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Healthcare Career Resources

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  • Michael Jones
  • January 09, 2019 02:18:33 PM
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A Little About Us

Healthcare Career Resources is a blog for those who work in the healthcare industry. We cover topics ranging from current events to medical humor as well as more career focused topics such as job search and interview tips. We also publish articles written for healthcare human resources and physician recruiters.

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    Turning Your Current Job Into Your Dream Job

    Medicine is both a calling and a career. Physicians deserve to be supported while providing critical care to our patients. By finding ways to maximize satisfaction in our current jobs, we cultivate the energy to move our careers—and medicine— forward. Take stock of your own career to find what resources are already available to you to draw you closer to your dream...

    Michal Hubka/123RF.com

    In medicine— as in other areas of life— the next best thing seems just around the next corner, whether it’s the next best diagnostic test, surgical equipment, or electronic medical record. As a result, we can feel as though we are missing out on the next best opportunity when we stay too long in a particular job.

    Comparing your medical career to former co-residents, medical school classmates, or a certain prolific physician on social media can stoke the fires of career self-doubt and even exacerbate feelings of burn-out. That’s because research indicates that job dissatisfaction is associated with an increase in both physician job turnover and physicians leaving the medical profession. Rather than succumb to the vicious cycle of low satisfaction, burnout, and stress, read on to find some tips on making the most of the job you have now while building your dream job of the future.

     

    Use available resources to stay ahead

    Often, we feel that the only way to prove our professional grit is by staying busy and producing (often via RVUs) the number of patient visits or surgeries performed. Doctors are notorious not only for reneging vacation days but also for missing out on educational opportunities in favor of spending long hours at work.

    As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder.” Taking advantage of yearly CME allowances to go to medical conferences or purchasing the latest up-to-date series to keep abreast of innovations in your field is critical for excellent patient care. Physicians can also think outside the box— CME monies can be used towards a range of educational opportunities, whether you choose to obtain certification in pain management or dive into business courses for physicians. Even if you’re not sure the educational activity is covered, it never hurts to ask!

    Every year, physicians waste these opportunities, assuming that there just isn’t enough time. Instead, make a pact with your colleagues to support each other in attending medical conferences or band together to purchase a particular educational program for your group. Negotiate for these non-monetary benefits if your employer does not offer them by reminding your group or hospital that fostering your professional growth is not only good for your career but also for the bottom line.

     

    Network, network, network!

    Physicians have a robust network; we have to remember to maintain and use it! From former classmates, co-residents, and fellows, to colleagues and the more senior physicians that trained us, we have a diversity of individuals who can offer advice, caution, and support during our career trajectory.

    Just as senior physicians can help provide guidance for career goals, mid-career physicians shouldn’t forget to pay it forward by reaching out to younger physicians seeking guidance. While physicians who have finished training may romanticize training as a period of unsurpassed professional comradery and intellectual growth, it’s crucial to remember that regardless of our current position, the opportunities for professional collaboration are easily available, if only we reach for them!

    We can commit to regularly show up to the local ground rounds, join (and participate) in the Facebook group for our specialty, or reach out to our medical network for professional advice or support. Not only can we ask our network about a challenging medical case, but we can also reach out to discuss a professional impasse or foible. These offerings often lead to choruses of “me too” and great insight from a range of voices who have walked down the same professional road and emerged a little wiser.

    These interactions build a supportive social network that can help buoy us through difficult career patches. Within this, not only do we gain personal benefit, but we can help uplift another physician who may be experiencing similar professional struggles.

     

    Record your wins

    We are our own best advocates. While great physicians are often a part of a great team, promoting our individual professional success does not have to take away from the team effort. By acknowledging our professional successes, we are aligning our work ethic with our professional results and providing permission for other physicians who may feel undervalued to do the same.

    A simple way to advocate for yourself is by keeping detailed records of your professional accomplishments. Metrics such as on-time clinic appointments and OR cases, publications or positive patient reviews are useful indicators of your work ethic. Physicians should evaluate these metrics regularly as a form of self-evaluation while preemptively managing clinical inefficiencies or mediocre patient experiences. If possible, automate this information: compile online patient reviews or obtain monthly reimbursements from the billing department. Having these numbers at your fingertips provides the feedback you need to evaluate your professional output—and the data you need to show your professional accomplishments to your employer.

     

    Gratitude first

    While it goes without saying, practicing gratitude is essential to enjoying our physician jobs— dream or otherwise. While your current position may not be perfect, as physicians we have the privilege to care for patients at their most vulnerable by offering the priceless gift of health. Our patients are often extremely grateful, and we should take immense pride in the work we do.

    With this lens of gratitude, physicians can strive to tackle areas for professional improvement with a positive and energized attitude. We can frame our desire for a job change, not only through its improvement in our personal career but also by its impact on the care of our patients, the propulsion of medical knowledge, and ultimately to reveal the purpose of our life’s work.

    While these goals may seem overly laudable when we are dealing with inefficiencies in EMR, microaggressions or bureaucracy, the vantage point of gratitude lessens the toils these daily annoyances put on our psyche. Keeping a patient’s heartfelt thank you card or a note from your younger self about your dreams for your medical career can be a helpful reminder of why you do what you do.

     

    Supported physicians support medicine

    Medicine is both a calling and a career. Physicians deserve to be supported while providing critical care to our patients. By finding ways to maximize satisfaction in our current jobs, we cultivate the energy to move our careers—and medicine— forward. Take stock of your own career to find what resources are already available to you to draw you closer to your dream job!


    The Secret Perks of Night Shifts

    For those of us who dread night shifts, find them disruptive, and resent the people who schedule us—we need to learn from those who do it by choice. Medicine is a 24/7 industry that we signed up for. By adopting the philosophy of night workers, we can change our perspective and maybe enjoy our night experiences a little...

    A night shift physician enjoying a coffee break
    Elnur Amikishiyev/123RF.com

    Enjoying nights at the hospital is a matter of perspective

    It’s four o’clock in the morning.

    You’re sharing popcorn with co-workers from an emesis basin. You rewarm coffee that was too thick and bitter the first time around. A group of nurses are laughing at something on someone’s phone, doctors are shopping online. The patients have finally fallen asleep, and you’re waiting for the day shift to roll in so you can go home.

    Nights at the hospital are a different experience.

    Whatever your role in medicine, at some point you’ll find yourself at the hospital in the middle of the night. You’ll wonder how this happened, what “normal people” are doing, and why anyone would ever choose to work nights.

    But some people love working nights and wouldn’t have it any other way. They find the day shift busy, too high-strung or too regimented. Night, they argue, is simply a better time to work.

    For those of us who dread night shifts, find them disruptive, and resent the people who schedule us—we need to learn from those who do it by choice. Medicine is a 24/7 industry that we signed up for. By adopting the philosophy of night workers, we can change our perspective and maybe enjoy our night experiences a little more.

    True independence

    When you work nights, you have a beer while normal people eat cereal. You read romance novels at 3:00 A.M. while other people are sleeping. Others are leaving for work; you’re just getting tucked in.

    The flight leaves at 7:00 A.M.? Perfect! Board, nap and wake up in London, ready for the day.

    Working nights gives independence; you are truly on your own schedule. 

    This is guilt-free independence. Friends give you a pass for “doing your own thing” in a way they never do for those with normal schedules. People pity night workers; they categorically perceive your schedule as torture. If you miss the social event or can’t make the party, it’s fine—you work nights! 

    Night shifts allow you to move at your own pace, on your own terms.

    No crowds

    There is nothing more peaceful and welcoming than an empty grocery store.

    There is no competition as you select the perfect bunch of bananas. You hear the meat being cut and the aisles being stocked. You needn’t slalom your cart between people to secure the last uncrushed bag of ramen. It’s an open store, just for you. The most difficult choice is which cashier to use, as all check-out lines are available.

    It’s heaven’s take on getting groceries.

    Holiday shopping, museums, restaurants, the gym—all of your usual errands are done in off-hours. Everyone else is at work, and you’re enjoying the free samples at the mall.

    It is bliss.

    You don’t really appreciate this until you flip back to days and re-enter the normal fray. Once you have to elbow your way up to the bananas again, you’ll miss the solitude of empty Wednesday mornings. As you collect the tiny fragments of broken ramen, you will find yourself craving nights.

    Night shifts give you access to a peaceful world.

    Time alone

    If you’ve been jet lagged, you know the experience: You’re trying to get back to your normal schedule and find yourself wide awake at 2:00 A.M. You need to sleep, but you’re not tired.

    This experience is initially irritating. You feel like it’s too early to get up, but you’re too awake to just lie in bed. But if you work nights long enough, you start to recognize this experience as an opportunity. You’re not going to fall back asleep, so you might as well get up and do stuff completely undisturbed. 

    This is an ideal situation for people who need time to themselves. What do you want to do more of but can’t seem to get done in a day? Write? Read? Exercise? Meditate? Watch cat videos?

    Do you want your family to wake up to a wonderful breakfast?

    Whatever you want to work on, you now have hours to do it.

    The morning is yours!

    Interesting people

    People who work nights and patients who come to a hospital at night are a little more colorful.

    Workers on the night shift are less inhibited. There’s a laxity to them, coolness. They’re used to their own schedule. They value freedom and get things done on their own time. Working at night means they have fewer resources at their disposal—they have to be more independent and resilient.

    It’s a little more rugged.

    The patients that come in at night are also more interesting. If they come in for traditional reasons, they tend to be a little sicker. And if they come in for non-traditional reasons, they often give you the stories you’ll be repeating for years to come.

    The unusual can happen at any time in a hospital, but if you work at night, you’re much more likely to see it.

    Better vibe

    Days wind up. Nights wind down.

    If you work during the day, you experience patient volumes increasing throughout your shift. Patients arrive in the morning and come in throughout the day until after their work ends.

    Hospital staff tries to complete their work before their shift ends—clinics, procedures, surgeries—no one wants to be there late. The busyness persists throughout the day.

    When you work nights, your shift starts when the busyness is in full effect. But then clinics close, procedures are completed, and people wind down for the night, awaiting the next morning. There comes a point in the middle of the night where the patient flow becomes a trickle, loose ends are tied up, and things are left tidier than how they were found.

    An empty waiting room – all of the patients on the floor are asleep and quiet, everyone’s been admitted.

    There’s an endpoint at night. This gives the nightshift something to look forward to—a sense of completion.

    Administration is rare during nights as well. No one is looking over your shoulder at 3:00 A.M. No local administration, no Joint Commission, no fire marshal, no surprise visits from governmental bodies.

    Hospital accreditation is a priority, but not a middle of the night kind of priority. 

    The freedom experienced during the night shift allows for a much calmer environment.

    Medicine is an around-the-clock industry. It needs people who can support it in the middle of the night. When that’s you, remember: some people love nights—integrate a little of what they love about nights into your experience.

    Enjoying nights is a matter of perspective.


    Healthcare Providers: How to Deal With a Mistake at Work

    The key, when you do make an error, is how you respond to your mistake, as this often has more of an impact on those around you and their perception of you than the mistake itself.

    A group of healthcare providers discussing a recent error in patient care.
    langstrup/123RF.com

    When you make a mistake at work, it can definitely be a stressful time! Making a mistake can have consequences that could range from people losing confidence in you to endangering your job. While making a mistake can seem very bad at the time, it is an opportunity to better yourself and improve how you are perceived. The key, when you do make an error, is how you respond to your mistake, as this often has more of an impact on those around you and their perception of you than the mistake itself.

     

    Admit Your Mistake 

    No matter how badly you messed up, you should always admit your mistake. Admitting your mistake is not only the right thing to do, but when your mistake is discovered, it will reflect very poorly on you if it appears that you tried to hide it. While some mistakes may seem like they can be hidden without others knowing about them, any mistake can be discovered somehow.

    One of the fears that employees feel when admitting to an error is that they will be punished. Your boss should ideally be interested in growing you as a professional and helping you to develop your career. While every mistake will have some kind of consequence, your boss should be interested in helping you grow and develop. If your employer is more interested in punishing you for a mistake, it may be an indicator that you should be seeking opportunities with an employer who is more interested in growing their employees.

     

    Create an Improvement Plan

    When you admit your mistake to your bosses, ideally, you should also tell them what you learned from your mistake and present them with a plan to avoid similar mistakes in the future. You should also ask your employer for input in improving your performance to help avoid future mistakes. By creating a plan yourself, you show initiative and a serious desire to do better in the future. You also help set the tone for interactions related to the mistake by showing that you are focused on improvement, and this can help your superiors to be in that mindset moving forward.

    Creating an improvement plan should be proportionate to the mistake. Having a big meeting with your boss and going over your plan for improvement could be unhelpful if the mistake was a more minor error, like double-booking a meeting. For a larger error, such as one that creates a possibility of harm or causes a large expense, a meeting and improvement plan can be helpful.

     

    Accept Full Responsibility

    No one likes someone who admits to the mistake, but then tries to make excuses or blame others for the mistake. Taking full responsibility for your mistake shows that you have the character to accept the responsibility for your actions. This is especially important if you are in a position of leadership. Leaders are responsible for the mistakes that those under them make and trying to blame your subordinates will only hurt your reputation as a leader.

    If there are circumstances that contributed to your mistake, there is nothing wrong with pointing out those circumstances. Be sure, however, that you do not appear to be making excuses. If pointing out contributing circumstances may seem to be making excuses, be sure to clarify that you are taking full responsibility and not making excuses for yourself.

     

    Apologize (Once)

    Admitting your mistake and accepting responsibility for it is not the same as apologizing. Apologizing enables you to express that you are personally sorry that the mistake occurred and helps your boss to understand that you are regretful that you made a mistake and understand the way that it impacted your organization. While apologizing is necessary and recommended, you should also avoid over-apologizing. Once you have apologized, the incident should be behind you and everyone else. Continuing to apologize or beat yourself up will only continue to draw attention to the mistake and engrain it in the minds of those around you. A good team and boss should let the mistake go after you apologize and not continue to bring it up.

     

    Fix It 

    While not every mistake can be fixed, you should go out of your way to fix the mistake as much as possible. People pay much more attention to your actions than they do your words. Failing to take the actions needed to at least reduce the effects of your mistake can show that you are not truly sorry or committed to improving yourself in the long-term. By doing everything you can to fix your mistake or reduce its effects, you will show that you are a committed member of your team and are truly focused on your professional growth.

     

    How you respond to your mistakes will have a great influence on how you are perceived as an employee and as a part of your team. Responding correctly by accepting responsibility, apologizing, and attempting to correct your mistake will help you to succeed in your job.


    Healthcare Recruiter and Candidate Boot Camp: Communication 101

    Recruiter/candidate miscommunication is usually due to shifts in priorities, inattention to detail, or adding a third person into the lines of communication. Most of the time miscommunication is not intentionally hurtful or rude. Use the right communication tools at the right time. Your method of communication should help – not hinder – the context and intent of your...

    Kids play "telephone" symbolizing communication problems that can occur during a job search or hiring effort
    stylephotographs/123RF.com

    We all played this game as kids: a short phrase is whispered from one person to the next. The last person says the phrase as she or he understood it. And the end message? It bears no resemblance to the phrase that started the game. Miscommunication between recruiters and candidates can sometimes feel like the whisper game. Picture a recruiter who spoke once with a hot prospect and then emailed and texted her over this past week.  After further vetting, the recruiter determines the candidate is not a fit and moves her off her priority action list. The recruiter doesn’t relay this decision to the candidate for days or even weeks. From the candidate’s perspective, constant contact and access to a promising job opportunity suddenly turns into ghosting. Best practices in communication between recruiters and candidates boils down to basic rules of civility. Recruiters should implement and model these best practices in workforce communication with and for new candidates.

    Phone It In – Or Not!

    Social media messaging platforms have made real-time communication easy. But these platforms don’t convey nuance and tone, and important verbal cues go to the wayside. There’s nothing worse than falling down an email-thread rabbit hole when a phone call can provide answers in three minutes. Recruiters, open up lines of communication while introducing yourself and your hospital through a brief but thoughtful phone call. Messaging platforms are great for coordinating plans for a call or Zoom for sharing quick feedback or brief follow-up and next steps. If you’re comfortable working with social media platforms, you can defer to the candidate on which one he or she prefers you use. With COVID-19, it is possible that for the candidate and recruitment team safety, interview and site visits may need to be handled virtually via Zoom or similar platforms.

    Email Hacks

    Recruiters, you are slammed at work and could use some life hacks. Frequently used email phrases can be set up in Outlook as “Quick Parts,” making candidate contact quick and easy. Gmail has a similar option called “Canned Responses.” Too often a hot candidate goes cold because there are days between her/his outreach to you and yours back. No excuses for missed connections with a candidate match! Candidates, you can also use these tools to provide a quick response like “Please remove me from consideration as needs have changed.” Better to send a quick email than avoiding phone calls, texts, or emails from a recruiter with whom you have been in contact. Ideally if a candidate has gone far down the path of considering an opportunity, a phone call or at the very least a thoughtful “thank you/no thank you” email would be appropriate.

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    Recent data from an American Medical Association (AMA) survey shows that close to half of physicians ending residency received at least one hundred unsolicited calls, texts and other outreach related to employment opportunities. If you are a candidate, expect this outreach to start in your intern year. Don’t feel guilted into responding to these pitches. Savvy candidates set up a job opportunity email address, so they don’t drown in recruiter pitches to their personal or work email. Make sure to use that email address on your CV. With a dedicated opportunity email, candidates can quickly review opportunities in one place and determine next steps.

    For recruiters, the scattershot communication approach highlighted by AMA is mostly ineffective. It may result in unfavorable internet reviews and negative communication about your organization, including negative social media posts. Recruiters should make initial candidate contact during normal business hours. Once you begin a dialogue, request the best times to call and be flexible with availability whenever possible, especially considering COVID-19 impacts to healthcare workers and schedules. If the candidate would prefer one platform over another to communicate, be adaptable.

    The Good, the Bad, and the Left Out

    Both candidates and recruiters bring personal views and biases to the interview process. Don’t overlook or misrepresent negative, vague or missing information that will eventually be disclosed or discovered. Candidates who’ve been practicing for a while and have made numerous position changes for short term stints should be prepared to talk about that. Mentioning that you have a military spouse and have made some moves is explanation enough. Recruiters, if your placement opportunity is for a floater or locums’ positions, job changes may not raise a red flag. Recruiters should be forthcoming when presenting opportunities and be prepared to discuss any challenges. Mentioning the ways in which those challenges are currently being addressed will go a long way in building trust and rapport.

    The Devil’s in the Details

    What message is being communicated if a recruiter leaves most of candidate relations and communication to a gatekeeper? Details are critical to recruiter/candidate communication. This means that the recruiter should be heavily involved in candidate communications. New candidates, this goes for you, too. Despite your best intentions, having your spouse or partner contact a recruiter about a job opportunity may wind up frustrating the recruiter and the process. Unless your spouse is well-versed in your clinical expertise, expectations, and workplace culture needs, there will be miscommunications. At the very least, the spouse will come away from the call with a new list of questions to get answered by the candidate. From the recruiter’s perspective, the candidate will appear uninterested if she or he puts a spouse in charge of vetting opportunities and looking for a match. There are times when it’s appropriate for a recruiter to talk with a spouse or partner. The start of the candidate/recruiter relationship is not typically one of those times.

     

    Recruiter/candidate miscommunication is usually due to shifts in priorities, inattention to detail, or adding a third person into the lines of communication. Most of the time miscommunication is not intentionally hurtful or rude. What are the takeaways for recruiters and candidates? Clear communication travels directly between two people. Use the right communication tools at the right time. Finally, your method of communication should help – not hinder – the context and intent of your message.


    Side Hustles for Nurses

    Side hustles offer the chance to earn extra money, whether someone wants some extra spending money without having to pick up extra shifts or is trying to build another source of income. Nurses have the education and experience to participate and succeed in many side hustles in which others may not be able to be...

    A notebook with side hustle ideas
    Stanislau Valynkin/123RF.com

    Side hustles offer the chance to earn extra money, whether someone wants some extra spending money without having to pick up extra shifts or is trying to build another source of income. Nurses have the education and experience to participate and succeed in many side hustles in which others may not be able to be involved.

     

    Health Coaching

    Health coaches promote healthy lifestyles for those they coach. Nursing is an ideal background for this type of work, as they have a scientific-based understanding of what contributes to overall health, while maintaining a holistic overall view. Health coaching can be done through an employer or can be done by an individual. Health coaches can be generalists, promoting healthy lifestyles for everyone, or can be specialists, focusing on maintaining health while experiencing a particular medical condition.

     

    Part-Time Caregiver Jobs

    Part-time caregiver jobs provide nurses with side work caring for an individual who suffers from a chronic or end-stage condition and requires home nursing care. This is similar to home healthcare nursing, but instead of being visits arranged by an agency or employer, caregiving involves working with one or a few specific individuals on a more long-term basis. One of the appealing aspects of this job to some nurses is the ability to arrange their schedule and payment directly with the individual or his/her family.

     

    Blogging

    Blogging can be a very profitable side hustle for nurses, with some top nurse bloggers making over a million dollars a year. Blogging involves writing and publishing regular blog posts. Consistent and engaging content will create subscribers, allowing you to generate income through advertising or offering products. When blogging, nurses need to keep in mind not to divulge patient information or details that could allow people to identify whom they are writing about. Blogging is an appealing side hustle to many nurses because of the potential for it to grow into a significant source of income and because of the low initial costs.

     

    Freelance Writing

    Freelance writing involves writing medical content for others, typically businesses. This could be blogs, manuals, white papers, courses, or any other type of medical writing. Freelance writing has become easier to get into with sites such as Scripted, Upwork, and Fiver that connect freelance writers with potential clients. Medical freelance writing pay can vary, and some experienced writers may make up to $1 per word.

     

    Tutoring

    Experienced nurses are ideally situated to teach the next generation of nurses. Tutoring nursing students allows nurses to impact upcoming nurses while generating a side income. Tutors can make up to $60 an hour or more, depending on their level of nursing experience, education, and  teaching experience. Tutoring is great for nurses who love to teach and who want to help nursing students succeed.

     

    Expert Witness

    Expert witnesses are people who are considered experts in their profession and are willing to testify in court about the standard of care in medical malpractice cases. Many times in a civil case both the plaintiff and the defense will have expert witnesses who will provide an expert opinion to the court about what the professional medical standard of care should have been in a particular situation and if it was followed. While any nurse can serve as an expert witness, nurses who have more experience and more education will be seen as more credible and be more desired for this role. Nurses who work as an expert witness can make three to four times their clinical hourly rate.

     

    Small Business

    Nurses who are more committed to developing a side hustle as an alternative income source may start their own small business. Starting a business involves finding a service or product that you can sell. Nurses have invented and sold their own products or have found services that can use their skills and knowledge in new ways. Starting a business takes a lot of work but can provide a significant side income – and can even help nurses to become their own boss in the long term.

     

    Most side hustles in nursing take extra work and time to get into. Some nurses may use their side hustle to generate some extra spending money, while others may choose to become more involved and can eventually generate substantially more than they could practicing clinically. Regardless of how involved you are in a side hustle, it does offer an appealing freedom and income that makes it worth it to most nurses.


    Residency Training – A Final Year Timeline

    As July 1st rolls around yet again, another group of new interns will be starting in every residency program around the country. This time of year is important and symbolic for all residents because it represents their progression to the next year of training, and for the lucky seniors among us, it means that residency has finally come to an...

    Andrey Orlov/123RF.com

    As July 1st rolls around yet again, another group of new interns will be starting in every residency program around the country. This time of year is important and symbolic for all residents because it represents their progression to the next year of training, and for the lucky seniors amongst us, it means that residency has finally come to an end.

    As the famous saying goes, “The days were long, but the years were short,” and this applies to residency more than any other experience I can think of. Each day, week, month rotating through the requirements and taking call as a resident can feel like they drag on, and especially for junior residents, the hard work and hours put in feel never-ending. The good news is, however, it DOES end. And when you’re on the precipice of being a full-fledged attending (or, for some of us, a first-year fellow), looking back it all seems to have gone by so fast.

    For the rising chief and senior residents, this period is an especially important time, not just because of the responsibility of leading your fellow residents and representing the department within your institution. This period of time, when transitioning into final year of residency, is essential for starting to map out your timeline for the final year and planning what the “next step” will be.

    Presumably, by now, you have completed the “deep” thinking required in making the decision as to what general direction you would like to go when it comes to post-grad plans. Of note, this article is referring specifically to those residents who choose to stay in medicine following residency. However, it must also be said that a certain percentage of MD’s who finish residency do not go on to the clinical practice side of medicine. That will be covered in another article!

    Fellowship Training

    The main question all residents must ask themselves around their penultimate year in residency is: “Do I pursue fellowship and sub-specialize, or am I done training?” There is no right answer, and different paths are ideal for different physicians. If you decide to be finished and start out with your career (finally!) as an attending, congratulations! You chose a noble path. If you feel the need to further hone your focus and press the gas pedal on research and education, maybe fellowship is the right path, also noble.

    In general, the process for starting fellowship applications begins in the second-to-last year of residency. Due to the wide variety of specialties that offer multiple fellowships, it is best to refer to the main governing body for your specialty and click the “Education” link for more information about fellowships and the application process. Of note, in the US there are accredited and non-accredited fellowships. This is based the individual societies within a specialty that deem fellowships to be up-to-par with the standards for education and training. ACGME also accredits fellowships, and monitors/regulates said fellowships similarly to residency programs. The most important aspect of planning out fellowship application process is understanding what the exact deadlines are for your specific desired sub-specialty. Even within a specialty there can be (and often are) varying timelines for the application seasons, and one must be vigilant about this so as not to miss the opportunity. Similar to residency match, almost all fellowship programs operate via the ERAS application system, in conjunction with NRMP for the “match” process. Another important point for residents thinking about fellowship applications is to be communicative with your residency program director early-on, so that they can be aware of your likely upcoming need for PTO days for interviews.

    First Job Search

    For those residents who have decided to finish training and work as an attending physician following residency graduation, the transition into your final year of residency is also vital for embarking on the job-finding process. The market for new doctors is a hot one, but the job search can become frustratingly complex if one enters without knowing what you really want.

    The main divisions to think about when contemplating your future as a doctor will be: Do you want to work mostly in a hospital, or do you want to practice ambulatory medicine within the community? If you stick to hospital medicine, do you want to be in a teaching environment with residents and students, or somewhere where you call all of the shots?

    Do you want to be within the hustle-and-bustle of a city, or provide more suburban or even rural medicine? Family and personal factors aside, these questions will help you decide what type of practice or system you would like to focus on for employment.

    Before answering any of the (likely) many recruiting emails you are receiving, make sure you settle with yourself how you will answer these questions. Decide what is important to you going forward and how you would like the first few years out of residency to look. It’s OK if your priority is making a lot of money, or having an easier schedule, or avoiding any call. You’ve worked hard, and now is the time to name what you want so that people who are paid to find you a job can actually help you!

    By July of your final year in residency, you should also have your resume brushed up and dusted off. Utilize the guidance of professional mentors and your program director to help polish your resume until it shines. You’ve achieved a lot and need to make sure future employers know it!

    Similar to fellowship-seekers, make sure you tell the administration at your program you are beginning to look for jobs. Not only will this help in terms of obtaining PTO for interviews, but it will also help put feelers out for potential jobs within your own institution or within their (likely large) professional networks.

    The summer and early fall of this year will likely be the period when you will begin speaking to recruiters, practices, and hospital administrators about first interviews. If you’ve had your eye on a specific practice or hospital and haven’t heard much about job openings, it’s okay to call them directly and ask to speak with HR or even department chairs about potential job openings. Ask for “informational interviews” to learn more about an institution so that if a job does open up, they know you’re interested.

     

    Now that you’re prepped with your priorities, resume, and with time on your side, you can begin preparing for interview season whether that is for fellowship or for attending positions. We will discuss how to look your best and nail the interview in another blog post.

     


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