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Finding joy in practice


The goal is to not only find joy in your daily practice, but also outside of it. Learn from the stories of various medical professionals as to how they've captured joy in practice and beyond.

Key Points

After practicing medicine for seven years, Beth Hodges, MD, a family physician in Asheboro, North Carolina, was looking to recapture the passions that attracted her to the profession. She succeeded-by becoming a medical director for hospice five years ago.

She explains: "This has made the work I do in my practice seem more important and rewarding, and it helps me appreciate every day I have with my husband and children."

"True satisfaction," he says, "comes from the work itself, not the money you earn or the things you get. You need to figure out what is satisfying and dissatisfying to you, then act accordingly."

See related sidebar article, "How to bring up the 'happiness quotient' by investing in your practice" for suggestions from Sodikoff and others.


Jack Valancy, of Jack Valancy Consulting in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, cites four broad areas of physician satisfaction:

Practice culture also encompasses relations with colleagues. According to Valancy, this can range from "I love working with these doctors; we're a great team; I could be here for the rest of my career" to "We don't have much to do with each other" to "The politics of this place is terrible; I don't like being around these people."

Next, think about what you can do to increase the positive elements and reduce-or eliminate-the negative elements. "If you're unhappy with your patient panel, what can you do to cultivate the types of cases you enjoy?" Valancy says. "You might trade assignments with another physician, or reach out to community groups in an effort to attract more interesting clinical cases."

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health