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Caring for employees is the right thing to do

I am not an employee. Maybe I should have said this four years ago when I was an employee. When I opened my private practice in 2014, I was running away from something as much as I was running to something new. I’ve been out of training for over a decade. Early in my career, I envisioned myself as an employee of either a non-profit organization working with underserved communities or with an academic institution serving a similar population. I appreciated the consistency of an employed position at an established organization and valued the collaboration and support of my colleagues and other staff.

Six or seven years out of training, the term “employee” took on a negative and punitive tone in my workplace. While employees are an integral part of any organization, our health system made us feel undervalued and dispensable. I know this is the case in many industries. However, I think that this is uniquely dangerous for physicians.

Physicians should feel empowered to work autonomously and to make clinical decisions that are evidence based. We are trained to be team leaders who add valuable insight and perspective to medical institutions. However, my friends and colleagues continue to echo the same complaints that I once had, “I feel like a cog in the wheel.”

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