Doctors and Money

Doctors and money; the two words have become almost synonymous. And that is sad.

Dr Potisk with a patient in Belize

Doctoring is not about money, never was, never will be, and never should be.

This doctor-money issue is a struggle for several reasons. Our society tends to judge success by the amount of money the success produces. And because it costs a lot of money to become a doctor and set up a practice, the assumption is that doctors deserve a lot of money. If a doctor fails to make a lot of money, he/she feels inadequate. If a doctor does make a lot of money, society notices and then the cost of becoming a doctor goes up. It’s a cycle doomed to failure. Some say that day of doom is here. Money has gotten control.

On more than one occasion when my staff and I began to get too focused on making money, my long time business consultant Dave Michel from PM&A Practice management would pipe up sarcastically “Why don’t you just sell illegal drugs? You can make a lot of money that way!” We’d then scratch our heads and kick the ground, quickly coming to our senses. Thanks Dave!

At my office desk, I have posted several of my favorite quotes. One of them reads “Count the opportunity to use your special talents and abilities as the largest part of your reward.” I need to be reminded of that. How about you?

A few days ago I noticed an article in my local paper, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that was titled Chicago Area Commuter Rail Boss Steps in Front of Train. The article told about a guy who was the executive director of the large Metra train system in Chicago for 20 years and committed suicide by stepping in front of one his own trains. A real tragedy. May God bless and comfort his family (he had a wife and a daughter). The additional stunning part of the article was that his salary was $269,000.00/year. All that money, success, prosperity, fame, and fortune, yet he took his own life.  No he was not a doctor, but there is a lesson here that every doctor can learn from: money does not buy happiness.

Having both had lots of money and no money, I can verify from personal experience that yes, money will not make you happy.

I’ve traveled the world visiting over 20 countries and the happiest people I saw were the ones with little or nothing. Those destitute people were generous too, offering me what they could when I was on voluntary medical mission trips with the Christian Chiropractors Association.

A typical house in Belize

Now I’m not recommending you give up all that you have, or that making money is bad, but I am demanding a perception change. Money itself  is not the problem. The Bible says “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” – 1st Timothy 6:10. It’s the love of money, that’s the problem.

So doc, where is your focus? What rewards are you expecting for the work you do?

I’ve heard several successful people say “The less I try to make money, the more money I make.” What they mean is that they focus on service. Zig Ziglar the great motivational speaker frequently says “You can get whatever you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Profound don’t you think? People want good service.

PM&A Practice Management has a wonderful workshop called 3 Goals. The 3rd goal involves focusing and spending more time on pursuit and fulfillment of one’s higher purpose. I teach my signature program called Reclaim the Joy of Practice, at those workshops. The next one is held in Milwaukee 0n June 20, 2010. Come on down! My book of the same title is available for purchase on this website if you care to take yourself further on the path to having a deeper satisfaction for doctoring.

Even Jesus, undoubtedly the world’s greatest healer ever known, said “You cannot serve both God and money.” – Luke 16:13.

Hey doc, who are you serving?

By the way, have you seen my other popular blog sites? and

Categories: doctor personal growth, money, Uncategorized


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