How to help a doctor in their first job hunt?
August 7, 2018 11:22 AM   Subscribe

What are some good tools and resources for doctors hunting for their first job out of residency?

My fiancée is about to finish residency in EM, and is therefore starting her first ever real job hunt. I want to help her through this process, but most of my own job-hunting expertise is more focused in tech. Some of the knowledge translates, lots of it doesn't. I'd be happy to either get personal experience/tips or links to places where I could find this kind of information (I've googled, but I think I'm missing lots of terms of art, and I don't want to grill her on this because I'd like to bring information to the table without her having to walk me through everything).

Things I'm looking for include:
  • Where to find doctor positions outside of one's own personal network, including websites or other sources for listings
  • How to evaluate MD job listings, including malpractice insurance details
  • How to evaluate MD contracts/common contractual gotchas
  • How much negotiation is realistic to expect and how much actual effect negotiation can have in MD contracts
  • How to weight/evaluate fellowship opportunities vs. large corporate practices vs. private practices vs. independent contractor status
  • Other things that are important in this particular process? This is where I start to get hazy about what are my unknown unknowns.
Some other potentially useful information about her preferences:
  • Strong preference for social EM/working on public health policy
  • Preference towards teaching opportunities/working with residents
  • Some interest in administration
I've gathered that, based on where she's in residency, she should have a very wide variety of options available to her, so this is mostly about how we start to whittle down that list of opportunities into something more manageable.
posted by protocoach to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, JAMA has job listings. Is she looking for a job in the US?
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 12:07 PM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

You might look for places that offer "Emergency Medicine Fellowships". I don't think your fiancée needs a fellowship, but going to work somewhere that offers EM Fellowships will mean that there are teaching/administration opportunities.
posted by gregr at 12:16 PM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

She is looking for work in the US. Sorry, should have clarified location. We're in Chicago now, and she's open to moving for work.
posted by protocoach at 12:25 PM on August 7, 2018

Is she looking academic? My specialty and subspecialty societies have job boards, geared mostly academic but with private practice/community options as well. You need to be a member to view jobs/set alerts. ACEP's equivalent seems to be; I have no idea how accurate/good that is. However, asking her network (her attendings, previously graduated residents) for leads is probably going to be her best bet. Part of her program director's role is to help her find a job, so I'd start with asking them, or any other attendings she feels comfortable with. So with the caveat that I don't know the EM world at all....

Before her first interview, she should look at the most recent AAMC Faculty Salary Survey (if academic) or the MGMA (if PP). I'm only familiar with the AAMC survey, but I believe the MGMA is similar, just lots more $ (I didn't want to look at it because I was afraid I would weep). Should be available in the medical school library and lists the 25th/50th/75th percentile by specialty/academic rank/region. Useful to calibrate your expectations.

The gender pay gap in medicine is significant, about $17,000 according to this study. She should be prepared to be low-balled, and she should prepare to negotiate. If her institution offers any negotiation seminars, she should go to them. She should know the data (AAMC/MGMA) and she should know what she brings to the table. Read Getting to Yes, which has a slightly hokey title/hokey examples, but is an excellent way to put yourself in the mindset of approaching what is likely the first significant negotiation in her career. A good chair will want to get you whatever it is you need to succeed and be happy.

The only contractual gotcha you guys should be aware of is non-compete agreements. They can be really broad, as in "You can't work at any place within 50 miles of any of our centers" and then your medical center eats up every other place in the state so you are basically working for them or moving out of state. This happens more than you think. An institution that is buying other institutions is financially healthy, but they can also monopolize an entire region pretty damn quick.

Also, details about being on call. If it's not in the offer letter, it's not happening.

Malpractice is usually boilerplate. Look for a place that has tail coverage (which means that after you leave, your now-former employer agrees to cover malpractice for any case that you participated in while you were there, up to the statute of limitations). If no tail, you have to convince the new employer to cover your old work (which many balk at, understandably), or cover it yourself (which is pricey). But again, that's just whatever their boilerplate policy is, I'm not sure how easy it would be to create an exception for you.

Good luck to her! It's a stressful process.
posted by basalganglia at 1:10 PM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh also: if she is interested in public health policy/outreach/the social aspects of EM, she could try to negotiate coverage for an MPH into the contract. Having the degree gives you the knowledge but also the credibility to administrators when you're talking about planning a new outreach program, etc. I know several people who negotiated to have a masters degree (MPH, MPP, MEd) incorporated into their faculty contract. It can mean some extra juggling in terms of ED shifts vs classes, but is totally do-able if there's a local school or if there is a quality executive/online type program. One ED attending I know was commuting cross-country on a weekly basis for her in-person Masters degree, which was frankly insane.
posted by basalganglia at 2:27 PM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I can't answer the question about where to look for employment. You've already gotten great advice above.

In addition, I highly recommend the Physician Employment Contract Guide from the American College of Physicians. I'm using it as a guide for offering employment but it's geared even more toward a physician seeking employment. Good stuff.
posted by 6thsense at 6:07 AM on August 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

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