mistakes.

Starting Your Practice Right Chapter 9: Planning for the Future and Retirement

It’s a good thing that there are more blogs and websites popping up all the time to discuss this topic. But, it’s true that still too many physicians don’t heed these warnings.

He starts the chapter by discussing what advisors a new physician needs, such as an attorney and a financial planner.

By the end of this chapter, a savvy reader has a full understanding of the basics of long-term investing. He has great information on setting up your IRA, 401(k), and long-term education savings for kids.

Recommendation/endorsement

Dr. Fawcett has managed in just 200 pages to distill the biggest problems that new physicians face and offer solutions for preventing or combating them.

If you’re just starting out in practice or still in residency/fellowship, go buy this book immediately!

It’s full of great information and will really help you start your practice right.

Two thumbs up for this excellent book. I highly recommend it!

Buy the book on Amazon by clicking here.

The Doctor's Guide to Starting Your Practice Right
The Doctor’s Guide to Starting Your Practice Right

If you like that book, you’ll love these books as well:

Full disclosure: if you buy the book using any of the links on this page, I’ll earn a small commission from Amazon Associates. Your support helps defray the cost of maintaining the site, and I really appreciate it!

Comments (2)

  • Brent, thanks for your kind words about my book. I believe your comments will help residents pick up and read the book which means they will experience a better life ahead.

    Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
    Prescription for Financial Success

    • My pleasure! I certainly hope so! The book is full of critically important information. If residents read it and heed the lessons proposed, they’ll gain financial freedom much more quickly.

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