You have devoted the last decade of your life to medical school, residency, and fellowship. It’s time to get out into the real world for a REAL job. Where do you want to live? What type of practice would you like?
Timing is everything. Start early!
I started my fellowship in August. During my elective pediatric hearts rotation, I met a team of physicians who were very encouraging and asked if I had a job yet (this was October). I told them I didn’t have a job yet, but I wanted to stay in California. Maybe it was my lucky day, but one of the lady docs I worked with sat on the application committee for my current job. She encouraged me to apply to their anesthesia group. After going through the proper channels, I got a phone call from the anesthesia group saying they would like to interview me for a position. I had my interview in November and heard back in December that I had a job. Everything happened in such quick succession. When I left residency, I knew I wanted to be in southern California. Thank goodness I matched into a fellowship spot in Southern California! It makes it easier if you know what area/region/state you want to practice in. Keep in mind that some states are more friendly to physicians than others.
After you’ve decided on a location to practice, figure out the type of practice options that are available in the area.
Luckily, I was working in the city that I wanted to be in, so I could easily survey the hospitals and find out who was hiring.
Do your research.
What type of practice works for you? Do you want a large academic center with a physician-led team approach to healthcare? Do you want to practice in a private practice setting in a team or solo? There are so many practice models out there — I wish residencies explored/explained more of these options. Fortunately, I knew a solo-practice physician-only model would work best for me.
Keep in mind the number of hours you want to work. What are the opportunities for working more or less? How many vacation weeks will you get? Is there paid-time-off? Will you have a salary or productivity-based income? How many calls/month will you take? Is there a discrepancy between new hires vs. senior partners in access to vacation/salary/calls/etc.? Is there fairness in scheduling? How long will it take to make partner? What’s the buy-in amount? Is there a buy-out when you leave/retire? I didn’t know to ask these questions when I was going through the process of looking for my job. Don’t forget to ask about retirement options and health insurance coverage. Also, ask if it’s possible to work at another hospital or surgery center in the area or if there is a non-compete clause in the contract.
Bring your best self to the interview. The people who are interviewing you want to know more about you. Tell them about your hobbies, lifestyle, goals for the group, plans for the future. Engage your interviewer and ask them how long they’ve been with the group. How do they enjoy their time? Keep in mind that they’re interviewing you because you look great on paper. They want a chance to get to know you better. Show them your best self, especially all your hobbies and interests outside of medicine. Keep the conversation casual and inviting.
Read over the contract carefully. My group has a one year contract that is revisited yearly and is the same for every member of our 250+ physician group. Before I started, some people recommended a contract attorney specializing in medical contracts to read it over. I didn’t find it necessary in my case as my contract was the same for every physician in my group and the language was very clear to understand. Use your own judgement. If you don’t understand the contract, get some help.
What recommendations did you find helpful in your job search and interview?
What additional help can I include in this post?