Have you finally finished everything you need to do to become a podiatrist? One of your first big decisions is where you’ll hang that piece of paper that shows you’re a physician—but how to decide where to practice? At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Technology (IPED), first, we say, Congratulations! Our membership consists of podiatric professionals from students all the way up to veteran physicians on the brink of retiring. We know the time and effort it takes to achieve and maintain the high standards of being a podiatric practitioner and we are with you every step of the way. From improving patient outcomes to dealing with compliance issues to practice management, we are a clearinghouse of information and provider of resources to help you make the best choices for your career.
Below are some steps to clarifying the important decision of where to practice.
Which comes first, where you live or where you work? If you are not tied to a particular location, your scope of possible practice places is very wide. If you have an area you plan to specialize in, you might start by researching where the need is the greatest for your specialty. If you have a home already, then decide on an acceptable commute and draw a circle with that radius around your home as a starting point.
Once you’ve honed in on a general location, it’s time to study the demographics of the area. In addition to patient population, you’ll want to find out how many podiatrists are already practicing in the area. A good ratio is one podiatrist for every 25,000 people. If you have a specialty, how well is that represented in your area? Is your specialty compatible with the population—geriatric podiatry in a college town, for example, may not be a good fit!
What type of supportive services are available? You’ll want to investigate the hospital(s) where you will be looking to secure privileges. Are there good physical therapy options in the area? What is the real estate market like? If you are planning to open your own practice, you’ll want to know about the availability and cost of space in the town or city you’re considering. Spending an afternoon with a commercial broker can provide helpful insights into the pros and cons of a location.