MBA = My Bad Assumption

In my experience there has been one consistent truth in anesthesia services; business or practice management education can be a waste of time, or worse, for anesthesia professionals.

Why?  You can undertake business or practice management training, but unless allowed the time and opportunity to use these new skills, you might have as well taken a lovely cruise.  

How do I know this?  Been there, done that.   My journey began with Master’s Degree in Business Administration (“MBA”) in the 1980s.  Since that time I have participated in the management of anesthesia services and anesthesia management companies (“AMCs”).  I have learned this painful lesson: context means everything.

Buyer beware

If an individual anesthesia professional seeks additional business education, buyer beware.   Your bright shiny new ideas may not only be unacceptable, they may be alienating or even threatening to your associates.  And nothing discounts your credibility with facility management and corporate leadership more than failing to implement anything of value.  Perhaps the only thing you will prove is that you and your associates are not a useful partner with the facility.  Intellectual curiosity is not a business plan.

Groupthink, maybe

Is the answer group sponsorship of additional practice management education?  Maybe, but there are caveats.

If your group invests in your expanded business education, it must be willing to be led and be committed to change.  Can they accept uncomfortable ideas and will they buy into and implement these new ideas?   What happens if your practice management training is not the expected reward, but a wild rollercoaster ride of misunderstandings,  missed opportunities, and mistrust? 

More important, the group needs to realize that when sending a group member for business or practice management education, they need the time and resources to succeed.  The real investment comes after meeting attendance.  Being back in the call rotation is not where your new leaders need to be.  They need to networking, advancing pilot projects, and participating as well as leading facility and corporate initiatives.   These efforts, not clinical anesthesia, are the heavy lifting of leadership and can’t be done sitting “on the stool” providing anesthesia.  Success is the implementation of new ideas, not keeping the status quo or longing for the good old days.  A better anesthesia service, not the preservation of the call schedule,  is the primary goal.

Classes are just the start of the needed investment in anesthesia professional’s business or practice management education.  The real investment is the time and opportunity to succeed.  Good or bad, it can be a wild rollercoaster ride.

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