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Nuggets of Practice Gems, Beginner's Tips, and Success Secrets to Jumpstart Your Medical Practice

Career Lessons from Freddy Mercury (Bohemian Rhapsody)

Have you watched Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie?  The story of Queen’s lead singer Freddy Mercury  is a powerful illustration of how a career can be shaped to achieve success. One thing  was clear: Freddy took charge of shaping his career.

Here are 3 career lessons  I learned from Freddy Mercury

Pursue your Passion. Freddy was relentless. He loved music and expressed the artist in him with his songs, costumes he wore and their album designs.

What are you passionate about? What do you want to keep doing that makes your heart sing and your eyes “twinkle” as one of my friends would say? Many say your passion is one that you want to do even if you do not get paid for it. Its not for the money. Its one that makes  good use of your gifts, your strengths and your talents. Think about it.

Do not be afraid to do things differently.  Freddy was different  and was not afraid to be so. He took a different path in his approach to his music. He redefined what  the audience would like. He refused to copy what is out there. He set the tone. He created his own.  Bohemian Rhapsody  was 6 minutes long with segments from different genre. It was way longer than the usual songs listened too. His producer told him people would not listen to a 6 minute long song. He persisted.

What is it about things that you would want done differently? What is stopping you? What is it that you want to challenge?

It takes a village to raise a child so with building your career. Freddy made the Queen what it is , but the Queen made Freddy who he is.  Building a career entails working with people. As shown in Freddy’s life, it is not always as rosy when it comes to relationships. But growth is only possible when you work well with others. Who are your enablers in the career you have chosen? How well are you working with them?

Movies mirror life to us.  It entertains us. It teaches us. It  reveal to us what we sometimes fail to see.

If you have seen the movie, what other lessons  did you learn from it?

Please share in the comments so we can learn from it too.


photo credits: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57419421

How to Orient your Medical Secretary






My secretary of ten years recently left for abroad.  If you read my previous blog entry (http://getstartedmd.com/2013/01/make-or-break/) on who can make or break your practice, your secretary sure is one who can!  Ms. A  has been an efficient partner  in my practice.  She knows how I want things to be so I  can work at my best. She genuinely cares for my patients too. She is like my administrative boss who is able to handle all non medical aspects of the job.

So what do you do when your trusted help suddenly tells you she or he is leaving? I appreciate that Ms. A told me way ahead. She knew I had to find a suitable  replacement.  She knew also that whoever replaces her had to be trained.  Here are three things you can do to prepare for a similar situation:

  1. Identify the work your secretary does for you (its like a job description). I asked Ms. A  to write down everything she does for me  then I grouped them into general categories. These may include: documents to keep and maintain, payments to make on a regular basis, clinic operations procedures (for me, this includes how to take patient weight, height and vital signs, vaccine ordering and safekeeping, collecting from HMO etc), location  and contact persons of vital offices  etc.
  2. Write up in detail how each of the tasks are done. Make it like how any company would write its manual of operations. If you are just starting a clinic, you may need to write this yourself. But if you have been practicing and your current secretary are doing these things, just have her write it and revise as you see fit.
  3. If you have the opportunity, have your old secretary train the new one weeks before formally taking over. Run through the tasks with the new one yourself  to check if she got things right.

Avoid getting caught off guard! If you haven’t done this, now is the time.  If you are just starting, do it to be prepared.

Have you got other ways to prepare? Share  and write in the comments.


Step Back, Look Forward


3 days, 1 place and 1 friend. And all the time in the world to slow down and step back. I call it my annual retreat. Not your typical reclusive , no talk type though. The most difficult part of doing this is commiting to the days that it should happen. Somehow it keeps on getting pushed back. There is always something that seems to be more important . I even needed someone to pin me down to do it.

Why do it in the first place?
If there are times you feel that you have too much on your plate and need to sort things out…
If you feel there is more that you can do, but can’t seem to find the starting point….
If you want to look into your varied roles and figure out how they align….
When you are about to take a big leap and you need to see the big picture …
When life gives you a second chance and you need to set things right….
When you are about to start a new phase and you want to set your sight on where the next chapter can take you…

Stepping back gives you that chance to look forward.

Here’s how to ” step back,look forward” my style:
1. Get a real big push to commit your days to do this (this seem to be the hardest step for me!).
2. Call a friend to be with you. Choosing the right friend is crucial. Someone who can listen when you think out loud. You don’t need answers when you do this. You just need someone to hear you out ( so you don’t look crazy talking all by yourself! Lol!) Talking out loud what’s going on in your mind may trigger further insights. My friend J is perfect !
3. Find a place that offers less distractions. Food should be readily available when you get hungry. Television or internet preferably not available.
4. Set your goal. Mine was to set my direction for the next 3 to 5 years. For some, it can be a long pressing question that needs a careful thought.
5. Write an exhaustive list of questions you want answered in relation to your set goal. Examples from my list includes:
At what age do I want to retire? What else do I like to do other than what I am doing now? What do others say I am good at? Who do I want to be with more often? How much do I need to keep the life I have now? What else do I need to provide for my family? Your list can be different but consider all aspects of your goal.
6. Ask what’s in it for you if your set goal is met. A stress free lifestyle perhaps. Happiness in pursuing a passion. More time with family. Financial rewards. List it down too! Doing this will excite you to pursue it relentlessly.
7. On the other hand, what can go wrong if you pursue your set goal? List it all down too. Don’t mince on this one. The more you think about this, the more you will be able to prepare for hurdles and challenges.
8. Identify things you can do now to set the ball rolling. How about those that you can do in a month? Within the next 3 to 6 months? Set the timeline based on the goal you have set.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, stepping back to do this is a good thing.

Residents or fellows who are about to end their training. Doctors on top of their career. Those experiencing a slump.

Here’s to making a life not just a living! Cheers!