During the last year and a half, an increasing number of physicians are weighing their employment options. Many feel pushed to the brink due to the pandemic, and the idea of making a change that reduces physician burnout and increases work and life balance is more appealing than ever.
This trend was illuminated in a recent survey conducted by Jackson Physician Search and MGMA. In Getting Ahead of Physician Turnover in Medical Practices, 46% of doctors reported that they’d considered leaving to work for a new employer over the past year.
Why? The same survey shows that 61% of physicians are currently experiencing burnout. While this likely doesn’t come as a surprise, what did is the cause behind their burnout. Sixty-two percent of physicians said their burnout is caused by their current employer. And when asked about their level of satisfaction with their current employer, physicians rated themselves at a 5.5 on a scale of 0-10.
If this sounds familiar, you, too, may have decided to look for a new job and become part of the “Great Resignation.” Due to the competitive nature of the physician job market, it’s likely that you will receive more than one job offer, forcing you to choose between them.
Before you sign your next contract, here are six tips to help you compare each physician job offer. Whichever direction you decide to go, choosing a role that is professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling will play a big role in your future level of satisfaction.
1. Explore Your Why
It’s important to be clear on why you’re looking for a new job. Are you leaving your current role because it’s a less-than-ideal employment situation? Or, are you making a strategic advancement in your career? Or, maybe you’re ready to move closer to family. Whatever the reason, you don’t want to jump into a new setting without understanding the underlying factors of your current status. Think about what conditions will protect you from ending up in the same mental space a year or two down the road. Instead, do a deep dive into what you are looking for in a new position and document what really matters. Which role seems to align with your why?
2. Practice Location
You will have options available to you, so it is important to narrow down where you and your loved ones want to live. Is the variety and energy of a big city best for you, or the beauty and slower pace of small-town living? There are many things to consider, from schools, shopping, and recreation to finding the perfect neighborhood for your children to grow up in. Choose the role that most closely offers the lifestyle for which you and your family are looking.
3. Culture Fit
When you have an opportunity to interview with multiple organizations, you also have the chance to formulate an opinion about the variety of people who work there, as well as the way in which decisions are made. Having options means you can choose to work with other professionals who are more closely aligned with your beliefs and values. The best way to understand the organization’s culture is to speak with as many people as possible throughout the organization.
4. Practice Philosophy
In a 2019-20 Jackson Physician Search survey of physicians and administrators, there was a disconnect in how each group viewed autonomy. Over 43% of the physician respondents stated that autonomy and participatory decision-making were integral to organizational culture. The administrator respondents didn’t list either as a primary attribute of culture. Your practice philosophy is vital to you as an individual physician, and finding an organization where that won’t be compromised will likely be central to your job satisfaction.
In the most recent survey, two-way communication with management was listed as the most important factor of physicians’ level of satisfaction with their employer. Ask detailed questions to better understand the level of collaboration that exists between physician staff and administration, and choose accordingly.
5. Work/Life Balance
When you explored your “why,” did you place a premium on having more time for yourself and your family? When weighing competing job offers, factor in having a more flexible schedule, manageable call requirements, or even time for you to pursue other passions like research or volunteer opportunities. More control and certainty over how you spend your time will play a role in achieving much-needed balance in your life. Which role appears to provide its physicians with this?
6. Growth Opportunities
If you have aspirations toward physician leadership, make sure it is included in your negotiations with any potential employer. You are exploring new opportunities for a reason, making this the right time to ensure your future plans are being considered by any potential employers. When evaluating offers, you should think about your future self and which healthcare organization you can see yourself growing and advancing in.
By now, you have noticed that we did not single out the amount of money you will be making. Obviously, salary and compensation are always going to be a consideration, but it is essential to look beyond money as a deciding factor in choosing one job over another. Hopefully, when you looked inward to lay out the criteria for why you were ready to move on, there were enough reasons outside of money supporting your decision.
It is a physicians’ market, which puts you in the driver’s seat of choosing a job or practice setting that best suits your personal and professional aspirations. If you aren’t sure about how well you fit into the organizational culture, or the location does not meet the needs of your family, don’t settle. Take advantage of your strong position and find the job that checks nearly all of your boxes.
Jackson Physician Search has a team of experienced, healthcare industry professionals who can help find the right job opportunity for you. Whether you are actively searching for a new position or just want to see what is out there in your specialty, contact the Jackson Physician Search recruitment team today.
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