Guide to Having a
Successful First Year
of Practice


Transitioning out of residency and into independent practice is no easy task. It’s a big jump in terms of patient volume, responsibility, billing knowledge, and time management.

Being prepared and knowing when and what you need to register for, and how you’re going to handle things like billing, and … stress … is key to ensure a successful first year.

That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive 70-page guide that walks you through every aspect of independent practice.

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Why this Guide

While starting an independent practice is exciting, there’s no doubt you’ll run into a few unexpected difficulties along the way. This creates a lot of extra stress on top of your already busy workload.

We’ve heard the horror stories of not knowing what to do or how to do it from new physicians we’ve worked with before, which is why we created this guide with the help of those physicians.

It covers every aspect of starting out so you’ll know what to register for, how best to handle paperwork and how to create a support system that works.

Here’s a glimpse of what each chapter includes:


Chapter 1

The Job Hunt & Basics

  1. How to Figure Out What Your Ideal Job is
  2. To Locum or Not
  3. Canadian Payment Schemes
  4. Where to Find Jobs
  5. Contract Negotiation

Chapter 2

Financial Wellness – Things You Should Think About

  1. Should I Incorporate?
  2. Find a Lawyer
  3. Find an Accountant
  4. Find a Financial Planner
  5. Find a Billing Service

Chapter 3

Register for Your Independent Practice License

Follow the exact steps you need to do to become fully licensed to legally practice unsupervised medicine in Canada.

Chapter 4


  1. Join the CMPA
  2. Apply for a Billing #
  3. Obtain Hospitals Privileges
  4. Register for Work Safe Claims
  5. Join the Medical Association

Chapter 5

Plan Ahead

  1. Understand Your EMR
  2. Learn Basic Billing
    • Free Webinar
    • Billing Tips
    • Searchable Databases

Chapter 6

How to Be Productive Daily

  1. Use Electronics to Your Advantage
  2. Finish Paperwork Daily
  3. Be Prepared and Work with Patients
  4. Keep Learning

Chapter 7

Have a Support System

  1. Learning How to Ask for Help,
  2. Find & Join Online Groups
  3. Finding Mentors

Chapter 8

Find Balance

  1. How You Can Relax Instantly
  2. Learn How to Schedule
  3. Delegate Tasks When Possible
  4. Re-evaluate and Reset

Chapter 9

Advice From Other Doctors

New Doctors Reveal their Best Tips and Advice when Starting Out

  • Biggest Challenges
  • Most Frustrating Part
  • What They Want You To Know

What were you least prepared for?

The financial and practice-building aspects of work remains the most opaque. Residency programs prepare physicians well for content and decision-making, but billing, as well as designing and managing a practice, remain poorly taught and rarely discussed.
Michael J Diamant - Internal Medicine

What has been the most frustrating part when starting out?

Paperwork, notes, labs, etc. - all the extra work outside of direct patient care that takes a considerable amount of time (and is not compensated for, at least not directly). And with how connected we are (e.g. at home EMR access, cell phones), it can be a challenge to carve out personal time.
Arlo Green – General Practitioner