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So You Wanna Start A Psychiatry Clinic with Erica Burger from Driftless Integrative Psychiatry

Welcome to our So You Wanna Start A... series, designed to give you a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the journeys that went into creating some of your favorite local brands.

Today's guest is Erica Burger from Driftless Integrative Psychiatry, a psychiatry clinic in Lansing, Iowa. 

Our favorite piece of advice: "Find a mentor." Whether you're first starting out or you've been in business for a while, there is so much to be gained by seeking out assistance from someone who's been there before. Find a mentor in your industry who can be that sounding board you need when you come to a crossroads or a decision that you're struggling to make.

If you're curious about starting a psychiatry clinic, learn a little more from Erica and connect with her using the links below!

1. What do you own and why did you start this business?

In April of 2021, I started a holistic, heart-centered psychiatric clinic with a goal of helping people improve their mental health. I had graduated from my four year psychiatry residency in the Twin Cities back in 2020 and was, at that time, working for a regional healthcare system. I recognized that working for a big system wasn't a good fit for me and that I wasn't able to provide care in the way that felt most helpful for my patients. I had gotten pretty burned out and recognized that I couldn't help others if I was depleted myself so took action. Being from rural Wisconsin and now residing in rural Wisconsin, I knew that providing mental health care to those in rural areas was a top priority for me.

A silver lining of the pandemic has been the huge shift towards telepsychiatry, or providing care over video online. My practice is about 90% telepsychiatry, where I can see individuals living anywhere in WI, IA, or MN. However, I also opened a physical clinic in downtown Lansing, Iowa (population 880). I also saw the importance of being a bridge for patients who were more comfortable working with other wellness specialties (naturopathy, chiropractic care, therapy) and offer a variety of medication and non-medication options for mental health including nutritional psychiatry, therapy, lifestyle counseling, as well as herbal/supplement options. Many people have had negative experiences working with psychiatrists and my goal is to help people feel empowered, supported, and that they can ask questions comfortably!

2. What is an early win you had that made you feel like you were on the right path?

An early win was that I have found it much easier to build community connections both in healing-related fields but also my community at large - people were actually able to contact me. I also now have the time and energy to network and volunteer, providing mentorship to medical students and volunteering for a national physician support line.

3. What's one of the biggest challenges you’ve had?

In medical training, we have a very rigid but predictable path - you get into medical school, complete medical school, get into residency, and then complete residency. So that has been my mindset for many years. One of the biggest challenges I have had is learning to accept the uncertainty that comes with starting your own clinic and be okay with leaving the conventional path in medicine.  

4. What are three pieces of advice you’d give to aspiring local business owners in your industry?

1) Find a mentor. If you are a health care practitioner and struggling, know that you are not alone and that there are other options out there - including starting your own clinical practice. Seek out mentorship from someone in your field who is practicing how you want to practice.

2) Learn about entrepreneurship. Adopt a beginner's mind and start reading and learning about entrepreneurship (and just not entrepreneurship in medicine!).

3) Create a practice that works for you. Get really clear on what you want your practice to look like and how that fits into your priorities in life. You don't have to create an empire but you can create a practice that works for you and your life.

5. Where is your business heading next and what are you excited about?

We are hoping to offer group classes focusing on mental fitness and self-compassion at our clinic in Lansing, Iowa soon!

Find Erica & Driftless Integrative Psychiatry:

Instagram: @driftlessintegrativepsychiatry

Facebook: @driftlessintegrativepsychiatry

Website: driftlessintegrativepsychiatry.com

Want to be featured in our SYWSA series? Fill out our contact form here to get the ball rolling.

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