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7 Factors to Consider When Looking for a New Physician Job

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Before even starting on the path of looking for a new job, it is wise to invest your time in some deep self-reflection. If you’re already in the midst of the job search, taking the time to invest in introspection will pay dividends in the long run.

  1. What do you really want?

Fast forward 5 years. What would you want your career to look like at this point in time? Things to think about here are: level of autonomy, hours worked/week, patient population/setting. What priorities are important to consider outside of work? What career goals do you hope to have achieved by those 5 years? If these questions are difficult to answer, working with a career coach can be extremely helpful in providing clarity in your long term vision of your career.

  1. When has work not felt like work?

Have you had times in your career where the work you were doing didn’t feel like work at all? When have you felt guilty for getting paid for the work you were doing? This is the type of work you should do for your entire job, if possible. This is where you’ll be most fulfilled. Are there current physician positions that encompass that work? If not, could you create this position? The best career option will be found at the intersection of your passions and a means of compensation.

  1. What does your ideal day look like?

If you had a chance to design it, what happens in your ideal day? Envision it. Write it down. Share it with someone else. Then, ask about what a typical day looks like to other physicians who are in the setting you hope to move into.  When you are on your next interview, remember that this is your interview just as much as it is theirs. Discuss your ideal day activities with the interviewer. How much does the position match up with your ideal day?

  1. What is negotiable?

Have you thought through your list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”? What monetary or non-monetary benefits are on your wish list? Having a list of questions related to non-negotiables and negotiables will help you be prepared for the negotiation process. (note: For salary information, check out the Medscape Physician Compensation Report or the 2019 Doximity Physician Compensation Report.)

  1. What does work/life integration look like in a new role?

In an ideal world, how would your work integrate with the rest of your priorities? How does the organization promote Work-Life Balance? Talking with physicians who currently work for the employer you are considering will provide helpful insider information.

  1. What type of work environment are you looking for?

Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Whether or not you agree with his assessment, it is clear that culture plays an important factor in the workplace. A question I love to ask on interviews is “What do you love about coming to work every day?” This simple question can tell you so much about the work environment. Other questions you might ask are: How innovative is the work environment? How much collaboration or autonomy are you given in your role as a physician? What is the expectation when it comes to performance evaluation? Assessing your ‘fit’ in a new organization will be a helpful factor to consider in this process.

  1. What impact is the organization making in the world?

How is the organization working to positively impact patient care? What initiatives do they have to serve their community? What could you expect to be involved with that drives the purpose of the organization? A good first step is reviewing the mission, vision, and values of the organization to determine alignment with your own personal morals and values.

While many of the factors discussed require more self-driven actions, doing this important work will help you ultimately find a fulfilling job as a physician that doesn’t feel like work.

In your opinion, what are some other important factors to consider?

7 Factors to Consider When Looking for a New Physician Job
Jackie Boyle

Jackie is a full-time pharmacist and career coach at TheHappyPharmD, where she helps pharmacists live life by design. She loves her family, changing the world and the profession of pharmacy.