How should a resident physician look for a job? Literally what steps should they take in finding a position that they’ll be satisfied with. The timing certainly is important. Most physicians generally start looking for positions early in their PGY-3 year. Some specialties will even sign contracts in their PGY-2 year if they’re not going into fellowship. Obviously, if a physician is moving from residency into fellowship, they usually won’t start looking until the end of their last year residency, or maybe it’s a multiple-year fellowship. Maybe at the beginning of the last year of their fellowship as well. There are several ways a physician can find a job.
The easiest way I’ve found is through colleagues. If you’ve trained with somebody, usually, they’ll know of, okay, I hear this place is recruiting, or maybe they joined a practice and they say, it’s a great environment that we’re looking to add another physician in a specialty. Maybe you should look at it. Now, that can kind of vary wildly as far as location, and location is very important to some and not important at all to others. So, if you’re getting some leads from some of your fellow residents or fellows, it can go all over the place. That’s one way is to talk to colleagues, mentors, or other people you’ve met in training. And that’s also a great way of determining what the market value is at the time. The MGMA data or anything like that is like an annual survey of physician compensation across the nations broken up into geography, specialty, physician-owned versus hospital-based physician. In some specialties, the sample size is so small.
I don’t think it’s a great tool. Other specialties, if there are hundreds and hundreds of responses can usually be a pretty good gauge. Now, I don’t think any physician should base a job search solely on compensation. I think that’s shortsighted. Anyone coming out of training needs to be in an environment where they can learn, or they’re going to have mentors where they’re going to feel safe, where they’re going to have an opportunity to grow. Other blogs of interest include:
Many times, I’ll see especially in rural environments where they just absolutely need a specialty. They’re willing to throw a bunch of cash at somebody, but they’ll be the only one in their specialty out there. Like there’ll be no others, no one to learn from, no one to train with, no one to pick someone’s brain at least locally. Those scenarios are tough. Some physicians certainly can thrive in that environment, but for others, it’s more difficult. And so, I think that needs to be considered. Any physician contract is going to have without cause termination. If a physician is unhappy, they just provide, usually 60- or 90-days’ notice, and they can move on. Even if you’re in a job at the beginning, you’re not stuck there forever. You can just find something better.
I mean, I find a lot of physicians coming out of residency or fellowship, will take the first job and then say, alright, well, now I know what I don’t want. And so, they can look for jobs that are more appropriate to what they’re looking for. Another way is through physician recruiters. There are two types of recruiters. You have in-house recruiters. Many of the big hospital networks employ physician recruiters who are going out to the different residency programs, maybe there’s job fair, something like that. Or they’ll specifically reach out to people in training saying, hey, I have this opportunity in this place. Would you be interested? They’re free to the physician. You do not have to pay the recruiter or anything. The employer is the one that pays the recruitment fees.
So, physician recruiters, both in-house and those that are just a private group where they just go out and broker these deals. And normally, they would get a percentage of the first-year salary of the physician, or maybe a flat fee, something like that. But there’s absolutely no harm in discussing positions with recruiters. It’s a normal way of doing business nowadays. And they usually have their ear to the ground and know of many different opportunities that could be exciting for a physician. Another way is if you have a specific region in mind is just doing job searches for practices in your specialty in a specific area. Most places will have job posts in just normal job sites if they’re looking and you can just search for those in the city that you want and find that and contact them from their job listing.
That’s another way. So, those are the three kinds of biggest ways. Word of mouth through colleagues, doing it through a physician recruiter, or just simply searching in specific cities through a job search website. Now, for those of you that maybe are J-1 or something like that, that’s like an entirely different kind of job search. And I can do a different video about that. But this is more geared towards those that are looking for the normal position that just coming out of training.
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