< Career Advice Archives - Jackson Physician Search

Five Reasons Why Doctors Search For a New Job

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If you pay any attention at all to the stock market or financial news, you already know that the economy is booming and the outlook for jobs is better than it has been in decades.  The same can be said for physicians, as the healthcare industry is grappling with filling open positions around the country.  If you are a physician who has not been considering finding a new job, maybe now is the right time to start looking for a new place to practice.  Let’s take a look at five reasons why Doctors search for a new job to see if any of them apply to your situation.

Experiencing feelings of burnout.

At least 50% of all doctors report feelings of burnout, with some specialties like critical care and emergency medicine slightly higher.  If you are one of those physicians experiencing burnout without a solution or help from the administration on the horizon, now is the time to explore making changes.  Burnout doesn’t just get better by itself. Instead, it takes making changes in your life, or organizational changes to alleviate some of the stressors, or finding a new job that already has processes in place to help physicians avoid burnout.

Feeling a sense of complacency.

You probably didn’t choose to practice medicine because you wanted to “punch a clock.” If you are like most, you were drawn to the excitement of medicine.  Studying different ways to treat illnesses and ailments, and digging into the science of medicine was the attraction.  If you have found that your excitement and passion is waning, and you are simply going through the motions, you have become complacent.  Finding a new job may be just the cure for your “punching the clock” blues.  A new location, new management, new ideas, even new patients can help you inject just enough discomfort into your routine to make your job fun again.

You need to keep learning and growing.

Similar to the complacency rut, when you became a physician, you went to school for a long time.  It was worth it because you knew that in the end, you would have a career and a sense of accomplishment. No matter what career people choose, most of us want to continue to grow personally and professionally.  If you are in a position that is not affording you the opportunity to grow, do research, even practice abroad occasionally, then it might be time to find an employer who wants those things for you.

Not fitting in anymore.

Workplace culture has been a focal point for successful companies for a very long time.  Not surprisingly, the healthcare industry has been behind the curve on understanding the importance of how important culture and fit is for attracting and retaining the best talent.  In healthcare, we have all read about and even experienced the rash of mergers and acquisitions that the industry is experiencing.  These developments are not always good for workplace culture.  When new leadership comes in, often times the culture and communication changes and leads to good people seeking new environs.

Work and life are out of balance.

We all want balance in our life.  As a physician, you know there will be some late nights or the occasional disruption to your social calendar, but you also probably want to have some control over it. Predictable hours, minimal call schedules (if any), and untouchable vacation and personal time should be on your short list to ensure that you can achieve the work/life balance that is so critical to being at your best.  Achieving that is no longer a pipe dream. Hospitals and health systems know that they no longer have the upper hand in physician recruitment and have been much more willing to offer attractive incentives to physician candidates.

Jackson Physician Search has the national reach and healthcare industry experience to help you find your perfect job.  To find out what we can do for your career, contact one of our recruitment professionals today.

The Link Between Physician Burnout and Cultural Fit

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Physicians today are suffering the effects of burnout at higher rates than ever before.  If someone were to make an assumption about what is causing physician dissatisfaction and burnout, compensation might be at the top of your list, but you would be incorrect. According to the Medscape National Physician Burnout & Depression Report 2018, compensation was fifth on the list of burnout contributors.  By taking a close look at the survey we see that many of the factors that are contributing to physician stress and burnout can be attributed to organizational culture. Physicians are saying the issues that are contributing to burnout include being bogged down with bureaucratic tasks, unmanageable work schedules, lack of respect and awareness from administrators, and issues with electronic health records.

Some of the contributors to burnout listed by survey respondents include bureaucratic tasks, lack of respect from the administration, lack of autonomy, feeling like a cog in the wheel, and emphasis on profits over patients, among others. An organizational culture that promotes engagement, respect, communication, fairness, etc. makes for a healthier environment for staff and administrators alike.

Is culture really that much of a factor? The answer is a resounding yes.  According to a research study conducted for LinkedIn, 70% of professionals in the United States indicated that they would not work at a leading organization if it meant having to deal with bad workplace culture.  Another 65% of respondents would accept lower compensation if they were working in a great environment.

As a physician, you have options in this evolving healthcare industry.  If you are unhappy in your current position or feel that you tolerate working in an environment that is not aligned with your values, you probably want to reassess your surroundings. Proactive healthcare organizations are working through the process of understanding their culture and finding employees who will fit.

There are some simple questions you can ask yourself to see if culture is contributing to feelings of burnout or dissatisfaction.

  • Do you feel there is a shared mission that is clearly defined and followed at every level of your organization?
  • Are behaviors and corporate decisions aligned with your own personal values?
  • Is communication transparent from top to bottom?
  • Does the organization value things like work/life balance and demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of the employees?

Answering those four simple questions, and you will notice that none involved compensation, should give you an idea of whether or not it is time to seek new opportunities.  If you have never had the opportunity to work in an environment that fosters a strong organizational culture, you don’t know how much of an impact it has on your personal fulfillment, job satisfaction, and passion for the practice of medicine.

To see for yourself how finding a cultural fit can help you take your career to the next level, speak with a Jackson Physician Search recruitment professional today. There are available opportunities locally and across the country, let us help you find your perfect fit.

Why Physicians Should Consider Flyover States

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We’ve all heard the references to “flyover” America when talking about cities and states in the central regions of the United States. Often times, these so-called flyover states are overlooked by physicians and advanced practice professionals when considering their next job opportunity. Doing that might turn out to be a bigger mistake than you realize.  Considering opportunities in less populous states and rural communities can be the best way to land a job that provides a combination of work/life balance and quality of life that may not be found in sprawling urban areas. With physician burnout and unmanageable work schedules increasingly at the forefront, now is the time to discover parts of this country you never knew existed.

The Reason Why

Your career should not be all about a big salary. A $380,000 salary in San Francisco or “the Big Apple” won’t get what you can with $240,000 in Duluth or Colorado Springs. Imagine being able to practice medicine outside of a bureaucracy, spending time with patients instead of managing quotas, and then actually having a life outside of the workplace.  Does that sound like something you can get into?

Let’s take a look at states that have wide open spaces and a lot of physician opportunities for those who are ready to make a change.

Minnesota

The ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’ is an outdoor lover’s dream. From recreational water sports activities in the summer to ice skating and fishing in the winters. In Minnesota, weekend retreats to a cabin on the lake is a family tradition that goes back generations.  One fact about Minnesota that you may not know is that it has one of the most highly educated populations in the country, second only to Massachusetts.

Wisconsin

Another state with a variety of physician and advanced practice opportunities is the ‘Dairy State,’ Wisconsin.  If you are a fan of cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products, you can’t go wrong here. From the quaint charm of Egg Harbor to the bustling metropolis of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has something for everyone. Year round festivals, professional and college sports galore, and outdoor activities of all types, Wisconsin is a great state to raise a family.

Colorado

Do you like to ski and wish you had more time for that and other winter sports? Colorado is famous for being the ultimate ski destination. Finding your physician opportunity in the ‘Rocky Mountain State’ means that you will not only be close to world-class ski resorts but actually have the time to enjoy them. Coloradans are health fanatics, and there are plenty of outdoor fitness opportunities allowing you to enjoy the more than 300 days of sunshine a year.

Texas

While not typically included in discussions of flyover states, there is much more to Texas than the big cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin. Rural opportunities for physicians abound in Texas, and many are in and around locations in the southern part of the state. If you have always wanted to be near the water, the Houston/Galveston area is situated near the Gulf Coast, while farther inland the beauty and history found near San Antonio is hard to pass up. Texas is very financially friendly as the economy is booming and homeownership is easier than in highly taxed and more regulated states.

Start Looking

Now is the perfect time to reconsider your career options. Opportunities reside all over the country and if balance is something that is missing in your life, take a flyer on a flyover state and see if it is right for you.

Jackson Physician Search is an industry leader in placing physicians and advanced practice professionals into opportunities that provide them with the work/life balance and professional growth they need.  Get started by contacting one of our physician recruitment professionals today, or use our powerful job search tool and discover some of the incredible opportunities we have available.

JPS Recruiters Live: Optimizing for Your Children’s Education

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You can watch the recording of this installment of JPS Recruiters Live on our Facebook Page. (10 mins.)

Often, we get asked by doctors that are looking to relocate for help with assessing schools and school districts. We know that the education of their children is very important to them. At Jackson Physician Search, we actively research school systems, neighborhoods, cost of living, and other information so we can match physicians to jobs that fit their career and personal needs.

Resources for Assessing Schools and School Districts

There are plenty of good websites for checking the general “temperature” of a school or school district. It’s important to remember that the ratings are primarily based on standardized test scores. When there is additional information on student outcomes and growth or college preparedness, that is also weighed. Not all states report on those metrics though. Some sites use datasets such as community demographics, real estate sites, Wikipedia, etc. Keep in mind, sometimes that data is out of date or irrelevant, so be sure to check the source date of the information.

Links

  • nces.ed.gov/ – This is a great site that has information about public, private, and charter schools. There are many reports, with lots of data, that you can use to evaluate schools.
  • schooldigger.com – This site has its own ranking system called the “SchoolDigger Rank”. Their database has detailed profiles for over 136,000 schools. They track enrollment data, test scores, crime data, real estate data, etc.
  • greatschools.org – GreatSchools is the leading national nonprofit for school ratings. They also have articles, tips, and interactive tools to help parents support their children’s academic efforts.

What’s Most Important in Assessing Education Opportunities

There are more important factors than picking the “right” school. There is a strong correlation between academic achievement and the highest level of education of the parents, especially the mother, and the emphasis placed on learning in the home. When there is an expectation of academic excellence in the home and a real-world example of academic excellence, students have a much higher probability of academic success. This is great news for the families of physicians and scholars like yourself.

The School Is Only One Element of Academic Success

In many ways, it is more relevant to research specific resources versus overall school rating. Some schools offer resources such as before and after-school programs, and special needs assistance. If your student is college bound, they need to be prepared to differentiate themselves from other college applicants. At Harvard University, one of their four main considerations for admissions is interests and activities. More specifically, extracurricular activities, athletics, and community involvement. Your work-life balance can also have an impact on academic success. How much time will you have to get kids to soccer practice, help them with homework, and teach life lessons?

If you have more questions about how our expert physician recruiters research and evaluate the positions we staff for, please reach out to us using the contact us form below.

Take Time to Assess Your Surroundings During Your On-Site Interview

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With competition for your services as a physician being so fierce, healthcare organizations are increasingly looking for individuals who fit their culture in addition to having the necessary skills to succeed.

While administrators are going out of their way to attract and hire doctors who are a good fit, it is important that you do the same for yourself. If you are being brought in for an on-site interview, it is a good indication that they think your values and skills are a match for the organization.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to do some reconnaissance of your own about the organization as well as the community.  Is it a place you can envision settling into?  A place you might even want to raise a family?  Fortunately, like anyone who is in a high-demand career, you have the opportunity to focus on finding a job that fits your career and life goals.

Think About Your Time Away from the Job

If you are going to avoid burnout, you have to have access to things that you like to do to recharge your batteries.  Do you like to fish and hike? Then check out your proximity to parklands.  Maybe you are a cycler or a runner.  You can search online for local running or bicycling clubs. Another underutilized resource for individuals who are relocating is the local chamber of commerce.  People work for the chamber because they know everybody in town and are connected to everyone who matters.  You can connect with them online, it’s a great place to start your research.

Spend Some Time in the Community

Make your way around the downtown or take a drive in the suburbs, it is important to get a feel for the speed and vibrancy of life there.  Strike up a random conversation with the person who is filling up their gas tank at the pump next to you.  You have made your career by gleaning health information from strangers, it is just as easy to learn about non-health related things in the same way.

Assess the Facility Environment

What are your thoughts as you walk through the front doors? Do the folks at the front desk have a smile on their face?  How about the other clinicians?  What can you read from their body language?  Head over to the coffee shop or the cafeteria and strike up a conversation with any physicians or residents you come across.  You might be surprised what you can learn from a little human intelligence, and it will help you in the interview process.

Now, that you have your own sense of the community, the facility, and the people who work there, there is a frame of reference for you to lean on during the interview.  You may have learned something that you want to confirm or ask about. The members of the interview team will measure you up at the same time you can measure them against your recon experience. While it may feel a bit like a spy novel, we are talking about your career and your happiness and engagement in that career.

Jackson Physician Search recruiters personally visit their client’s location so they can help candidates accurately evaluate fit.

If you want to know more about any of our physician opportunities, please contact us.

How To Advance Your Physician Career With a New Job

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As you look to advance your physician career with a new job, the most important question you must ask yourself is why are you considering a change?  Your reasons will drive how you approach your job search and help you make the best decision when evaluating opportunities.

Physicians and Advanced Practice professionals are living examples of how supply and demand works based on the wide variance between current need and the number of practicing caregivers. In 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges commissioned IHS Inc. (now IHS Markit), to analyze the state of physician supply and demand through 2025.  According to the report, based on demand, the deficit of available physicians will be between 46,100 and 90,400 by 2025.

What this means for doctors and advanced practice providers is that opportunities are plentiful and competition for your services is higher than ever.  The time is right to advance your career with a new job.  Here are things to consider:

Finding the right fit for you and your career.

Fortunately, having chosen a career that is in such demand, you have plenty of options.  Hospital administrators are finding out that culture and fit are far more important to physician retention and engagement than ever before considered.  For you, this means that you can take the time to weigh your options and select a position that fits your personal or professional life.  It also means you can take a position across town or across the country.  If you’re looking for a lifestyle change, chances are there is a position available to facilitate that change.

Step up the career ladder.

Have you reached a point in your career where you want to have more say in how things are done in the workplace?  Many experienced physicians are deciding to explore leadership positions. As a physician executive, the leadership and management within healthcare organizations is a natural next step.  Hospital systems, medical schools, even insurance companies all need leaders with your skills and experiences. If you envision being in the C-suite one day, the time to begin that climb is now.

Shape the next generation of healthcare professionals.

If you still enjoy patient care but need a change from day to day patient-facing positions, teaching the next generation of physicians may be an option. You can impart your wisdom and experiences to third- and fourth-year medical students, train residents in their specialty, or teach physician assistants.

No matter which direction you want your career path to take, the good news is that the job market is robust and anyone who is committed to making the most of their career will have ample opportunity to do so.  Take some time and brush up your CV or resume.  You can ease the burden of searching for a new job joining forces with an experienced physician recruitment team like Jackson Physician Search.  Our physician recruitment experts take the time to understand your needs, and our nationwide reach means that you will be exposed to the opportunities that provide you with the best fit for your future.

If you’re ready to get started, browse our current physician opportunities.

 

What Physicians Can Do to Avoid Burnout

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We have all experienced feelings of burnout at different points in our career, being overwhelmed, depressed, and other negative reactions to our work.  For our nation’s physicians, according to recent surveys, these feelings of burnout are pervasive and seemingly getting worse.  In fact, in a 2018 Medscape report, almost half of physicians surveyed reported suffering from symptoms of burnout.  When a doctor is suffering from burnout, naturally the quality of patient care suffers.

The reasons for a doctor feeling the effects of burnout vary between large systems and small and differ between specialties, but common themes exist when the causes are discussed.

  • Today’s physicians will almost unanimously assert that they spend far too much of their time performing clerical tasks. A time study sponsored by the American Medical Association showed that for every hour a physician spends with patients, they spend up to two hours creating notes, documenting phone calls, ordering tests, reviewing results, and other non-patient-facing functions.
  • Physicians feel disillusioned because other tasks take away from the reasons they went to medical school in the first place. You practice medicine because of your desire to treat and help patients.
  • The added burden of clerical tasks and non-patient related activities is causing doctors to spend too much time “off the clock” and on their own time performing documentary tasks. Physicians are losing control over their personal time with family and losing the battle for life-work balance.

The extent of physician burnout is well-documented.  Across the country, hospital system leaders are finally treating it as the challenge that has become.  Let’s look at a few ways that physicians can cope with feelings of burnout.

  1. Recognize the symptoms and admit when there is a problem. Physicians are often looked at as “Superman” and “Wonder Woman” because of their heroic efforts to save lives and the commitment they have made to years of education and residency to earn their place as healthcare professionals. It is important for doctors to recognize the signs of burnout and take action.
  2. Get involved. Modern healthcare system administrators, hospital executives, and others in the “C-Suite” recognize that there is a burnout problem and most are actively working on ways to solve the problem.  Be a part of the solution and lend your voice to potential solutions.  Physician burnout will never be solved in a vacuum, and it is too critical an issue to leave it for someone else to solve.
  3. Take vacation time. When the time rolls around for your vacation, a single week is not enough to recharge your batteries. Two weeks is a more appropriate amount of time to fully disconnect from the workplace and enjoy quality time with your loved ones. You might even have the option to take a sabbatical.
  4. Diet and exercise. Doctors spend a lot of time counseling their patients that the key to a healthier life is through diet and exercise. That is such good advice, medical professionals should heed it themselves.  Medical studies have shown regular exercise can reduce feelings of stress and depression.  Further, eating healthier and balanced meals will promote better energy and help maintain ideal body weight.
  5. Talk to a mentor. Having a mentor is advisable for every type of career.  After all, it is always helpful to talk to someone who may have experienced the same things or has navigated difficult times in their career. A mentor is someone who can be used as a sounding board for ideas or just be there to listen and interject sage advice.  Holding stress or feelings of burnout inside will cause those feelings to escalate talking about them with someone is always helpful.

Physician burnout is real and finding ways to alleviate the growing problem is a concern for the entire healthcare community.  Each organization needs to understand the levels of burnout being experienced by their teams and work to determine the root cause.  Developing new systems, redesigning clinical procedures, and improving the physician work environment is going to be a team effort.

How to Make Your Next Physician Practice Feel like a Vacation

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If that headline grabbed your attention, it’s likely that you are either on vacation or wish you were! By definition, vacation is the time you spend on travel or recreation – away from work. So, how is it possible to make your next physician practice feel like a vacation?

If you pick the right practice in the right place, it is possible to enjoy some of the feelings, sensations, and experiences you have on vacation on an everyday basis.

It takes a bit of personal introspection and a good guide who can help you align what makes you happy on vacation with a job that delivers those same satisfiers both within the practice and outside of work.

First, take inventory of what you love about vacation (other than not being at work)!

  • Time: How do you spend your time on vacation? Do you plan to see, do or learn new things? Do you enroll in a course or take on a project? Do you recharge through reading, contemplation or the fine art of “doing nothing”?
  • People: Describe the energy you get from the people you are around when vacationing. Do you find solitude restorative, or do you enjoy traveling with a group? If you have a family, what are things you do together, and how do you like to spend any alone time?
  • Surroundings: What are the must-haves for your vacation destinations? Do they include access to water and mountains, or nightlife and culture? Do you relish challenging exercise or spa treatments? Are you all-in for local cuisine, history and notable sites? Maybe there is a hobby or special interest at the top of your list.

Next, explore how a potential practice opportunity and community align not only with “Dr. You,” but also with “Vacation You.”

Do not be afraid to ask your recruiter lots of questions. They understand that your medical skills – which can be applied in nearly any setting – are in high demand. Their goal is to differentiate each opportunity by showing you how they can meet your goals for quality of practice and quality of life.

Give them plenty of insight about your priorities so that they can customize the schedule for your interview. You will need ample opportunity to see how the amenities and culture – of both the organization and the community – will contribute to your overall work/life experience. Remember, you want to see and hear about the things that will evoke the same energy you feel on vacation.

Is the practice team-based or mostly autonomous? What group activities or committees are part of the job? Is time available for research, continuing education, medical missions or sabbaticals?

Does the facility offer yoga class, hiking trails, a meditation garden or gym? If there is onsite daycare, you may be able to drop in for lunch or special activities with your children. Do colleagues and their families enjoy any similar hobbies and interests as you and your family?

The U.S. is full of best-kept secrets. Some may be minutes away from fishing, horse trails, wineries or water sports that you normally must wait to enjoy on vacation. There may be fabulous dining and entertainment nearby that will make weekends special, or enough local history to allow you to be a tourist in your own town.

When you identify the restorative aspects of vacation that are unique to you, the choice of practice opportunities will become clear. The sum of positive team dynamics, small daily pleasures, local amenities and weekend excursions will go a long way toward making work feel more like a vacation.

Jackson Physician Search recruiters personally visit their client’s location so they can help candidates accurately evaluate fit. If you want to know more about any of our physician opportunities, please contact us.

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JPS Recruiters Live: Deciphering Physician Compensation

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You can watch the recording of JPS Recruiters Live: Deciphering Physician Compensation on our Facebook page. (24 mins.)

If you are considering a job change or already interviewing, we can help you understand your compensation options.

When to Ask About Compensation

It’s important to know when to talk about compensation and what to ask. Wait until after a successful site visit to start talking about compensation. Ask what the employment model is. That will have a significant impact on taxes and benefits.

Guaranteed Salary

Then ask what the initial guaranteed salary is. Generally, the initial term is 1-3 years. In some cases, the term is negotiable, but be careful when negotiating. Asking for a shorter term may give the employer the impression that you are a job hopper.

Compensation Formula

After negotiating your guaranteed salary, ask about the formula used for determining compensation. This is usually productivity based. Meaning, you are going to earn to the level that you produce. Many factors come into play when employers calculate compensation. Percentage of collections or using an RVU model are common options. MGMA is the most common survey employers use to determine their compensation package. More saturated markets, like metropolitan areas, may pay less than rural areas. You can use our Salary Calculator to get a good idea of what to expect.

RVUs

There are some questions you should ask if your compensation or bonuses are RVU based. Your RVU threshold is specific to your base salary and should follow MGMA guidelines. Employers can interpret MGMA information in different ways. They may look at nation numbers or regional numbers, so ask about it. You should also ask what your dollar per RVU will be if you exceed the threshold.

Bonuses

Now that you have discussed your main compensation, it’s time to inquire about bonuses. Bonuses may or may not be available during the initial term of your contract. They are either productivity or quality based. Like your compensation, the basis of your bonus depends on many factors. Payer mix, overhead expenses, the percentage of self-payed patients, and RVU are examples.

Quality Bonuses

Quality bonuses are becoming more common. Quality of care is important to patients, physicians, and administration. Ask how you earn the quality bonus. Is it tied to patient satisfaction, throughput time, or paperwork completion? You should also ask what percentage of employees are earning the quality bonus. This will help you understand if it is attainable. The last question to ask about bonuses is, are they paid out quarterly or once a year?

Long-Term Earning Potential

Finally, ask about the level of productivity you’ll need to have to maintain your income. Another way of asking this question is asking about your long-term earning potential. You can also ask what you should expect once you’re established and how long it takes to get established.

Perks

Added to your compensation and bonuses, you might get offered perks. Don’t expect perks, but if you are considering several options, they are worth exploring. There might be a signing bonus in your offer. If you received an offer and it doesn’t include a signing bonus, you could ask. You should never ask about a signing bonus before receiving an offer. Your offer might include a commencement bonus instead of a signing bonus. You get a commencement bonus on the day you start your employment instead of the day you sign. Retention bonuses are becoming more common. A smaller signing bonus is paired with a retention bonus. They are rewarded for a re-commitment after your initial contract ends.

Relocation stipends are also becoming more common. The amount might be negotiable, and the payouts can vary. Requirements for receiving the stipend can be restrictive. Make sure you understand what it takes to receive the stipend before making arrangements.  Residents and fellows can get education stipends usually one or two years in advance of their employment. Another useful perk for younger physicians is student loan repayment. This perk can come from the employer or from an outside source. If coming from an outside source, you may have to apply. Check the amount of reimbursement you qualify for, what the term is, and what the forgiveness period is.

Benefits

Depending on your employment model you may or may not be eligible for benefits. Benefits can include malpractice coverage, paid time off (PTO), retirement, health insurance, a car allowance, or housing stipend. If offered malpractice insurance, the carrier and policy details will already be established. You should still take time to understand your coverage, what happens if a suit is filed, and what happens when you leave. PTO may or may not be negotiable and is generally 3-4 weeks. You’ll want to ask if that includes sick days, vacation, and CME days. Retirement benefits come in three main forms, a pension, 401k, or 403b. These depend on the employer, whether they are government, private, or non-profit. A car allowance might be available if you’re traveling to many facilities. Housing stipends are rare. They usually depend on housing limitations or distance from facility requirements.

Receiving an Offer

You will either get a letter of intent or a contract. A letter of intent is an outline of the offer. If you are unsure of any part of your contract you should contact an attorney. Take note, not all attorneys are familiar with physician employment agreements. Choose an attorney that is knowledgeable and can commit to a turnaround time that suits your needs. It is also beneficial to meet with an accountant to understand your tax burden and options. Once you sign a contract get a copy for your records.

If you want more help deciphering physician compensation, you can connect with Christen Wrensen on LinkedIn.

Career Paths for Physicians

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In the past, when students graduated with their medical degree, they applied for their medical license and began a long career of seeing patients.  Today, for most physicians their main focus is patient care but many physicians are starting to look at other ways they can apply their skills and expertise.  Let’s examine some of the many career paths for physicians.

Business and Leadership

According to Dr. Maria Chandler, the president of the Association of MD/MBA Programs, more than 50% of our nation’s medical schools are offering a joint MD/MBA degree.  Additionally, the trend among currently practicing physicians is returning to school to pursue their MBA.  As the business side of healthcare becomes more complex, having an MBA provides a unique perspective for seeing the entire healthcare process through a lens of efficiency, cost, and quality.  Another option for physicians with an MBA is working on the management side of healthcare.  Many within the healthcare industry believe that the more physicians get involved with every level of leadership and management, the better. Returning to school isn’t the only option for physician leaders.  There are organizations like the American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) that offer resources, training, and networking opportunities for physicians who want to become leaders.

Research 

Students who specifically pursue a career in medical research will maximize their research experiences while in medical school.  However, practicing physicians who are interested can prepare by getting involved in research projects or participating in some form of structured research experience.  Physician-researchers can work on clinical research trials, laboratory science or health services research.  Work settings might include academic medical centers, pharmaceutical organizations, or even the government.

Teaching 

Another career path for consideration is teaching future physicians or other healthcare professionals.  Teaching can include anything from basic sciences in the early years of medical studies to teaching actual clinical skills to third-and fourth-year medical students.  Other teaching opportunities can include training residents in their specialty, supervising research projects, or teaching physician assistants and nurses.

Insurance medicine

For physicians looking to make a change in their medical career may choose to pursue opportunities in the insurance industry.  These jobs will provide trained medical professionals with regular work schedules and less stress than you would find treating patients.  The work setting for this type of career is to review medical claims and determine the validity of the claim and treatment plans for the claimants. Another responsibility is to represent the insurance company involved in litigation by presenting medical opinion as a special witness or expert.  A smaller number of physicians are taking the opposite approach to this career path by returning to school for their law degree and building a new career practicing medical law by representing aggrieved patients.

Additional Career Paths for Physicians

There are plentiful options for physicians who want to utilize their medical degree but are looking at making changes designed to improve their work-life balance.  Physicians who have a passion for writing can pursue medical journalism, clinical report writing, or taking on editorial duties at healthcare or pharmaceutical companies.  Occupational medicine is a field where physicians can put their knowledge and training into helping companies prevent workplace injuries and illness.

There is no shortage of career paths for physicians to pursue, whether fresh out of medical school or ten years into their professional practice.  Some opportunities require an additional commitment to education like an MBA, law degree, or some other specialized qualifications, but the foundation of your medical degree can lead you anywhere.

If you are interested in exploring new opportunities, contact a Jackson Physician Search recruitment professional today.