Business networks are made up of direct and indirect relationships found in both social ties and economic connections. The more common example of a network is one based on business exchanges and limited to interactions directly concerning operations. A good general example of this network interaction is how a producer of a certain product has ties with a trusted supplier of raw materials or how an executive in that firm has business partners in a related industries. Other networks are grounded on more casual relationships and interactions like that of informal social groups. All networks are a mix of both at the end of the day.
Generally, however, strategic networking isn’t often seen as a very important skill for doctors to have because of the fact that doctors have an easier time finding jobs. This is true considering that there is an increasing demand for healthcare services as detailed in an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. In light of this high demand for practicing physicians, why would doctors still need to work on their networking skills and build more strategic relationships with other people in the medical community?
On the simpler side, becoming acquainted with other practitioners even from different fields of expertise helps doctors form an informal referral network for their patients. Networks in the medical field also become valuable spaces for sharing knowledge of best practices such as the utilization of new techniques, more effective medicines or equipment, and even non-medical skills like financing or dealing with the hospital administration. For many doctors, opportunities outside of their general practice, such as leadership roles in a hospital, arise from offers or invitations that they have little direct influence over. These offers typically come from people already involved in administrative leadership who know the physicians well enough to understand that one of them may be capable enough to handle a non-medical leadership role. These examples emphasize the need for networking as a skill within the medical community, even if one could get by simply by focusing on their practice.
Now how does one properly network? Well there really isn’t one simple perfect formula to it. We all have different personalities and the dynamics of every social circle vary quite a lot. It is still important to note two basic things when it comes to networking. The first is to just get yourself out there. Becoming an active member in doctor’s associations of even during small events in a hospital is a good place to start. Consistency is key, but perhaps the more important thing to keep in mind is to approach these interactions with the goal seeking genuine relationships rather than having an attitude that is solely focused on personal gain.
Although individual definitions of professional success in the medical field may vary widely. It always helps to know the right people. Opportunities exist in sometimes unexpected places and it is in our best interest to put ourselves in the best position to gain access to them.