What Else Can I Do?


Somewhere down the road….
either quite early in the game or in the middle of it all or sometimes as a last hurrah, we want to do something else. Its a good thing our profession provides many other opportunities.

Here are a few related fields or work you can get into:

1. Medical transcriptionist
2. Health writer for magazines,newspaper or blogs
3. Expert speakers pool
4. Medical consultant or director for corporations including hotels, pharmaceutical or nutraceutical companies, airlines, health maintenance organizations, insurance firms, ambulatory clinics, international organizations like WHO etc.
5. Hospital administrators
6. Medical researcher
7. Quality or medical officer for industrial firms
8. School doctor
9. Preceptor or teacher in medical schools
10. Curriculum or module developer for schools

Whatever you choose to do as long as it makes your soul happy and puts the zest back to your day…why not!

What else do you do? Please share ☺

photo credit: graur razvan ionut/freedigitalphotos.net

Your Absence Means….

passive income wallet

In a reunion of high school classmates, doctors  would most often get comments like, “wow! big time”.  Its during  gatherings like this that I realize  the disparity of the corporate world with the work place environment of doctors. Classmates who are employed would envy my flexible schedule and would wish they could do the same.



There are perks to a doctor’s work life. But lots of trade off too.


While we have flexibility in our time, our work does not stop when a patient is gone or when we have made our rounds.  We can be called upon anytime a patient deteriorates or during emergencies. Our patients  remain in our minds until we are certain they are fully well.


We are considered self employed.


We have no benefits  that companies provide their employees. To enjoy  Philhealth or SSS benefits, we need to pay for them on our own.


As doctors, we are on a no work, no pay basis.


Absence in the clinic means no patients. Our absence does not always mean we are not doing anything. There are lectures to conduct. Young doctors to teach. Meetings to attend. Conventions to learn from. These are times that take us off from our patients.


Clinic time with patients  is  classified as active income.


This kind of income is generated when we are around doing what we are suppose to do. So no clinic means no active income.


The opposite is called passive income.


We do not have to be around for it  to  generate income for us.  Or it is   something that requires minimal effort from us. Joint venture in a business where you do not take an active role in its day to day run is an example of passive income. So with income from rental of properties or equipment.


What  other passive income streams can you think of ? Please write in the comments below.


Develop passive income streams side by side with your active income.


I Have Other Lives

other livesI have other lives! I often say this.  Sometimes as a statement (when toxicity gets the better of me). Sometimes as a joke. But most of the time I mean it.

Have other lives and get started with practice? Yup. You heard me right. Pursue other lives. Pursue your Passion. You can be an Entrepreneur. Artist.  Chef. Writer. You can be anyone you want to be! Some tell me, I don’t know anything about business, I am not artistic, I am not tech savvy… etc.  and I say, we studied medicine , what else can we not learn! Go and learn something new!

Why bother “having other lives”  as you start your practice?

 It widens our perspective.

I took a blogging course (Maven Secrets) under Our Awesome Planet  founder  Anton Diaz  and coach John Marvin Cruz. I was the only doctor in the class. Some classmates were from the corporate world. Entrepreneurs. Nail artist. Yoga practitioner. IT and marketing specialist.  Hearing what they have to say provided me with the oh so important other people’s view. Our patients come from all walks of life.  We need to understand where they are coming from. It helps to get to know their world. It helps us connect.  Patient care is about connection. Personal connection. Beyond the disease.

It keeps the fire  ablaze in our work .

I remember one principle  I learned as a teacher/trainer. To keep the focus, to allow a fresh view and simply to relieve boredom or tiredness, you’ve got to pause and do something else. I chunk an otherwise long talk into 15 min segments and ask the audience to do something else even for a fleeting minute.  So with our work. It can get a bit  (okay, not a bit…)  stressful to be seeing patients all day, all week. Not to mention hospital and patient calls in the wee hours.  I am a better doctor because I chose to have time to do other things and be somebody else.

If  done with the same passion as that of your practice, it can provide another income stream.

My dad has always told me not to worry about money.  He didn’t say that because  he will give me   he he he.  I tell you, he is generous. He  assured me with certainty that it will come as long as I  do things well and always give my best. I believed him. So write if you must. Bake with gusto. Paint with passion.

I know of a few who can inspire us.  They have kept the passion for being in this profession but have pursued other things along the way which made their lives fuller! A  radiologist turned photographer. An OB-gynecologist creating memorable experiences as events specialist. A young doctor who is a great performer  and choreographer. Hats off to you all!


So, how about you, what’s your “other life”?



photo credit: ambro/freedigitalphotos.net




Meatless 30

meatless 30This is not your usual Meatless Monday.

This is a 30 days  Meatless Challenge I am on together with my son.

We are on Day 12 (yipee!!!), almost halfway through!  We have been on a fish and vegetable staple for the last two weeks and counting…

Blame my rising cholesterol.  Blame Matt Cutts who talked about doing something for 30 days and see how the experience can transform you.


It definitely challenged my will and determination! I will let you know what happens when this is over. For now, I feel that it is doing me good!


How about you, what 30 day challenge can you do?


Why Doctors Should Know Finance-Expenses

Stories written in numbers….that’s what financial statements tell us.  Simply, it just tells us what happened , what was done and what probably we could have done. This is the second of my series on why doctors should know finance.We talked about income last time.

Today, I am writing on expenses.  Who among you keeps track of them?  I admit, even as I try to, sometimes its difficult for me.  I have tried a notebook, my cellphone, an excel file etc. For now, I am into using my credit card and check book.  The plus point is the written documentation of my spending.  A quick look tells me where the bulk of my spending lies.  Am I eating out most of the time? Has my cost of transportation increased? How about my electrical bill?  Your billing statement or checkbook reveals to you your spending pattern.  If it were a pie, look at how much portion goes to one category and so on. Decide what you can do about the portioning of your expenses if there is a need to.  Try to look at what it is telling you. You wont know unless you look.

Needs vs. Wants.   Just how these two are defined can be a whole lot of discussion.  For me, I just ask “how this spending is already hurting you, or potentially hurt you and the people you love in the future?”  An example would be if i spend a lot of money  on expensive clothes because without them I already feel I am incomplete  or that I have to touch  the money I am saving for my son  just to be able to buy one.  Another question I ask myself is “Can I do without it?”. Some years back, I decided to get rid of our television.  I thought it would be horrible. I have been without it for more than five years now.It gave me more personal  time with my family  and less late nights as well.

Living within one’s means.  If you were reading an income statement, it would be Income-Expenses. If you see numbers in red or enclosed in a parentheses say  (15,000), then it means you are living way beyond your means. What would you do?  You may want to go back to your list of income sources and try to increase it. Or you may want to look back into your spending and decrease it.

Let’s write your income statement now.  First, list down your income sources. Then write your Expenses.  Deduct your Expenses from your income.  It would be great to have a  positive number when you do the math.

What’s your income statement story?


Do you have other ways to track your expenses that you can share?


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photo by nuchylee/freedigitalphotos.net



Why Doctors Should Know Finance -Income Statement

If I ask you right now, do you know how much you are making from your practice?

If you are like me, sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t.  Until I made a conscious effort to  know all the time.

To quote my finance teacher in post graduate school, “numbers tell you the story.” We were studying Financial statements  (income statement, balance sheets, cash flow etc). Those stuff I would normally let my accountant take care of. Then I realized, “Hmmm, she’s right—these really tell the stories.”

Let’s talk about how these financial terms should make sense to us even if they seem like an entirely different world altogether.  Now  you know how others feel when we start talking about medicine, diseases  and all that jargon! For a while I thought my accountant was getting back at me when I asked him to explain those financial terms!Maybe its his way of telling how difficult medical terms are!

As doctors, our expertise and our time are two of our most valuable assets.  Knowing how much we make when we make use of these two  helps us make good decisions about how we use them.  I have to make a preliminary statement here.  We know many of the things we do , we do  for the love of it.  That’s considered a given in this discussion.

Lets go to Income statement.  Income statement is nothing but a story on what we engage in that yields an equivalent sum of money for us (income). It also tells us how much we spend to be able to do what we do and to live a life  comfortable enough for us (expenses). Lets say, I chose to do nothing else  but see patients  all day, 6 days a week in my own private clinic. I also admit patients in the hospital. Lets say, I do procedures and get paid for it.  If you want to be more detailed with your story, you can specify how much you earn from private patients, HMO patients etc. I do nothing else that yields some amount of money. Because  I am just starting, I have nothing else  in the form of investments or savings that is making money for me. Then the first part of my income statement would be:

Revenue from











***if by chance I accepted an administrative post in the hospital or is a  retainer in a company and receive something for it, then I can include it in the revenue

Salary/Stipend/Retainer fees


***if after sometime, I already have investments like an apartment I am renting out , then this becomes part of my income

Rental income


***other possible sources of income  may include interest income or dividend income from investments you make. If you are a resource speaker for conventions or seminars, it can be included in your revenue too. If you write for a medical journal or a health publication and you earn from it, then it forms part of your revenue.


If you add all these, then you know how much you are making on a monthly or annual basis.

What story does it tell you? It can tell you where the most of your income is coming from.  It tells you where you have the least effort but for which you receive comparatively better revenue.  It tells you where you are spending more time but is receiving very little.  It tells you how much you are receiving from something you need not spend much on  but is generating some amount of money for you (investments).

If you write well and you churn out good articles in half an hour and you get paid a handsome amount for it, does that tell you something?  Change of career? he he he… This only tells you that you may have other gifts or talents that can easily generate income for you. Its about time to tap it!

It tells you to find other ways you can generate revenue without you being actually present (its called passive income).


How about you write this part of your income statement now.  See what it tells you.


Any other story you discovered?


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photo by Matt Banks/freedigitalphotos.net






Why Doctors Should Know Finance

I am a financial literacy advocate.

I believe that whoever you are, its good to know about finance, money, investments etc.

But I believe that doctors  specially need to understand numbers.

Here’s why.

First, it takes us long before we start  earning  our keep.

Since on average we finish medicine at age 24, internship at 25, become board certified at 26,and finish residency at 29 (for  most of us taking a three year residency), specialty certified at 30.  To my colleagues who are in surgery and other surgical specialties, it may mean plus 1-2 years.  The same goes for those taking another 2 to 3 years of subspecialty.

If we know finance, maybe we will start saving as early as during residency. There is a time concept when it comes to money. It’s  tied to the concept  called compound interest. The earlier we save , the more it yields for us. If we keep and don’t touch this money including its earnings, the yield becomes bigger and bigger.  This means someone saving regularly  at age 20  until age 40 against someone who started at age 30 will end up having more! Here’s a scenario.  If at age 20, I start to save Php 1000 and do so every month until I am 40, my money when invested in a medium that earns 8% every year for 20 years will give me Php 597,736. If i start at age 30, same amount, same investment until I am 40, my savings will yield me Php 189,904. See the big difference! Try calculating using the compound interest calculator how much your yield will be depending on your own scenario.

Second, we are self-employed.

What makes us different from the employed? We have no vacation pay, sick leave, bonus,health benefits, loans , retirement benefits etc.

If we know finance, we can set our goals to  fund for those  otherwise enjoyed by employees.  This really depends on our priorities.  We can start by paying ourselves first. This is very much like being an employee getting paid for a day’s job. Whatever you earn for a day, you may want to automatically set aside 10% of that for savings.  You can put that in a bank for a while until you reach an amount where it can be placed in a savings that yields more than what a bank savings account can give. Continue to do this as you  set to meet your financial goals.  Here’s a list to start with (prioritize based on your needs):

1. fund for your health insurance

2. fund for your children’s education

3. emergency fund (equivalent to 3-6 months monthly expense)

4. retirement fund

5. vacation fund


Third, we are in a service profession.

Because we are doctors, we do not like to talk about money.  It seems taboo for service oriented professions.

If we know finance, we can be better doctors as we make money work for us rather than we work for money.  Don’t get me wrong here.  Its not bad to work for money.  Money is neutral. It is neither good or bad.  Its how it plays that gives it its flavor.

If we understand concepts on investments,   interests rates, yields etc. then we will know where to place our hard earned money and let it do its work for us.  If we learn to assess financial risks, understand our tolerance to risks and know different investment instruments, we will be able to put our money to work  (multiple income streams) while we are doing the “doctoring”.

Here’s an example.  Our cooperative of doctors was set up so that doctors earn from their own purchases of vaccines.  Because the doctors are owners of the cooperative, the doctors’ investment grows as they purchase their vaccines from the cooperative.  Buying their vaccines from other subdistributors means the subdistributors are earning from the doctor’s purchases. Sometimes doctors miss the point. They buy from the subdistributors  because of a peso or two price difference. Their investment are earning them 12% per year. They earn nothing from the subdistributors.

Here are some links that can help you learn more on personal finance:

Ready to be Rich

Life and Personal Finance

Registered Financial Planners Phils


What financial goals are you working on now?


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photo by   worradmu/freedigitalphotos.net

Change the Equation

savingspiggybankDid you have a piggy bank as a child? I think most of us had one. If many of us did, how come many find it difficult to save as adults?

There are studies showing that  only 1 out of 10 Filipinos are consciously saving.

And that Filipinos have low financial IQ. As a result, many  think bleak about retirement.

Doctors do not really have a set retirement age. We are different  because we do not enjoy  retirement benefits  like our friends in the corporate world.  When we stop seeing patients, so with our income.  We when are sick or on vacation, we don’t get paid a single centavo.  These should convince us to save for the rainy days.

Everybody knows that saving for the future is important. But actually doing it is another story all together. As a start up doctor, I thought I never could.

An investment and financial planner friend told me that 80% of his job is changing that mindset.

When the client adopts a  new way of looking at saving, everything else comes easy. The difficulty is in thinking it is impossible with little that we have at the start.

Savings = Income-Expenses.  This equation almost always yielded zero . I was discussing this equation with some residents.  I was relating how often this equation yielded zero when I was starting until I changed the equation.


This changed everything. Suddenly, there was something. Little by little it grew. Small steps that eventually yielded much.

One parent gave me a tip on how she taught her children to save.  She bought them a transparent  piggy bank. In that way, they see how Mr. Piggy gets filled up as they put more and more coins. Maybe we need to do that.

Got other tips to save? Please write them on the comments below.

Change your mindset. Change your equation.






Image: Ambro/ Freedigitalphotos.net

Five Great Ways to Happiness at Work

Hi ho hi ho its off to work we go!

This was the opening song  of the summit on Happiness in the work place I attended this week. Snow White’s seven dwarfs  happily singing their way to the forest to work!

Okay , okay… only in cartoons or in the movies! Not everyone sings their way to work! Lets admit it that getting up in the morning for work can be one of the hardest thing on earth.

I’d say that those happy with work are the luckiest people on earth.  Work ceases to be work when you are happily engaged.


How about for us doctors who are committed to this work 24/7?  We say our work does not stop after we have visited our patients. Nor after the clinic hours. We get called in the wee hours of the night.  A toxic patient can totally disrupt our sleep.


So just how does each work day becomes a fabulous time every time? Here are a few of my insights:

Get a straight  and clear cut answer to the WHY part of our work.


The happiest people at work are the people who knows the answer to this.  People who sees the big picture out of the tasks they do.  It’s the janitor who scrubs  the floor well because his  job is not cleaning but keeping people safe.  Its the waitress serving food  because she is delivering happiness.  My delivery girls  in our cooperative who  maintains  proper handling  of vaccines because they are ensuring the health of the future.


For doctors, why do we answer late night calls from patients? Why do we see them in the wee hours of the night in the hospital? Why do we have to take time answering their questions?  Is this profession  just about healing? How about hope… partnership…?


Better yet, what is your life about and how does work provide the opportunities for you to live your life and not just make a living?


Paint a clear BIG PICTURE of why you do what  you do.


Determine FIT between your why and where you spend your energy.


With clarity  comes the courage to make choices. Are you spending your time and energy on things that do not contribute to your WHY?  We have such a busy  world. So many distractions. Which do you say yes to? Which do you say no to?


Where doctors work, we get pulled all over to be part of this group, this committee, this team etc.  It’s a necessary part of our work. But need you be all over the place?  Where will your energy be most useful…most meaningful…most fulfilling?


Courageously  make clear choices then commit.


Find Your Kindred Spirits.


Kindred spirits make anything bearable, effortless and fun! Kindred spirits do not think alike but have shared values. Find them in your workplace and your work will be opportunities to  grow and go where you thought you can never be.


Mylah.Joy.Myrene.Bles. Robert. Tina. They are  my Kindred Spirits. They can be anyone in your workplace.    Discover them and you will find a gem !


Honor your body.


Ako si Superman!  Anong super powers mo?


Sometimes we think like we actually have super powers  when it comes to our body.  Maybe our knowledge of diseases gives us that mindset of pushing ourselves to the very edge.  One doctor friend reminds me to always honor my body. To listen to what it is telling me. Time to rest. Take a break. Stop for now. Slow down.


My dad, when I was younger would always look through the door of my room late at night  and see me working on something.  He would gently remind me that whatever I was working on will still be there tomorrow.  So I must rest.  I see the wisdom in  that now.


 Learn to identify  what  you can control from those you cannot.


When it comes to people, I would say that the only person you can have full control on is YOU. You can influence others but you cannot control them. Realizing this has added  to my happiness meter in the workplace tremendously!


Money or finances makes a lot of people unhappy.  Good news! Finances fall in the CAN CONTROL column.  Sabi nga, puedeng mamaluktot habang maikli ang kumot! When resources are scarce, we can make do with what we have.


Time causes a lot of stress to everyone including doctors. Yey! This one is in the CAN CONTROL COLUMN too! We can make choices when it comes to our time. We can choose to see patients by appointment. We can choose to shape our practice the way we want it.


Embrace what you cannot control and work on what you can.


Any other recipe for happiness in the workplace?  Please share.


Photo is TMC Pediatrics’ beautiful Snow White and Hardworking 7 Dwarfs. TMC Pediatrics is one of the happiest place in the hospital!





Got Time?


We all have 24 hours in a day.


Our profession does not affect it. Our location  does not have an effect either. But why is it that we hear people say, I have no time? Others say ‘I’ve got lots of it.”


Minutes and hours can be at its longest  when  we are on a 24 hour duty or when presenting in a grandrounds.  The longest minute in my life was when my son broke loose from my hold while standing in line.  Too short when we are having a great time!

Doctors  have  24 hours too.

Depending on our specialty, our day becomes night and night becomes day. But still 24 hours is all we’ve got.


My concept of time has changed over the years.

It has  affected the way I chose to work or do things. Will I see patients all day? Will I do something else other than “doctoring?” What kind of patients do I want to see? What events, activities will I say yes to? Who will be in my circle of relationships?


Just like money, time is a form of currency for me. How much of it is spent and how much it yields is very important .  Every minute counts. The value we put to our time helps us prioritize what we commit to. It can be for monetary reasons. It can be for investment and growth.  It can be for relationships. Or life’s passion.


Monetary value.  If I see 30 patients a day and you see 15, does it mean I make more than you do? Not necessarily. Between a surgeon who spends thirty minutes with a patient for a procedure  and an internist who spends the same time with a patient with a chronic illness, the monetary value of the time spent may differ. If I choose a private practice against a retainer practice for a fixed rate, which would yield more value for time? If I spend sometime doing something else (business or use  my other talents…hmm..sing for a fee perhaps? )  and practice  to a certain extent, would it yield more value?


Investment and growth.  Money isn’t the only way we gauge  time’s worth. Time used as an investment may yield more than we can imagine. If you are a pediatrician, would you give up Saturdays of your  practice for  2 ½ years of studying?  Income lost on  Saturdays for a pediatrician can be quite something.  But time  spent for that  can open doors to many opportunities. Attending continuing medical education like post grad courses is time spent for investment and growth. Every minute spent to learn is an investment on good patient care.  Good patient care leads to  happy patients. Happy patients refer other patients.  You do the math. Next time you are tempted to leave the post grad you are in because you have to go back to the clinic, think investment  for your patients.


Relationships. When my son was young, Friday  is  by choice  time with him. Time is needed to build and grow relationships, be it personal or professional. Time with people who truly matters is always time well spent. Our patients  want time with us.  Patients express their sentiments  with comments like ”Si doctor parang palaging nagmamadali.” On one end, it can be “ Doc always takes the time.”


Life’s passion.  Did you ever had a moment when you felt like you should have, but you didn’t? Real life is not like the movie “Click” where you can  rewind the remote  to do things the way you should have. Hey, that’s only in the movies! Pursue your passion like there is no tomorrow.


Here are great tips to making the most of your time:

  1. Define what is important to you. Give it your time. Learn to say no to others.
  2. Use time as a form of investment. Think big picture. Time spent now can yield  much in the future.
  3. Invest time on relationships. Such time never go to waste.
  4. Spend time to pursue you passion and wake up each morning with a smile on your face.


So how do you make the  most of your time? Can you write them in the comments below.


Every second in our life  should be time well spent.