Seasons come and go. Life is a journey with many detours. The big story of my life has many chapters in it yet to be written. Just when I thought I had climbed one summit and sat down to rest, a voice inside tells me, “Stand up, pick up your mat and go. I have something else for you.”
With great excitement and trepidation, I am making a big jump to be a business owner by setting up my own private practice. This is an easy move for many, but a massive move for me. You see, I am a clinician at heart. I am not a business person. I don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in me. I’d rather be caring for patients, than dealing with ABN, ACN, TFN, accounting, legals, etc. This move is the scariest move ever (besides moving my whole family 3 times in 3 years to 3 different countries!)
So why am I leaving the comfort and safety of a group surgical practice? Why take such a massive risk to go solo? I spend so much of my time in academic, elective and emergency public work at RCH & St.Vincent’s. I have very little time in the private. I only consult 1-2 days a week in private. The majority of my mind and time is spent in teaching, training and public service. It makes no financial sense to go alone.
Ever since I came back from my subspecialty fellowship training I have been an associate in a group practice. The surgeons at ENTV have been the best mentors and colleagues I could ever have. Dr Bernie Lyons, Dr Ben Cook, Dr Patrick Guiney, Dr Sor Way Chan, & Dr Lisa Wun have been my role models and my sponsors. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t because of them. They have been the most gracious of colleagues and supporters. They have given me the best start as a surgeon. They taught me during training. They nurtured me during early years of surgical career, and they are still teaching me to be a better surgeon. I continue to work with them at St.Vincent’s. They have my deepest respect and gratitude. I would trust them to care for any of my family members.
So it is after months of decision agony that I have decided to leave the comfort and safety of this group practice that has been a circle of protection and safety. I needed to jump out of the boat to learn to walk on water.
Instead of going big, I am going small and personal. My mantra that most people seems to know by now is “Go low and go slow”. That’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m “shrinking” my practice and I’m taking a slower pace. My new practice is 8 minutes from home. It’s hidden in a little inner north-east suburb of Bulleen. It’s not in a flashy medical tower. It’s hidden in a residential area behind a lush garden. When I walk into my office now, I get to look outside at a green garden. I feel I’m home. And that’s the feeling I hope many of my patients will experience too. I sincerely hope they will experience a sense of healing and hope as guests. Because this clinic was built for them.
And for the many others who will come with me on the journey. If council approves, I am building a glass box just outside of the clinic. This future glass room set under the trees may well be a place of conversations. That’s still a dream waiting to be realised.
I hope it will truly be a place of Welcome.