With the changes in compensation that are constantly being thrown at physicians, it's easy to begin to believe that we as doctors are worth nothing more than the random RVU compensation we are offered. Women physicians, particularly suffer from the "take what you can get" syndrome when it comes to getting paid what you are worth both in job search and as physician entrepreneurs. However, "closed mouths don't get fed" (Shabazz Muhammad), and if you don't begin to practice asking for what you truly want, then you will surely never get it.
Yet, first, you must be willing to see your true value. Despite the fact that we have spent over a decade in training and hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain a very specific expertise in making and keeping people well, our training has done a great job of beating us down and making us think we are worth less than we are. We are a profession unlike any other. The knowledge we hold, the pressures and burdens we take on, and the skills and talents we learn along the way is just the tip of the iceberg to the impact that we actually have on our patients. Many times as physicians (especially as women), we not only are treating a patient's condition, we are healing the whole person. No matter the specialty, when a patient comes to us for whatever condition, there are multiple layers to their illness, and when we do things like compassionately listen and explain to our patients, things like their condition, our plans, and then address their concerns, we are healing on multiple levels. That is something that cannot be downplayed by a price tag.
Why does this matter?
It's important because the insurance companies, large health organizations, and medical systems don't see (and don't frankly care) about the part of being a doctor that makes you so valuable
Getting to know your "inner bad-ass"
If you want to get to really connect to your value, connect to your accomplishments. I'm not talking about "accolades and awards". I'm talking about everything in your life…
You made it out of high school (which may seem like nothing, but many kids still don't finish school so don't downplay this). You've finished college, got through medical school, made it through residency, and become a successful practicing physician. But wait, there's more…
You've likely gotten married, had children, raised (or are still raising) children which means you work a 40-60 hour week and somehow manage to come home cook (for some), clean up, get your children to bed, hopefully, get a little time in with the spouse (if there is one), and maybe get a little more work in before bed… Then you get up and do it again the next day. You can't tell me that's not badass!
Connect to your "inner goddess".
We as women have a quality that most men don't have which makes us better doctors (I'm pretty sure research has proven this). We have the "goddess quality"…. That is the maternal nurturing that patients need as part of their healing. We don't always embrace that as part of our value, but it most certainly is.
Look, I'm not suggesting that we suddenly become arrogant crazy people. I'm simply suggesting that we be as confident as the men we work with. Some of the same things we want and need are frequently and freely given to men. I am very aware there is a stigma around women asking for what they want, but you are in complete control of whether you will allow that to stifle your true desires or make you give up on your dreams…and yourself. Knowing your true value (in any situation) is a huge part of knowing yourself, getting what you want, and creating the ideal career. Get to know your "inner badass", honor your "inner goddess", and ask for what you deserve.
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