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    Starting a practice

    "Why drives "how"

    Starting or building a practice requires that physicians let practical concerns flow from more philosophical decisions, such as why one entered dermatology in the first place, said experts at the Cosmetic Surgery Forum (Las Vegas, 2014).

    Sabrina Guillen Fabi, M.D.Getting started

    Sabrina Guillen Fabi, M.D., said that the key in starting her practice was knowing "why" she was doing so. In this regard, she emphasized, making money should never be the end goal, as it is not typically sustainable for lasting joy and professional fulfillment. Rather, "money will always be the result if things are done for the right reason." She is a double board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic cosmetic surgeon based in San Diego, Calif.

    In any business, said Dr. Fabi, people don't buy what you do – they buy why you do it. For her, "Having a clear why has allowed me to make better decisions along my path. I believe in helping patients look and feel their best at any age. When you start your practice, I encourage you to have a very clear mission statement, because it will guide you in making decisions such as whether you want to teach, do research, work part-time, enter private practice," or combine various possibilities.

    READ: Looking at your practice through the eyes of patients

    Michael Greenberg, M.D., said that one of his best decisions was refusing to close his practice and assume the busier practice of a retiring colleague, although doing so looked like a no-brainer. Asked why, he said, "Because after 35 years, I'm in love with my patients, and they're in love with me. That's what it's about. It sounds corny, but it's my job as a doctor to make my patients part of my life and family. And all the other stuff will follow." Dr. Greenberg is an Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based dermatologist in private practice.

    NEXT: Designing and customizing a larger space

    John Jesitus
    John Jesitus is a medical writer based in Westminster, CO.


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