One Plus One Equals Six

One Plus One Equals Six

Dr Belinda Welsh founded the Sunbury Dermatology and Skin Cancer Clinic in 2002. Dr Cara McDonald was an Associate and Belinda invited her to become her business partner in Complete Skin Specialists. 3 years later this has proved to be a wise decision, as the practice is flourishing with 5 dermatologists, cosmetic services and the imminent opening of a satellite clinic with another dermatologist.

Belinda invited me to work with her practice in strategic business development in September 2016. At this time Belinda was the sole owner of her practice. Since then, I have been invited back to work with Belinda and Cara in strategic business planning and implementation for their growing private practice which now has 5 Dermatologists on board, a separate cosmetic clinic and now a satellite site. As women in business, it has been very exciting to work with these specialists – highly qualified and driven professionals, whose goal is to achieve the very best in the clinical outcomes for their patients and also in their business achievements.

As business women in the medical specialist field, I’m sure that this has come with its’ own unique challenges. Belinda, can you tell me about your journey from the decision to study medicine to starting and growing your private practice, Sunbury Dermatology and Skin Cancer Clinic and then Complete Skin Specialists?

BW: I grew up on a property riding horses so I spent most of my teenage years dreaming of being a vet. I just missed out on a spot but got into medicine instead. After a year I decided not to swap over to vet science and stay in medicine. I don’t regret this. I decided to do dermatology while I was in final year. I moved to Sydney after my intern year and spent several years as a junior doctor at the Royal North Shore Hospital while trying to study for my first part Dermatology exams. I then did a Master of Medicine at Sydney University and got offered a job on the training program in Melbourne which I started in 1996. I spent the first two years as a specialist working as a locum and started out on my own one day a week in Sunbury in a rented suite in late 2002. I had one receptionist, one consulting room a procedure room and a very small waiting room. That had the rather lofty title of Sunbury Dermatology and Skin Cancer Clinic. After a couple of years, I moved to a bigger suite but essentially rented rooms for 11 years. It was during this time that I rebranded as Complete Skin Specialists. Cara arrived in 2010. I bought a block with an old house on it in the centre of Sunbury in 2012 and spent the next two years designing and building our current practice. Cara and I became business partners in 2016 and she bought the building next door for our Cosmetic and Laser clinic. Last year we were joined by 4 other dermatologists so that has really represented a big expansion phase for us which has been very exciting.

Cara, can you tell me about your journey from the decision to study medicine to joining Complete Skin Specialists and becoming a Director?

CM: At school my passion was in fine art, especially painting and for a while I considered this as a career. I was concerned, though, about it becoming a “chore” if my livelihood depended on it. As I also loved problem-solving, people and science, I felt like medicine might be a better career choice. I really had no idea where it could lead but the problem-solving and visual aspect of skin diseases always appealed to me. I also found that dermatology allowed me to be practical and hands-on, creative and people-oriented, using all my strengths and keeping me interested.

Luckily during my junior doctor-years I met my now business partner, Belinda Welsh. She was a fantastic role model and mentor and inspired me not only to pursue dermatology, but to prioritise being a kind and empathetic doctor. After completing my specialist training, I was fortunate to have her welcome me into her already-established practice and together we grew the business.

Initially where did you seek knowledge on the business of running a medical practice?

BW: I found the AMA a good source. They have an annual “Setting up in Private Practice” information day which exposed me to a number of companies and services which were useful. I also went to several Private Practice courses which were extremely useful. This is where I first heard Hanya speak.

My loyal and supportive but exasperated husband insisted at one stage I read a book called “The E Myth: Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it.” by Michael E Gerber.

It took me a few reads to understand what he was trying to say especially with regards to running a medical practice (in fact he has a book specifically for doctors – The E Myth Physician) but ultimately it was this book which really changed my thinking. His premise is that we all fall into the trap of working in the business as the technician (doing the business of being the Doctor) but fail to understand the necessary roles of manager and entrepreneur. I stopped just working “in” the business but started to work “on” the business. That’s when things changed.

It was a real thrill to hear to him speak in person when he was bought to Australia by the Private Practice as a guest speaker a few years ago.

CM: Very little in the way of business advice or education is offered in medical school, nor during specialist training. Unfortunately, we need to “learn on the job” whilst also working as busy specialists. Most doctors are not necessarily good business people for this reason.

I feel lucky to have joined an established practice and been able to benefit from the work and experience that Belinda had developed over the years. Also, I do have a “numbers brain”, which has helped me get my head around the financial side of business.

I have tried to educate myself as well, using books and podcasts and have learnt a lot from my husband and mother who have business and consulting experience. Despite all this, I still have many weak areas and realise that it is almost impossible to dedicate enough time and energy to optimise the business side of the practice whilst also focusing on providing the best medical care to patients.

Belinda, how did you come to the decision to invite Cara to become a partner in your business?

BW: Actually, I found that an easy decision. She joined me in 2010 when I was working out of a small consulting suite attached to the local private hospital in Sunbury. Despite this being a rather humble little practice to my great fortune Cara stayed. Basically, we just got along really well and enjoyed working together and supporting one another.

I think we have very similar values, beliefs and ambitions which is critical to the success of our partnership. Not to mention a shared sense of humour on the tougher days. We are both working mothers and understand the challenges this presents and the need to balance all our responsibilities.

Confident she was staying for the longer term, I purchased a property in the more central part of the town and designed and built our current practice. By the time we moved into this building we had been together for 6 years with an excellent working relationship based on mutual trust and respect. Cara, understandably, was keen to transition to have a more secure position as a business owner and I was happy to share this with her. I strongly felt we could achieve more as an equal team – which has certainly proved to be right.

What have been some of the key advantages that came from working with the business consultant?

BW: Hanya has bought improved structure, organization and oversight which has been very welcome.

She has improved our lines of communication which has been welcomed by all staff.

She has bought us new ideas and introduced us to technology to streamline our business processes.

We also engaged her to find us a new practice coordinator which has proved very successful.

Overall, we feel with Hanya’s guidance, knowledge and expertise we can grow the business more effectively with more confidence in our decision making. Ultimately, we hope this translates to a better experience for our patients.

CM: Working with a business consultant has given us some clarity around the needs of our business and enabled us to develop the business in a more professional and strategic fashion. Hanya has provided mentoring for the management team and created more harmony and alignment within the practice. Ultimately, I hope it will relieve Belinda and me of some of the management duties, allowing us to focus on what we love and do best.

Belinda, through the experiences of starting a new private practice, what were the keys challenges that you faced from a business and personal perspective and what strategies helped you through this?

BW: Many of the challenges have come from trying to teach myself about managing a business whilst at the same time trying to do the work of being the doctor as well as fulfilling the myriad other expectations of being a professional (writing papers, giving talks, being on College committees etc etc). Time always feels in short supply – not to mention having 3 children along the way. Unfortunately work can become all consuming. A very supportive spouse is critical.

In my early years I was rather rigid in my thinking believing people outside of the medical world couldn’t possibly understand how a medical practice needs to be run. I was wrong. The challenge here was to broaden my thinking, be more open minded and listen to the wisdom of other business people. I now enjoy reading books on business and listening to podcasts like Harvard Business review for ideas.

Undoubtedly my biggest challenge was designing and building our current practice from a pile of dirt. I did this mostly on my own and that pretty much consumed two years of my life. Having a vision coupled with quiet determination and persistence was how I got through. I’m very proud of it now.

Cara, what were the keys challenges that you faced from a business and personal perspective and what strategies helped you through these, in joining a private practice?

CW: There have been many challenges in becoming a director of a private practice. We have grown organically so it has been difficult to put in place formal strategic planning or review systems for personal and business performance. Learning to delegate and mentoring from our business consultant, Hanya, has helped us develop frameworks for decision making and working collaboratively.

Which leads well into the question of leadership… As a business owner, you would have noticed that there was a need to take on a leadership role. What was this journey like?

BW: Having a vision and being able to communicate this to your team is very important. Leadership is not always easy. I’ve never had any formal training in this area. I’ve really just grown into it over the years and no doubt made plenty of mistakes.

I think being fair, consistent and understanding are essential but at the same time having a strong set of values and demanding accountability of those around you is key. I would like to improve my skills in this area especially as our team and business grows.

CM: Although I was not so aware of it at the time, my experience working in large hospitals and well-run private practices provided me with a very good foundation, so the transition was not too difficult. The intense schedule required to complete specialist training and exams gave me a good understanding of many issues including goal setting, the importance of good communication, clear definition of responsibilities and risk management.

Having to employ and manage a growing team for Complete Skin Specialists can be daunting for a business owner. What do feel have been the triumphs and challenges in this process?

BW: Triumphs

Seeing wonderful professional motivated passionate people grow and develop their skills and expertise with me over the years.

Challenges

Having the time to devote to all the areas of management and generally managing people!

CM: I was fortunate that Belinda had set up a very professional business, which gave us an excellent base. The main challenge has been the expansion. This has required careful planning for the key pillars of the business, so that we provide exceptional patient care and maintain the highest professional standards in training, administration and communication.

What is your vision moving forward as a practice? How does the satellite clinic work into your business plan?

BW: At the moment we have grown quickly with more doctors so I’m keen to improve our internal systems and processes to run as efficiently and effectively as possible. The satellite clinic came about more to support a young dermatologist who is on a rural bonded scholarship scheme. He needs to spend 3 years in a rural area after he has graduated. As we are located right at the edge of the metropolitan zoning he will be able to work under our umbrella at two large GP practices to the north of us. We will be able to provide him administrative support and he will work a day a week with us so we can help with more complex medical and surgical cases and provide mentoring in general. We are hopeful that if it all works out, he may choose to stay with us in the longer term.

CM: Our vision is to exceed expectations in providing an exceptional service to our customers. We strive to put our patients first and treat everyone with respect. We are committed to excellence and we are keen to support and mentor dermatologists to help meet the needs of our community. We look forward to supporting a new dermatologist in our practice who consults from satellite locations (within GP clinics) to make our services more accessible.

As a woman in business, what do you find you stand for and how is this reflected in your brand? Can you tell me about more about this?

BW: I’m not sure being a woman particularly makes a difference to the values we hold dear for our practice.

We are all dedicated professionals who are deeply committed to providing the very best service and care we can to our patients. We hope our brand reflects this integrity, commitment and passion.

CM: My personal values in business are excellence, service and integrity. I believe that communication and trust are the foundation of all good relationships and this includes those between business partners, doctor and patient and also between staff members.

I want to provide value to our customers and be an excellent employer for our staff. In order to do this, I try to be open to ideas and suggestions from all areas and always operate on the assumption that I could be wrong, or there might be a different or better way at any time.

Aside from owning and running a successful dermatology and cosmetic practice, you are involved in a number of industry bodies and have a family life to manage. How do you balance all of these important parts of your life?

BW: Well if I’m honest I don’t always – it’s very hard. I spend a lot of time working. I have a very supportive and understanding husband and three wonderful kids. I think they all think mum works too hard though. Dermatology is probably one of the more “lifestyle friendly” specialties so I have been able to modify my work over the years depending on family demands which has been extremely helpful.

CM: I think the reality is that it’s hard to do it all well. I’ve got an amazing husband and lots of support on the home front which allows me to spend the time and energy I do on work. I have learnt to let go of the small things – if nobody is going to get hurt or suffer in the long run, then I don’t worry about it.

Having said that, I frequently have #fail moments like missing appointments and birthdays and feel guilty about missing out on more time with my three small children.

I try to maintain some balance by taking frequent short breaks from work to spend time with the children and by prioritising some me-time for yoga or catching up with friends.

What is the best thing about being the Director and owner of Complete Skin Specialists?

BW: Going to work every day to a place I created and have been able to grow with Cara and our team. The sense of purpose and the care we have been able to provide to thousands of patients has been a great privilege and pleasure.

CM: The sense of achievement in providing great service to our patients and a sense of belonging for our staff. I am proud of our happy and productive team and the way they deliver excellence and expertise to our customers.

Most of all I love my work and the opportunities that come from it such as teaching and providing education about the skin to both colleagues and the community.

If you were to have the opportunity to speak to Dr Belinda Welsh, recent graduate – what advice would you give yourself?

BW: Enjoy the journey. Have a go.

Work hard but take time to enjoy life too. Appreciate how lucky you are to have been given opportunities in life and be brave enough to take them.

Remember to stay true to who you are and to your values and I think you’ll be OK!!

CM: The sacrifices you make and the work you put in will definitely be worth it. When it all seems overwhelming, just focus on the tasks of the hour or the day and the big picture will take care of itself.

This article was published in The Private Practice magazine, Autumn 2019.

Download the pdf version of this article

Finding Your Stride – A Journey Through Private Practice

Finding Your Stride – A Journey Through Private Practice

Joanne Auld is the director and owner of Pamper Clinic and The Skin Care Company in Geelong, Victoria. Here, she discusses the challenges of private practice, seeking guidance and support in business, and implementing an effective strategy.

Q: Joanne, as an entrepreneur in the medical aesthetic field, can you explain your journey?

Cosmetic medicine always interested me – in particular, non-surgical facial cosmetic treatments.

I studied nursing and pursued a career in the pharmaceutical industry for 10 years. After this, I focused on entering the growing world of cosmetics, where my passion for non-surgical cosmetic medicine quickly escalated into an obsession.

I opened Pamper Clinic with plastic surgeon Peter Callan 12 years ago. We focused on non- surgical cosmetic treatments and later specialised in developing our own cosmeceutical skincare range, The Skincare Company.

Q: What challenges did you face going into private practice?

Private practice, like any practice, comes with challenges.

We are a small business, but require the same resources of any big business. For example, human resources, accounting, insurance, payroll and finance all need to be considered. Sideline challenges included setting up policy and procedure manuals for all services and areas of the business and managing finance for large asset purchases, such as COGS and laser machines.

Fortunately I had contact with Hanya Oversby of Specialist Consulting and was able to seek guidance and find solutions to these initial challenges. Twelve years on, I still maintain regular contact with Hanya as a consultant – to ensure I am constantly keeping up with running my practice to the industry’s best standards possible.

Working with Specialist Consulting, I was able to enhance my own professional development and the clinic’s organisation, growth, employee skills, systems and management. This consultancy was tailored specifically to our needs: setting up a new practice which was looking to provide superior services in the cosmetic industry.

Q: How did you start off running a medical practice?

I had previously worked in the cosmetic industry and gained some industry knowledge from my time in private practice. I was then fortunate enough to work alongside Peter Callan, who is in private practice. Peter agreed to mentor me and support my vision of opening up a small cosmetic practice independent of his surgical practice.

Planning was key. Before we started the business I researched, researched, researched, then researched some more! My business partner’s advice was invaluable. He was someone I had looked up to and admired in the industry for over 10 years. His many years of experience as a respected plastic surgeon was a crucial part of our business planning.

Our goal was to start small and build slowly. Together we established Pamper Clinic, where we specialised in non-surgical cosmetic procedures including Botox, fillers, laser for skin rejuvenation and hair removal, peels, skincare and makeup. Peter is a well known and highly respected plastic surgeon in Geelong and he also has a Master of Business Administration (MBA). I was fortunate enough to bene t from Peter’s expertise in this area. His guidance enabled us to set the clinic up efficiently, contributing to achieving a sustainable competitive position in a constantly changing business environment.

To this day, Peter continues to inspire me through his dedication to educate and mentor colleagues in our industry. As a key opinion leader in the plastic surgery arena, he often gives his time to educate others on safe practice and new operating techniques.

More recently, I have become the sole director of Pamper Clinic and now refer my patients to his private practice for all their surgical needs.

Q: What are some of the key advantages in working with your business consultant?

I highly recommend using a business consultant as this enables you to get on with what you do best, while the consultant offers complete peace-of-mind by taking care of finding solutions to a variety of challenges which a small business faces. I worked with Specialist Consulting to find ways to implement new systems and practical ways to improve our service and profitability.

Q: What Were the key challenges you faced from a business and personal perspective and what strategies helped you through this?

Patience! Starting any business takes time, and mine was no exception. But patience isn’t one of my strengths! To be successful, my business partner and I agreed that a ‘slow and steady’ approach was key. I really had to face the challenges one at a time – and ensure I worked through the challenges we faced in an organised manner.

Our key challenges were:

  • Keeping staff motivated and up to date with safe practices;
  • Managing finances;
  • Finding balance between work and life; and
  • Developing a program that allowed me to continue my income stream, while out-sourcing someone else to take care of the day-to-day running of the practice.

Strategies implemented through consulting services included:

  • Setting up ongoing staff support and out-sourcing ongoing training to ensure safe practices were always followed; and
  • Compiling a policy and procedures manual that all staff could refer to.

Q: How did you adapt to your leadership role?

Leadership for a care-giver is difficult. You want to help people and do what you love; in my case, that was cosmetic injecting and running lasers. As a leader I needed to be a listener, a therapist and a reassuring professional.

Leadership requires different skills: delegation, problem solving and tackling obstacles, assessment of complex issues from a business perspective and coming up with solutions.

Q: Employing a new and growing team for Pamper Clinic and The Skin Care company was a big step. What do you feel have been the triumphs and challenges in this process?

Triumphs:
I really feel confident we have employed the best team. We always look for motivated individuals with a passion for what they do. Attitude is everything – and our team all share the same goal, which is working to achieve a ‘results driven’ outcome for the client. High achievers expect big things from themselves – which brings a high level of job satisfaction and positive results for clients.

Challenges:
Managing a team of individuals is never easy. It is important to remain positive throughout difficult situations, that can often be emotionally charged. Building a team that supports one another needs to be a priority – and leading by example is key.

Q: How did you create such an amazing team?

Positivity and motivation need to be modelled from the top. I always speak to my staff with a positive attitude and work on a resolution to problems or conflicts collaboratively.

As the saying goes: ‘There’s no I in team’. We will often have an informal staff debrief on a Friday evening at 5pm over drinks, to wind down from the ‘busy week that has been’ in a social setting. Regular staff meetings every Thursday morning ensure we are all on the same page and give the staff an opportunity to raise any areas of concern. We encourage ideas from staff on ways to improve our clinic and the services we offer.

Q: What is your vision moving forward as a practice?

Our vision is to ‘stick to the knitting’, as they say. Stick with what we do best and leave the rest for someone else to specialise in. Our key focus is cosmetic injectables for anti-wrinkle treatments and lasers for skin rejuvenation coupled with skincare and medi-facials.

We’re not interested in competing with chain clinics who offer a cheaper service for lesser quality.

Q: Are you seeking to expand or have other associates join you?

No. We have expanded over the years and have arrived at the place that is perfect for us right now. There are always new inventions in the cosmetic arena, but we prefer to stick with what is tried and true. Our customers don’t want to be guinea pigs – they want results and trust us to deliver them in a safe and confidential environment.

Q: As a woman in business, what do you find you stand for and how is this reflected in your brand?

I am such an advocate for only offering products or services that actually work! For example, over the years I’ve been sold machinery claiming to ‘dissolve fat’. It didn’t take long for me to realise this was a short term fix that was really only 50 per cent efficacious at best! In the past I have stocked skincare products that claimed extraordinary anti-ageing results, only to be disappointed that I’d invested in a very expensive moisturising agent!

As a result, I like to believe I stand for authenticity. If a product or service doesn’t live up to its claims, then I’m not interested in it. My clients tell me they attend my clinic because they trust me and know I will be honest with them and provide a high standard of care. Our loyal skincare followers buy our products because they know they are getting what they pay for: a cosmeceutical grade product that delivers results, while minimising sensitivity.

Q: What is the best thing about being the director of Pamper Clinic and the Skin Care Company?

I get to do what I love.

It may sound like a cliché, but how lucky am I to work in an industry I am so passionate about and help change peoples’ lives? I still get a thrill from seeing results achieved in our clinic and from the testimonials we receive, from both customers and stockists of our skincare.

Q: If you had the opportunity to speak to ‘Joanne Auld, recent graduate’ what advice would you give yourself?

Go for it. Take calculated risks and follow your passion.

Out-source what you can and stay true to your brand. Develop your business model based on what you enjoy doing and play to your strengths.

Surround yourself with the best people you know and give them the opportunity to shine too.

“As a woman in business, it has been very exciting to work with Joanne – A highly qualified and driven professional, whose goals are to achieve the very best clinical outcomes for her patients and to grow her thriving beauty and skincare business.”

– Hanya Oversby

Joanne Auld used the services of Hanya Oversby (B.Ed, Dip. Practice Management) founder of Specialist Consulting, a company to advise and guide specialists on medical business development and strategies.

This article was published in Aesthetic Medical Practitioner magazine, Issue 14, Winter 2018.

Download the pdf version of this article

# Women in Business – The Private Practice Magazine

# Women in Business – The Private Practice Magazine

Dr Raelia Lew is the director of Women’s Health Melbourne in Malvern, Fitzroy and has a new practice location in Caulfield, North Victoria.

Raelia is a Reproductive Endocrinologist, Gynaecologist and comprehensive Fertility specialist working with Melbourne IVF. She holds a FRANZCOG, a Master degree in Reproductive Medicine, a RANZCOG CREI subspecialty qualification, a clinical academic appointment at the Melbourne University Medical School and a PhD in Reproductive Genetics.

It has been my pleasure to work with Raelia in strategic business planning and implementation for her growing private practice. As a woman in business, it has been very exciting to work with Raelia, a highly qualified and driven professional, whose goal is to achieve the very best in the clinical outcomes for her patients and also in her business achievements.

As a business woman in the medical specialist field, I’m sure that this has come with its’ own unique challenges. Raelia, can you tell me about your journey from the decision to study medicine to starting and growing your private practice, Women’s Health Melbourne?

Hanya, I started studying medicine when I was a teenager. I was only 18 and I thought it was a good idea. I had 6 years to decide which direction to go in and it was a field where I could help people and express myself scientifically. I always felt that it was really exciting to gain knowledge in the area of human anatomy, biochemistry and physiology and to apply that clinically to help my patients.

I very quickly decided I wanted to do fertility medicine and IVF in particular, and from very early stages of my career I strove to go in that direction. So, medically speaking, starting my practice was a natural end point. I had absolutely no training whatsoever in business management or how to run a small business or how the small business side of things might fit into the medical paradigm, so I really learnt that on my feet starting my practice.

To some degree I ‘winged it’.

Initially where did you seek knowledge on the business of running a medical practice? Did ‘winging it’ work well for you?

It did, actually, initially, in that it allowed me to step outside of any expectations and ask myself what did I want from my business. I generated my business in the way that I wanted it to, but certainly in terms of ‘reinventing the wheel’ and finding efficiencies I had a lot to learn and when you’re running a practice that’s steadily getting busier and busier you really do find that you reach a point where you’re no longer coping with that strategy, of lack thereof!

What have been some of the key advantages that came from working with a business consultant?

It allows me to focus on what I’m best at, which is my clinical role and allows me time to do things that I’m interested in in terms of exploring areas outside of medicine. It can become all-consuming when you have to run your business, work your fulltime job, maintain your relationship and your family and commitments to things outside of work all the while trying to achieve the ever elusive ‘balance’. So firstly, in terms of optimising my business strategy and making my business as effective as it possibly can be, I recognised that I did need help and assistance and guidance. But also, to free me from the day to day tasks that do become very onerous in addition to my clinical role, I’ve found your help extremely useful and rewarding! So, thank you!

It’s been my pleasure! Through the experiences of starting a new private practice, what were the keys challenges that you faced from a business and personal perspective and what strategies helped you through this?

‘Challenges’, I suppose, is another word for ‘opportunities’ and in starting my practice my goals were to create a very different environment where patients felt very well cared for, where I could express my personality through my work and create a very boutique practice setting, which is quite different to what I’d experienced prior to going into private practice, working in the public hospital sector.

In terms of challenges, as a practice grows, what can start very organically has to become more systematised and one of my challenges was developing systems in order to allow my practice to grow and not hit a ‘ceiling’. These systems were crucial in assisting me to be more organised and more effective and more efficient in my work and be able to maintain my goals of having the ultimate in patient care, whilst my practice grows in volume. Also, as my practice has grown I’ve had to consider taking on more staff and to create a work culture and a group culture that is compatible with our aspirations and the feel of our practice – to keep it a warm and happy place to work, but at the same time being effective and giving patients the best experience possible.

Which leads well into the question of leadership… As a new business owner, you would have noticed that there was a need to take on a leadership role. What was this journey like?

I’ve enjoyed it, I think it’s a natural evolution for me. I’ve always sought to excel in each area of my life as best I can and I’ve found it enjoyable to be able to create my own business, my own way and to be able to work in that environment, so that I get a lot of job satisfaction.

In terms of leadership roles, I’ve had other leadership roles in my professional sphere, but taking that on in business adds a new dimension for me and it’s another way to extend myself as well and to learn new things, which is something I always like to do. So, I’ve relished it, really.

Having to employ a new and growing team for Women’s Health Melbourne is a big step for a new business owner. What do you feel have been the triumphs and challenges in this process?

I never really appreciated how much effort and momentum it takes to find compatible staff and grow relationships to grow my business and I’m humbled by the experience! I think that the challenges are to find staff that embrace the culture and engage in and feel some ownership of their relationships with patients and their role within the business. Something I’m trying very hard in my business to engender, is a culture of workplace satisfaction – where my staff enjoy their roles and have room and scope to grow in them, which will hopefully lead to a happy workplace into the future.

What is your vision moving forward as a practice?

As my practice evolves, I feel my vision will also evolve. My vision now for my practice is to create an environment where I can work effectively and help as many patients as I can to achieve happy and healthy families, to be that in pre-conception health promotion, via strategies such as egg freezing or through using fertility treatment strategies that are right for each individual.

I realise that moving forward with these goals, one woman can’t do it all. I would love to bring together a group of clinicians, allied health practitioners, support staff, and nurses working together under one umbrella to deliver the very best care to my patients.

As a woman in business, what do you find you stand for and how is this reflected in your brand? Can you tell me about more about this?

When I started to develop my brand, I wanted it to reflect my personality. I thought to myself, “If I was going to seek help from a doctor in this situation, what would I want in terms of the care that I were to receive?” and that’s really what I want my brand to engender – that women, men and families receive the kind of care that they consider to be the absolute ‘gold standard’.

I want my practice to reflect my values of patient confidentiality, creating a boutique practice setting where patients feel comfortable, giving my patients the certainty that they have enough time spent with them to truly understand their problems and to find solutions that are tailored to their needs.

For me to be able to this, I wanted my practice to work effectively, to deliver clinical excellence with flair.

What is the best thing about being the Director and owner of Women’s Health Melbourne?

Well, I suppose I don’t answer to anybody at the moment in terms of the direction of my practice, and that’s a good thing. But that means I also shoulder a lot of the responsibility. A lot of situations have double edges to them, but so far, I’ve really enjoyed the road.

If you were to have the opportunity to speak to Dr Raelia Lew recent graduate – what advice would you give yourself?

I would probably be very enthusiastic and encourage myself to follow the dream and to choose the area of medicine that I was most passionate about (which is what I’ve done), because there are highs and lows in every profession. It’s really the love of your work and the satisfaction you gain from helping people in a given field, that at the end of the day when you’re tired and worn out and feeling a bit down in the dumps, which happens to us all on occasion, really keeps you going and gets you through those hurdles of exams, difficult times, night shifts and conflicts and gets you through to the light at the end of the tunnel.

This article was published in The Private Practice magazine, Autumn 2018 edition.

View the Autumn 2018 edition of The Private Practice magazine.
[Hanya’s article can be found on page 38]

Download the pdf version of this article

Pin It on Pinterest