The goal of Side Hustle Scrubs is to discover new side hustles, try them out first hand and then teach you how to do it better than I did. The problem is that there are more side hustles than one physician could ever conceivably do in a lifetime. Luckily for me, there are plenty of side hustlers out there who are willing to share their expertise with us.
Today’s guest is a side hustler extraordinaire. He is an art dealer and real estate mogul. His clinical jobs have included traditional primary care, concierge medicine and being the medical director for both nursing homes and palliative care. His most important side hustle to me is his blog DiverseFI where he churns out quality posts day after day.
Today Doc G was gracious enough to sit down and tell us about his nursing home side hustle.
What is your primary specialty and where do you practice?
I am a primary care physician. I originally was a traditional internist seeing patients in the hospital, office, and nursing home. A few years ago, I transitioned into a home based concierge practice which I stopped in 2018. I now spend my time seeing patients in nursing homes and as a medical director of a hospice.
How did you first get involved in nursing home medicine? Was it your specific plan or did it fall in your lap?
Back in 2008, an administrator in a local nursing home called me and asked if I would like to be a medical director in her facility. I took the job and have been there ever since. In the years that followed, I started to go to a bunch of other local nursing homes.
What is the time commitment involved with being a nursing home medical director? What is the typical salary range?
The actual time doing medical director activities can vary from 2-5 hours a week and usually pays anywhere from $2000-$6000 a month depending how involved you are, You also get assigned patients in the facility and bill insurance for your work with them.
What are the main responsibilities? Walk us through a typical day.
Main responsibilities include a monthly quality meeting. Regular phone calls from nurses and the director of nursing. Often you become responsible for the care of patients who don’t have doctors or do not have insurance. In some of my facilities, I teach the nurses an hour a week. In others, I run a palliative care program which also is about 1 hour a week of work.
Every hustle has its drawbacks. What is the worst part of the job?
The worst part of nursing home work , in general, is phone calls. I get phone calls all hours of the day and night.
What advice would you give a physician looking to branch out into this line of work?
Start by introducing yourself to the administrator of a facility and then ask if they can assign you patients. Once you have patients in the facility, show up, answer phone calls, and do a good job taking care of people. That goes a long way.
Emergency physicians sometimes have a negative opinion of nursing home doctors who send patients to the ED for minor complaints (no business is bad business in my opinion). What is something ER docs should know about the difficulties of caring for patients in the nursing home?
Nursing home patients are very sick and often taken care of by overwhelmed and undertrained nurses. At odd hours of the day or in the middle of the night, the safest thing to do sometimes is to send the patient to the ER. If someone gets sick, nursing homes are not equipped like a hospital.
You’ve had a wide array of side gigs, some easier than others. How would rank this one amongst your other “lazy” hustles?
I think the actual directorship part is easy. Running programs and doing education is easy. The hard part is actually taken care of nursing home patients. This, however, you get paid extra by Medicare for.
Some people are just natural-born workers. We’re two of them. Do you think you’ll ever fully retire?
Every year I am slowly downsizing. I think I will always side hustle while I am able. As long as I can vacation and see the important people in my life, why not work a little on the side?
You crank out quality blog posts day after day. Where do you find the time to be so productive? Do you ever take a step back at this passion project you’ve created and think about the total number of hours you’ve spent on it?
My energy comes from the fact that I really like to write and I enjoy the interaction. I don’t worry too much about the time because I still have plenty of time to do other things. I generally read 1-2 hours a day, exercise and walk at least 1-2 hours a day, and watch a good amount of TV. I usually am home everyday when the kids get done with school. So I just don’t feel the time crunch that everyone else seems to struggle with.
If you could go back in time to the first day of medical school, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Do a combined business degree. I passed up a 1 year MBA program at Kellog (Combined with MD) which I really now wish I had done.
I can’t thank Doc G enough for taking time to tell us about one of his side hustles. Go check out DiverseFI today and see what he’s up to.
Do you have a unique side hustle you want to share?
Want to learn more?
If becoming a nursing home medical director sounds like your kind of side hustle, check out the following links:
The Nursing Home Medical Director: Leader & Manager. White paper by the American Medical Directors Association.
So You Want to be a Medical Director? Managed Health Care Connect
What do you think? Does this sound like a side hustle you would be interested in? Share your thoughts and comments below.