Whether you’re looking for your first job after residency or you’ve decided it’s time to find a new opportunity, searching for employment is always a challenging task that requires research, personal reflection, and most importantly, patience. Factors such as demand, specialization, and financial considerations can all complicate the job market.
Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has created more challenges, especially for those just embarking on their physician careers. According to the AMA, job seekers are focused less on things like location or lifestyle; instead, they are more concerned about the opportunities their employer can offer them in the changing post-COVID-19 landscape.
Because of the potential challenges that doctors are facing in the job market, timing is more important than ever. But that begs the question—when is the best time to start looking for the best practice opportunities? That answer depends on who you ask. Wolters Kluwer, for instance, suggests that residents should start their job search 18 to 24 months before the end of training.
However, for residents and doctors seeking new opportunities, one year usually provides enough time to find a position that lines up with their needs. During that time, you should consider all of the factors that will guide your job search so that you can have a clear understanding of what matters most to you as you embark on the next leg of your journey. Here are some things for you to consider along the way.
When you’re considering the benefits package being offered, it’s important to pay attention to all of the details. While your medical, dental, and vision coverage are usually standard, you’ll encounter a wide range of other benefits, including disability and life insurance, as well as vacation time and retirement contributions.
Most importantly, you’ll likely receive medical malpractice insurance, including tail coverage. Tail coverage is especially significant, as it extends your protection to any claims made after your malpractice coverage ends for any reason. While often overlooked, tail coverage is a critically important part of your benefits package.
Finding the right cultural fit is another vital consideration when you’re pursuing practice opportunities. While your focus is largely on your responsibilities and how you’ll fit in amongst your fellow physicians, you should also pay attention to the support staff. A commitment to full nursing and administrative support not only makes your job easier, but it also points to a strong collaborative culture.
It’s also worth paying attention to the patient population. When a practice has a well-established patient population, you’re more likely to be familiar with your patients, and you’ll spend less time constructing patient histories and dealing with complicated coding requirements.
Location will always be an important consideration when you’re choosing your next job, but this means more than just what city you’re working in. Practice opportunities in Houston, for instance, range from small, intimate private practices to larger medical center locations—in fact, Houston has the largest medical center in the world.
The question of location can also differ based on your specialty. Family medicine careers and internal medicine careers, for instance, can be found at both large and small practices. Neurology jobs, on the other hand, can be more difficult to secure outside of large medical practices or urban centers.
One of the most significant long-term factors, when you’re looking for your next job, is the question of practice ownership. If finding a path to a practice partnership is important to you, then you’ll need to focus your efforts on finding an employer that will explicitly make that a part of your compensation package.
At Kelsey-Seybold, for instance, you’ll usually be eligible for partnership after three years, providing you’re board-certified and in good standing with the practice. Like with any group practice, you’ll need to demonstrate a strong work ethic, showing your commitment to improving the practice in all phases.
Indeed, partnership at Kelsey-Seybold is just one of the compensation benefits that the practice offers. In addition to a guaranteed base salary, you’ll receive additional quarterly compensation based on productivity and performance and on quality metrics specific to each department. And as part of a large group practice, you’ll have access to a large support network that’s dedicated to helping you build your practice.
A Final Word
No matter where you are in the job search, the keyword is always “patience.” The right position is out there, and with persistence and commitment to your personal values, your next practice opportunity could be the perfect place to spend the rest of your career.