Physicians graduate medical school filled with idealistic aspirations before facing the reality of how hard it is to start a practice.
Most physicians graduate medical school, or later from our residencies, with our heads and hearts filled with idealistic aspirations. We carry internal visions of what we hope to do with this hard-earned degree: make a difference, do special work, earn the respect of our colleagues and love of our grateful patients, etc.
What we didn't expect was how hard it would be to face the realities of starting a practice, developing our own following of patients or physician referrals and making a living.
This shock was no different for Jeffrey Hartog, MD —
a South-African born plastic surgeon who started his career training as a dentist (we discovered we were classmates in South Africa for the one year that dentists and medical students trained together!) and went on to retrain several times as a maxillofacial and then plastic surgeon. His dream was to become a highly specialized pediatric cranio-facial expert.
Instead, he faced the reality of needing to support a growing family and setting his sights on new and different goals. To indulge his entrepreneurial spirit, he built his own surgical clinic.