Running a thriving surgical and cosmetic procedure practice is a balancing act between being an excellent physician and a strategic businesswoman. Dr. Julene Samuels shares honest insights on how she successfully juggles the demands of doing it all.
As a female plastic surgeon, I certainly run a business, but when your business is patient care, the lines between physician and entrepreneur can be complicated.
I think my patients understand that in order to be able to offer the very best care and services available, I am required to split my time between being a caring physician and a strategic business owner. After all, I can only continue to provide my menu of services if I manage to remain in business by running my practice successfully.
It seems an easy concept, but it isn’t always. Here’s what I’ve learned both as a woman in business and also as a female physician/surgeon in a solo practice. Hopefully, the knowledge I’ve gleaned will give patients a better understanding of the other side of the doctor-patient relationship and give other physicians and business owners insights into how to juggle their own professional demands.
1. I can delegate many things, but they have to remain intimately “me” or my “brand” of plastic surgical care, or they won’t be authentic. Where I cannot successfully delegate, I must agree to do it myself. To achieve the best patient experience, I sometimes need to be willing to do the things I could delegate to others.
2. A real dichotomy for physicians is learning that sometimes the best business decisions can actually fly in the face of five-star patient care. Sometimes it is necessary for me to remain that extra aunpaid hour in the operating room- or to do that thing myself that I should be able to delegate when that is the right thing for me to do to secure a happier patient or a better outcome.
3. Women possess many traits that make us successful at home and in business. We are great listeners, caregivers, and problem-solvers. It is easy for us to empathize with the thoughts and desires of others. We make things happen for our kids, spouses, co-workers, extended families, and our clients. If necessary, we often do these things at our own personal expense. While these traits can enrich the lives of others and make for a successful business career, we constantly must ensure that we aren’t nurturing others to the point where we become depleted ourselves.
4. Once achieving a modicum of success, one can’t sit back and rest on those laurels. I constantly look for new ways to improve my “brand” of care, and this allows me to keep it unique and on point so that I can provide timely answers for my patients’ needs. In order to live up to my motto of “Always exceed the patient’s expectations,” I have to be willing to devote countless personal hours to the research and development of new technologies in order to provide the very best care.
5. I strive daily to be approachable and genuine, and it is utterly necessary to remain humble, realizing there is always a way to improve quality and compassion in our life’s work. It’s easy to remain humble when I witness daily the trust and faith placed in me by my staff and the patients who choose me as their surgeon. At the end of the day, I always ask myself, “Would I choose myself as an employer or plastic surgeon if it were my choice to make?” If I can honestly answer “yes”, then that’s what embodies true success.