Private Practice vs. Working in a Clinic

Decide What Is Most Important to You
Written by Jenee Kautzer, ND

Throughout school I wanted to practice independently after graduation. My goal was to find an established clinic that I could join as an independent contractor. I thought I would be renting office space, access to electronic medical record keeping, and office staff.

After all my options fell through, I was contemplating whether I should start my own practice or find a job somewhere. I soon realized that I had no desire to spend most of my time and energy for months on business related work rather than patient care. I realized it was more important to me to gain experience in patient care, continue learning about medicine and to become a good primary care doctor. Not long after focusing on my intention I found a great job.
I am now working for an Indian Clinic in an integrative setting. I see five to nine patients per day and manage an in-office dispensary. Owning my own business would definitely have benefits but there are also some nice perks when working for a clinic. I get paid hourly so if a patient cancels or doesn't show it gives me time to inventory supplements, read research, and update patient handouts. There is always a NP, MD or PA around if I have questions, the patient needs urgent care, or if I want to adjust a patient's medication.

The best part of working in a clinicI don't have to spend anytime marketing. Most the patients I see are referrals from other practitioner's in the office. Many of the patients I work with could not afford to see me in private practice, even with a sliding scale. So I get to work with populations that would be difficult to serve in private practice. I get to do a lot of diabetes care, cardiovascular care, weight loss management and primary care. Other perks include retirement benefits, health insurance, free CE courses, paid vacation and holidays, malpractice coverage through the clinic, and qualification for IHS loan repayment. While I still want to start my own practice, my current job is allowing me to work on the goals that are most important at this point in time.