Physician Reinvention

“You gave us hope,” seven different doctors told me when I co-taught How to Start, Build and Run a Successful Consulting Practice with SEAK President Steve Babitsky.

Similarities between business consulting and clinical consultations include:

  • The importance of taking a good history, especially giving a client/ patient the sense that one is listening actively to what s/he is saying and probing for what is causing pain
  • The reason for the initial consultation (i.e. the symptoms) may not be the diagnosis, as with referred pain
  • Relationships matter
  • The client/ patient defines the value of the outcome and the experience, not the consultant or the number of hours spent on the activity

To watch a video presentation on the topic, please click here.

Achieving Physician Reinvention

I think that the reason physicians expressed hope is that Steve and I pointed them on the path toward reinvention. As New England poet May Sarton wrote:

There is only one real deprivation,

And that is not to be able to give one’s gifts…

The gift turned inward becomes a heavy burden,

Even a kind of poison

It is as though the flow of life were backed up.

What makes reinvention easier to pronounce than to achieve is that the road is so much clearer in training. As an attending physician:

  •  The path is unclear because, unlike training, no one is telling you what to do
  • Because there are many ways to expend scarce resources without any guarantee of success, the outcome is in doubt, which triggers expense concerns
  •  Failure is not an option

The first three steps on the path toward physician reinvention are to:

  • Ask yourself, “What do I do really well,” “For which of my skills do I get paid,” and “What activities do I find stimulating?”
  • Write down every answer without judgment
  • Discuss your answers with significant others

To obtain the 10-Step Guide to Physician Reinvention, please click here.

To paraphrase Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, change is disturbing when it is done to us, but exciting when done by us.

I wish all of you continued success as you navigate the waters of change. Learning is never failure. Please share with me your progress and learning and contact me anytime that I can be of service to you.

Kenneth H. Cohn, MD, MBA, FACS

© 2014, all rights reserved


I have not received any compensation for writing this content. I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.



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