When I graduated from college years ago, I had no idea what I was going to be when I grew up. I obtained a bachelor of science degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in justice studies. My original goal was to go to law school to become a lawyer and make lots of money. However, after 15 weeks of working as an intern investigator at the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. during my final semester, I learned that in order to be a good lawyer you needed to be a good liar. After witnessing several felons set free from incarceration due to having a good lawyer with outstanding courtroom theatrics and the beyond a reasonable doubt law clause, I knew for sure that becoming a lawyer was not something that I would have been good at. It would have made more sense for me to start my college career with the internship so I could have shifted gears sooner and changed my major.
Having no idea what I was going to do for a “real” career after college, I found a job through a temporary agency at Blue Cross Blue Shield of CNY. At first, I thought that this job was only temporary and a means for me to buy my first car and to have some pocket change for all the fun I wanted to have while I explored my “real” career. Eight years and several promotions later I found myself on the management team at this same company working in this so-called volatile industry we call healthcare.
Fast forward as I shifted gears and switched to the other side of the healthcare equation. The doctor side. You know the ones who want the payment for their services from the insurance companies. These two sides just don’t play nicey nice together. It’s like mixing oil with water and I was now in the middle.
As a practice management consultant or full-time employee for a practice, I managed medical practices in all shapes and sizes representing specialties from internal medicine to pediatrics, otolaryngology, gastroenteroly, ophthalmology, endocrinology and many more ologies of various specialties. Insurance companies are considered taboo to many physician practices due to their top-secret methodologies for medical necessity and claim payments, so my inside knowledge of how insurance companies work was an attractive credential on my resume for hiring medical practices. I also managed to obtain a MBA part-time while working full-time to have as a security blanket and to keep my skills current and competitive.
Careers in practice management can be quite risky because you can often find yourself on the chopping blocking if the sh*t hits the fan. All it takes is an employee mutiny or one coveted employee that doesn’t like you or your ideas to convince the managing doctor to blast you off into outer space no matter what kind of credentials you hold. Trust me, I have been burned by individuals who I thought were friends, and turned out to be foes.
There are many aspects of managing a medical practice that I enjoyed. But for as many things that I enjoyed about the operational and business aspect of my responsibilities, the human resource function canceled out what I liked to do with an added remainder of high school drama and unnecessary stress. My husband tells me all of the time now that he is thrilled to have finally got his happy wife back. I guess I did not realize how miserable I had become over the past few years due to all the dysfunctional dynamics going on in the last office I worked at.
I am fortunate in many ways that I have been given this opportunity to reflect as I reinvent my skills for my action plan.
If all goes as plans, I will continue to work in health care but in another part of the equation. It is an area that I have passion for and really love… but this career does not come without a plan, price or commitment.
Any wild guesses on what my plans will be? Only readers who don’t know me are allowed to play this game. Have fun with it…