Is it Better to Open a Private Practice or Work for a Hospital?

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Most medical students gravitate toward seeking full-time employment in hospitals after they finish their residencies because that’s considered the traditional career move. It’s more practical to find a hospital position that will provide them with stable income than to risk unstable employment elsewhere, especially if they are dealing with student debt.

Private Practice

However, that will still depend on their financial status and family background because if they can afford to take risks, they might be more likely to start a private practice. Figuring out the next career step is always a big decision, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly or done without careful consideration.

If you’re undecided about what path you’re going to take after your residency, then you’ve come to the right place. Weighing the pros and cons of your options is important so that you won’t come to regret the decision you make later on. So, here are some advantages and disadvantages of starting your own practice or finding employment in a hospital:

Start a Private Practice

Starting your own practice can be more frightening than just accepting a job at a hospital because you will have to manage both sides — the business side and the physician side. This means that you’ll be in charge of attending to your future patients and making sure that the practice is generating a profit.

This path will be perfect for you if you enjoy taking care of the administrative work because there will be a lot. You’ll learn how to handle your finances, dabble in bookkeeping, and make sure that you’re not losing money. But you’ll still be able to help the people in need whenever they come to your clinic.

Not everyone likes tackling the business side of healthcare. However, it’s a win-win situation for doctors who want to retain their autonomy by being their own boss. For instance, if you specialize in podiatry, it might be better for you to start your own practice to cater to a niche market.

If you were to open a practice, you’d have more control over your working hours and the patients you receive. You’ll be able to decide what kind of podiatry practice management solution you’ll use to solve your front office problems without having to succumb to stringent hospital policies.

And the best part is that you can create your own workplace culture. You won’t have to deal with the politics usually found in renowned hospitals or compete with your colleagues for growth opportunities. With your own practice, you’ll be able to decide the trajectory of your career and still have enough time to do what you love most — help other people.

Work in a Hospital

Getting a full-time position in a hospital can be more your style if you prefer to stay out of the business side of things. If you get a job as a physician, your sole responsibility will be to your patients and their needs. You won’t have to worry yourself about admin work, hiring employees, or patient billing because entire departments in the hospital take care of those.

You’ll likely have more opportunities for career growth because you won’t be starting at the top; rather, you’ll work your way to the higher positions over time. This also means that you can get better and higher pay as your career progresses because a large hospital receives more patients than a private practice.

However, one of the biggest disadvantages of working in a hospital is that you’ll lose your autonomy as a physician. You’ll have to work on a fixed schedule, sometimes be on-call, and abide by stringent hospital policies. Not only that, but you’ll also have minimal to no say when it comes to the treatment you give to your patients.

But aside from those, working in a hospital can also be a dream. Instead of dealing with the hospital’s cash flow or how you can cut costs from the budget, your sole responsibility will be to cater to your patients and help them get better. You can focus on building your medical career and make waves in the community.

Both options have advantages and disadvantages, that’s why you can’t base your decision on other people’s reasons. At the end of the day, it’s going to be you who will live with your decision, so you have to choose what’s right for you. Where do you think you’ll thrive and achieve your goals faster?

The existence of private practices and hospitals shows that everyone has options. Like medical practitioners and healthcare professionals, the patients can also choose where they prefer to receive their treatments. If money, working hours, and autonomy won’t help you decide, then consider who you’re doing this for or how you can help them better.