Following the Path to Physician Executive Jobs

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Most physicians thrive on challenges. Throughout undergrad, medical school, residency, and fellowship, they are striving to make good grades, impress their professor or attending physician, and acquire the knowledge and experience they need to move to the next level. When these hardworking physicians eventually complete their training and begin their first physician jobs, the need to achieve doesn’t fade away. It will likely be channeled into building a practice and/or amassing RVUs to meet productivity goals. Ambitious physicians will continue to find ways to impress leadership, win favor with patients, increase their earnings, and perhaps, take on more responsibility as a physician executive. If this describes you, you’ll want to keep reading for advice on how to prepare for physician executive jobs. 

The Path to Physician Executive

For most working professionals, the path to leadership involves climbing a fairly straightforward corporate ladder. You put in a few years as an associate and will eventually be promoted to manager. Do your time as a manager, and soon you’ll be on the path to becoming a director and eventually a VP. If you have an MBA (or earn it online after work), you may even make it to the C-suite. With each promotion, responsibility grows, and compensation increases.

For physicians, the path to leadership is not quite as clear, nor is it always quite as enticing. While a physician executive title holds some prestige, the notable challenges facing healthcare leaders today may discourage even the most driven physicians from pursuing this path. The fact that the path to becoming a physician leader is not well defined is also problematic. Even physicians who want to learn leadership skills and increase their knowledge of the business of healthcare don’t often receive this kind of training. In fact, according to a September MGMA Stat poll, just 53% of medical groups provide any type of management training to staff. 

The Need for Physician Executives

Despite the fact that half of medical groups don’t offer physician leadership training, organizations increasingly recognize the value that physicians bring to healthcare leadership roles and are hiring more physician executives. Physician leaders have firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing physicians and their patients. This empathy allows them to make decisions with an understanding of the organization’s goals, as well as the needs of physicians and patients. Their experience in both the business of healthcare and the delivery of patient care gives physician executives the ideal perspective from which to make decisions that impact the entire organization.

Physician executives may also serve as liaisons between providers and other administrators. In this role, physician executives have the potential to improve communication, which, according to a joint JPS-MGMA study, is a top desire of physicians and thus essential to mitigating physician burnout and increasing physician retention. 

Be Proactive in Your Own Development

If you are up for the challenge of physician leadership, don’t wait for a supervisor to approach you with a training manual. Even if your organization offers leadership development for physicians, you may need to use your voice to express your interest. You may begin by raising your hand to join committees and attend conferences. Offer to serve as a peer mentor to a new physician. Show yourself to be an engaged and helpful team member, then talk to your supervisor about your desire to lead and ask for his or her thoughts on the specific leadership skills you need to learn. 

According to Dirk Jansson, Director of Physician Executive Search at Jackson Physician Search, the most effective physician executives lead by example and have the respect of their peers. While he acknowledges that the role of physician executive is different for each organization, ideal candidates have certain soft skills in common. They have high emotional intelligence and are active listeners, good communicators, and excel at developing relationships. 

These types of skills aren’t covered in medical school and may not be innate to your personality, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be learned. If your employer does not offer a leadership development program, you’ll need to identify mentors who can help you learn those essential leadership skills. 

External Physician Executive Training 

Of course, leadership skills and business acumen can be acquired in other ways too. An increasing number of physicians are choosing to pursue an MHA or MBA–either in conjunction with an MD or after the fact. If you did not choose the former option, the availability of online graduate programs makes it possible to obtain an additional degree with minimal disruption to your practice. 

The American Association of Physician Leaders also serves as a valuable resource for current and future physician leaders. The organization is dedicated to preparing physicians to be influential and effective leaders. The AAPL offers a variety of self-study CME courses for physician leaders at every stage of their careers. Those completing the full curriculum are eligible to receive the Physician Executive Certification. Some classes may also count toward advanced degrees through partner universities. 

Get Involved

However you choose to pursue it, you will need a keen understanding of the business of healthcare if you hope to become a physician executive. Books, courses, and mentors can provide instruction and insight, but the best way to learn is to see it firsthand. Find ways to get involved in (or at least observe) the decision-making process at your organization. Ask questions to better understand the thought process leading up to specific changes in policy.

Healthcare organizations recognize the value of physician leaders, and most would prefer to promote from within rather than hire externally. So, even if your employer doesn’t specifically offer leadership training, you can easily make a case for why they should support you in your efforts to learn. By pursuing physician leadership skills, you can better serve the organization and the surrounding community. Not to mention you will be helping your employer build an internal pipeline of future physician leaders. 

Of course, if your employer simply cannot offer the professional development you need to put you on the path to a physician executive job, reach out to the Jackson Physician Search recruitment team today to inquire about opportunities that may be a better fit for your future goals. 

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6 Proactive Ways Physicians Can Improve Communication with Administrators

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Dr. P was eager to sit down with her supervisor for the first time in four months. Lately, she was lucky if their monthly one-on-one meetings occurred once per quarter–something always seemed to come up that caused them to cancel or push it out. Everyone was so busy that no one had time for development meetings, or anything else for that matter. This was precisely what Dr. P was hoping to discuss today, and yet, she found herself sitting quietly as her manager outlined the various ways physicians would need to continue to “step up” for their patients and the practice. Dr. P wanted to take care of her patients, but she also knew her current workload was unsustainable. She thought this meeting would be the right place to initiate the conversation, and yet, it was clear her supervisor was not ready to hear it.

If Dr. P’s situation sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Joint research from MGMA and Jackson Physician Search shows burnout is still on the rise, and while administrators are aware that it’s a problem, they have yet to find an effective way to solve it. This may be due to the fact that the issues physicians face are complex and there is no easy solution. However, one notable point from the research is the importance physicians place on two-way communication with management. One might assume that the need to be heard would be simple for employers to meet, and yet, just one in four physicians in the study said two-way communication at their organization is “very good” or “good.” If you would like to see two-way communication improve at your organization, you may need to proactively initiate new processes to give you and your peers what you need.  

Burnout Increasing But Better Communication Can Help

The comprehensive results of the aforementioned MGMA-JPS study are documented in the new whitepaper, Back from Burnout: Confronting the Post-Pandemic Physician Turnover Crisis.  The study explores how both physicians and medical group administrators perceive the current state of physician recruitment, engagement, retention, and burnout. According to the findings, more physicians report feeling burned out in 2022 than in 2021, and among those who say they are burned out, most feel their burnout is worse than it was last year. 

The rising statistics on burnout are bleak, however, the joint study also asked physicians to share what factors impact their job satisfaction. If administrators can improve in the areas most important to physicians, certainly this would positively impact burnout. So which factors do physicians say have the greatest impact on their job satisfaction? It may come as a surprise to some that the top factor was not compensation but two-way communication with management. Physicians want a relationship of trust, where they know how and when important decisions are being made and feel they have a voice in making them. 

How to Improve Communication at Your Organization

Much has been written for healthcare leaders on what they can do to improve communication with physicians, but what can physicians do to proactively work towards the same goal? The following ideas are starting points to help you reach out to leadership and establish new processes and expectations that will improve communication at your organization. 

Request regular one-on-one meetings with your manager. If regular meetings with your manager are not already on your calendar, it’s time to make this a priority. Most organizations recognize the need for monthly, one-on-one meetings, but all too often these are the first events to be rescheduled or canceled when conflicts arise. Be flexible when truly necessary, but make sure meetings are promptly rescheduled. 

Bring an agenda to meetings with management. Make sure your one-on-one meetings are productive by bringing an agenda to the meeting. Your manager may or may not have specific items to discuss, but by bringing a written list, you are indicating that you too have issues you want to address. Bonus points if you also bring potential proposed solutions to any problems you bring to light. 

Ask your manager to weigh in. Good managers will try to make themselves available and approachable to staff, so take advantage of those opportunities to make him or her aware of a specific issue you are dealing with and get an outside opinion. These more casual interactions can help your manager understand the issues you and your peers are facing and perhaps spark ideas on ways to provide more support. 

Be an active participant in meetings and huddles. While you don’t need to bring a written agenda to every gathering, do be an active listener and speak up to share your thoughts and ideas. Ask questions when appropriate and provide your input when the opportunity is right. 

Share successes and failures. If your manager has done a good job building an environment of trust, you will hopefully feel comfortable sharing both your wins and losses. This type of transparency is crucial for problem-solving and can help your manager better understand and empathize with your circumstances.

Speak as “I” not “we.” These proactive steps to improve communication will hopefully improve circumstances for your physician peers as well as for yourself. However, don’t make the mistake of speaking for the group unless you have been tasked to do so. In your discussions with management, make it clear that you represent yourself and your opinions only. This will prevent misunderstandings or confusion about how the group may or may not feel.  

Start With Better Communication

The challenge of beating physician burnout doesn’t have an easy solution, however, improving communication between physicians and management is an important part of improving overall circumstances for physicians. Most employers are well aware of the burnout epidemic and are taking steps to mitigate the problem for physicians. Physicians can take a proactive role in working to solve the issue, and they may start with these steps to improve communication with management:  prioritize one-on-one meetings, participate and ask questions, be transparent, share both good news and bad, and speak to your own opinions and circumstances, not the group’s. These actions can improve communication at your organization and ultimately serve to lessen burnout, not only for you but for your peers as well.  

Are you searching for a physician job with an employer that prioritizes two-way communication? The Recruitment Team at Jackson Physician Search can help you find a job with an employer whose values align with yours. Reach out to a Jackson Physician Search Recruiter today or search physician jobs online now.

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Beating Physician Burnout: 5 Things to Ask of Your Employer

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Physician burnout didn’t start with the COVID-19 pandemic, so perhaps it’s not surprising that even as we put the worst of the pandemic behind us, physician burnout shows no signs of subsiding. The latest findings in joint JPS-MGMA research point to a worsening of the burnout crisis and broader acknowledgment of it by healthcare leaders. Administrators want to mitigate the burnout felt by physicians, but according to the research, their attempts often go unnoticed by physicians and do little to solve the problem. What solutions are they trying? And what can you, the physician, ask of your employer that may decrease the levels of burnout at your organization? 

Physicians Report Increased Burnout, and Administrators Are More Aware of It

According to the JPS and MGMA whitepaper, Back from Burnout: Confronting the Post-Pandemic Physician Turnover Crisis, the percentage of physicians who say they are experiencing burnout rose four percentage points in the past year, from 61% in 2021 to 65% in 2022. Among those with burnout, 75% say their burnout has gotten worse in the past year. Administrators are increasingly aware of the problem. Their perceptions of physician burnout grew by five percentage points, from 68% in 2021 to 73% in 2022. 

Looking beyond the extent of burnout, the 2022 JPS-MGMA research also explores what physicians and administrators perceive to be the source of burnout. Is it the stressful nature of a physician’s job that causes burnout or the specific ways their employer runs the healthcare organization? Unsurprisingly, physicians were more likely than administrators to point to the employer as the source of burnout, as opposed to the nature of physicians’ work. Just 19% of administrators say the employer mostly causes burnout (over the nature of the job) while 40% of physicians point to the employer as the primary cause.

5 Things to Ask of Your Employer to Mitigate Burnout

If physicians believe their employers cause burnout, this implies there are specific things employers can do (or stop doing) to mitigate the problem. While these things may seem obvious to you, ongoing JPS research shows there is often a significant disconnect between how administrators and physicians see the same situation. It’s time to be proactive by having an honest conversation with your manager about the issues that you feel contribute to burnout and the potential ways your manager could solve or improve those issues. Each organization is different of course, but if the research is any indicator, you may want to start with the following topics: 

  1. Two-way communication with management — In the JPS-MGMA study, physicians report two-way communication with management as the top factor contributing to their work satisfaction — above compensation. This was also true for the previous year. This suggests management could make a significant impact with physicians simply by opening the lines of communication and providing more transparency. Give your manager specific examples of ways they might do this such as, attending regular one-on-one meetings with physicians, holding roundtables or town hall style meetings, and prioritizing transparency. It can also be enlightening to schedule time for administrators to shadow physicians and physicians to shadow management. Each party will gain insight into the daily challenges the other faces and can discuss those issues from a place of empathy. 
  2. Workload equity — Whether in the home, the office, or the hospital, no one wants to feel like they are doing more work than everyone else. Physicians ranked workload equity third on the list of factors contributing to job satisfaction. This was up from No. 5 in 2021. Nationwide staffing shortages may be contributing to the unfair workloads put on physicians. If this is the case, ask your employer to prioritize staffing and find help by any means necessary including using locums, leveraging travel nurses, and hiring medical scribes and other administrative support. Of course, workload equity can also feel unfair if more tenured physicians aren’t carrying any of the call burden. Research how other organizations manage these issues, and if you find your organization is out-of-step, make suggestions to improve.
  3. Autonomy — According to the JPS-MGMA whitepaper, physician burnout can be reframed as “moral injury,” which refers to the challenge of knowing what care patients need but being unable to provide it due to constraints beyond a doctor’s control. If you feel this describes physicians at your organization, let management know that physicians need more autonomy to make decisions for their patients. This request is, of course, anything but simple, and the bigger the organization, the more complex the issue becomes. This won’t be solved overnight, but it is worth starting a conversation with management about what can be done in this area. 
  4. Reduced administrative burden – Your manager likely won’t be surprised to learn that administrative duties are weighing on physicians, but if you can suggest tangible solutions that might make a positive impact, they may be more willing to listen and take steps to test your solution. You may propose hiring a medical scribe or training someone internally to do this job. If the EMR is causing more problems than it solves, request additional training or software add-ons that may increase efficiency of use. You may want to request a regular work-from-home “admin day” (or half-day) that allows physicians to get caught up on those duties.  
  5. Additional time off – Work-life balance is increasingly important to physicians of all ages, and time away from work is key to achieving a healthy balance. If staffing shortages make time off seem impossible, stress the importance to your manager and ask for locums coverage to allow physicians to take time off to relax and recover.  

It’s unlikely your supervisor will be totally surprised by any of these concerns, but by bringing them into the open and proposing viable solutions, you can begin the conversation and more effectively work towards resolving, or at least, improving the most pressing issues. Don’t be held back by the idea that burnout is an individual problem for each physician to solve for him or herself. Organizations are motivated to reduce physician burnout as it drives up turnover which costs the industry, by some estimates, up to a billion dollars each year. So, don’t hesitate to start the conversation with your manager and proactively ask for what you need to improve burnout for you and your peers. 

If you find that your organization is not willing or able to improve circumstances for physicians, it may be time to look for a new physician job. Reach out to a Jackson Physician Search Recruiter today or search physician jobs online now.

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How Physicians Can Evaluate Workplace Culture During Their Interview

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With physician turnover potentially on the rise and a concerning number of physicians reporting burnout, there is increasing attention on the impact of workplace culture on physician retention. The good news is, employers are aware of the importance of a positive organizational culture. However, as a candidate, it can be difficult to discern if the way your interviewer describes the culture is a true representation of how other physicians experience it. 

Workplace culture is often a reflection of the organization’s values, or at least how well those values are embodied by its staff. This is one of many reasons most recruiters stress the importance of finding an employer whose values align with yours. They know what happens when a physician who wants autonomy accepts an offer from an employer known for micromanaging. When values are misaligned, no one involved in the relationship will be happy. 

The physician interview is your best opportunity to investigate an employer’s values and culture. Keep reading to find out how to evaluate an employer’s culture during the physician interview. 

Conduct Pre-Interview Research

Before you agree to an on-site physician interview, research the employer online and try to determine if it is a place you would like to work. Review the mission statement and values professed on the website. Look for news stories about the organization to see how it is viewed in the community. Follow the employer’s social channels to learn more. What kind of stories are shared about patients, staff, and leadership? Do you see photos of team-building activities or employer-sponsored service projects? What charitable causes does the organization champion? 

Keep in mind, an online presence is carefully curated, so it may not tell the whole story. Look for clues about what the organization values. It will be up to you to discern if those values are acted out in the organization’s culture. Your chance to do this is during the on-site physician interview.

Ask Questions to Reveal Culture 

In preparation for the on-site interview, think about what questions you should ask each of your interviewers. You know you want to learn about culture, however, asking your interviewer to tell you about the organizational culture will likely get you a regurgitation of what is posted on the website. Instead, ask questions designed to reveal specific aspects of the culture that matter most to you. If physician autonomy is especially important, ask leaders to provide examples of ways physicians are included in decision-making. Ask potential physician peers if they are free to order tests and procedures as they see fit. Request they share other examples of their clinical autonomy.  

If work-life balance and mental health are a priority, ask leaders about programs in place to prevent physician burnout. Ask about the average physician tenure, and if it seems low, find out why. When talking with physicians, ask if they feel they have adequate support and share examples of such. Does the department or clinic have enough nurses on staff? Is there a scribe on staff? How is the call schedule determined? Is management approachable when additional support is needed? When provided with answers, listen not just to the speaker’s words, but also notice how comfortable he or she seems when talking about the topic. 

Observe Workplace Culture

Of course, words are one thing, but actions tell a more complete story. Use your time on site to observe as much as you can about the culture. Do people seem generally positive and at ease? How do physicians interact with leadership and each other? How do they treat support staff? When discussing the patient community, is everyone respectful? 

Spend as much time as you can with people working at all levels of the organization and trust your instincts. If you see any red flags, keep digging until you get to the truth. 

Trust Your Recruiter

No one knows more about an organization’s reputation than a recruiter. They know from the candidates they’ve placed whether or not the organization follows through on the promises they make during the interview process. While it’s true that your recruiter is paid by the healthcare organization, it is in everyone’s best interests to find a candidate who is both a clinical and cultural fit for the client as both are strong predictors of long-term physician retention.

Leverage Multiple Channels to Learn About Culture 

Evaluating a potential employer’s workplace culture is a critical part of the physician job search process. Be sure to use every channel available to you to learn as much as you can. Conduct online research prior to attending the interview. Prepare thoughtful questions designed to reveal the aspects of culture that are most important to you. Tailor each question to the specific person you are meeting with, depending on their position within the organization. Observe the behavior of those you meet, as well as the surrounding staff and even the patients. If you pick up on any tension, do your best to find out more. After you have seen and heard as much as possible, ask your recruiter to share what he or she knows about the culture of the organization. The recruiter will want to ensure alignment between you and the client, so he or she should be honest and transparent. Use this information, along with your observations and instincts, and you are sure to make the right decision.

If you are searching for a physician job, it is extremely helpful to work with a recruiter who can offer insight into the cultures of organizations that interest you. At Jackson Physician Search, we have offices in four different regions, and our regional recruitment teams would be more than happy to share what they know about the employers in the area. Contact us today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook for everything you need to know to get started.

 

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3 Reasons To Expand Your Physician Job Search

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As Dr. L enters his final year of training as a sports medicine fellow, he is excited to begin his physician job search in Chicago. He plans to move back to the neighborhood where he grew up, and he already has his eye on a physician-owned practice that works with a few of the area’s sports teams. Of course, he will consider other opportunities in Chicago, but he keeps reading about the physician shortage, so he assumes he will have multiple offers from which to choose. 

Are Dr. L’s physician job search expectations realistic? He is certainly right about the physician shortage. The latest data from AAMC projects the nation will experience a shortage of up to 48,000 primary care physicians and an additional 77,100 non-primary care specialists by the year 2034. So, in light of this news, physicians should feel confident in their ability to find a job…as long as they keep an open mind about how and where they practice. 

The demand for physicians varies greatly by specialty and location. For Dr. L, the need for physicians trained in sports medicine in Chicago will not be as high as the need for primary care physicians–and the need in Chicago may not be as great as the need in the upper Midwest. Does this mean he should give up on his dream of working with athletes and building a sports medicine practice in the Windy City? Not necessarily–but there are some worthwhile reasons he should remain open to other locations and types of physician jobs. 

If you are like Dr. L and have a very specific idea of how and where your physician career should progress, we propose the following three reasons to consider broadening your physician job search parameters.

1. Higher Physician Compensation 

With the cost of living generally higher in major metros, one might assume physician compensation would also be higher. However, healthcare organizations in urban areas have far more physician applicants than those in less populated regions. So, employers in bigger cities may not offer as many incentives to attract quality physicians. Even the salary guarantee may be on the lower end. In an article for the NEJM Career Center, JPS President Tony Stadjahar reports an average pay difference of 5%-10% more at rural organizations. However, considering the lower cost of living in rural areas, the impact may be far more than the percentage indicates.   

Okay, so physicians seeking jobs in urban areas may not see as many incentives as those searching in rural areas, but when building a practice, the earning potential is likely much bigger in a more populated area, right? Not necessarily. The higher population does not equate to a higher volume of patients due to the saturation of the market.

“For most physicians, location is the biggest driver of their job search,” says Tara Osseck, VIce President of Recruiting for Jackson Physician Search’s Midwest Division. “They are so focused on a specific city, but they’ll often find the market is saturated, so their earning potential is not what they hoped.”

Bigger cities have a higher volume of physicians of every specialty, so patients have more options. For this reason, it may actually be harder to build a solid patient base and earn a competitive income in an urban area.  

Takeaway: If compensation is a top priority, consider expanding your search outside of major metro areas.  

2. Less Competition 

The physician shortage is a well-documented threat to our nation’s healthcare infrastructure, and yet, it may not feel like there is a shortage when competing for jobs in a major metro area. Many physicians focus their job search on one city and find themselves competing with other physicians who have their minds made up about the same location. These physicians will find significantly less competition if they broaden their geographical search parameters. 

But location isn’t the only area to expand. Physicians who are set on a certain scope or type of practice will run into more competition than those who are flexible about the types of patients they see. For example, Dr. L is completing a fellowship in sports medicine, so of course he wants to limit his scope of practice to this field. But the demand for sports medicine physicians is far less than the need for physicians who are willing to see a wider variety of patients. 

“The biggest need right now is for physicians who can be flexible and provide a wide scope of practice,” says Director of Recruiting, Katie Moeller. “Of course it’s okay to share your preferences for the types of patients you hope to see, but a willingness to take cases outside of your sub-specialization will make you a more attractive candidate.” 

If Dr. L plans to only pursue sports medicine jobs, the opportunities will be few and the competition will be high. On the other hand, if he agrees to treat cases that were aligned with his residency training too, he will find more physician job openings and far less competition.

Takeaway: If your physician job search is stalling, it may be due to high competition for the jobs to which you are applying. Consider broadening your job search parameters to include more opportunities that may be less competitive. 

3. More Rewarding

While physician compensation is extremely important, most physicians also enjoy the personal rewards that come with improving the lives of patients. The feeling of goodwill that comes with acts of service may be compounded in physicians working in medically underserved areas. While these could be urban or rural, it’s worth considering the benefits of practicing rural medicine when you think about expanding your physician job search outside of urban areas. 

In a joint study from LocumTenens.com and Jackson Physician Search on Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing, rural physicians reported the most common reason for choosing to practice in a rural area was improved work-life balance, followed closely by higher compensation, and a more affordable cost of living. So in addition to the satisfaction of treating the underserved, a healthy work-life balance and a reduced chance of burnout are rewards that few physicians in urban areas can claim. 

The Takeaway: Keep an open mind about the various directions your physician career could take. You may find greater happiness in unexpected places. 

While it’s normal to have a vision of the type of practice you want to build and where you want to live, it’s important to keep an open mind and investigate opportunities outside of your current vision. Work with a trusted physician recruiter who will take the time to get to know you and understand what it is you want most in a job. If this recruiter presents you with an opportunity they think will be a good fit, trust their instincts and give it the consideration it deserves.

If you are a physician preparing for a job search, talk to the healthcare industry professionals at Jackson Physician Search. Our recruiters have the experience and nationwide network to help you find the opportunity that best fits your personal and professional needs. Contact us today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook for everything you need to know to get started.

 

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3 Things You Need to Start Your Physician Job Search

Whether you are working crazy resident hours or just trying to keep up with your current physician job, it can be hard to find time to make your job search a priority. In an effort to make it more manageable, we’re assigning three tasks to get you started.

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3 Things You Need to Start Your Physician Job Search

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Whether you are working crazy resident hours or just scrambling to keep up with your current physician job, chances are you simply don’t have enough hours in your day to focus on your physician job search. Your perception isn’t wrong–you are likely busier than most people you know! And yet, somehow you must make time to search for your first (or next) physician job. 

When “job search” is on your to-do list, it can be hard to know where to begin. So, in an effort to make it more manageable, we’re assigning three tasks to get you started. Don’t waste any more time scrolling physician job boards until you have the following three things completed, polished, and ready to submit as needed. 

1. An Impressive Physician CV

The task of writing a CV may sound daunting, but again, if you break it into sections, it shouldn’t be difficult. Start with a blank page in Word or Google docs and beneath your name and contact information (address, phone, and email), list the following headings followed by the relevant details: 

EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS
Start with the most recent institution (provide the full name and location) and work backward. Include the years of study, degree earned, areas of focus, special qualifications, and distinctions. 

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
Again, start with the most recent and work backward listing places of employment, locations, and dates. Use bullets to briefly describe your accomplishments in the role, noting procedure and patient volumes, administrative duties, leadership roles, or committee memberships. Offer a concise explanation for any gaps in employment.  

CERTIFICATIONS & LICENSURE
Note states where you are currently licensed and the status of any applications. Also include board certification or status.

HONORS & AFFILIATIONS
If applicable, list any awards, honors, or professional affiliations. 

PUBLICATIONS
If applicable, list publications and presentations.

Your CV is your first chance to impress a recruiter, so it should accurately (and concisely) reflect your professional accomplishments. It should also include personal details relevant to your job search, such as citizenship and/or visa requirements. Proofread your CV for typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Some recruiters may assume that sloppiness on the CV could mean sloppiness on the job. 

2. A Targeted Cover Letter

When applying for jobs online, a cover letter may not seem necessary, but avoid the temptation to skip this important step. The cover letter is your chance to provide context for your CV and show the recruiter who you are and why you are interested in the job. 

“Broaden your thinking about what a ‘cover letter’ should be,” says JPS Director of Recruiting Katie Moeller. “It could be an email, a few sentences at the top of your CV, or a short paragraph copied into an online ATS. Don’t worry about the format, but focus on its purpose–to introduce your CV, outline what you are looking for, or explain why you are a good fit for a particular job.”

A good cover letter is crafted in response to a specific job opening and notes the reasons for your interest in that particular job. However, in preparation for your physician job search, you should craft a cover letter template that can be adapted for the individual opportunities to which you are applying. 

While each cover letter must be specific to the opportunity, there are a few standards to apply in every scenario: 

  • Express enthusiasm for the opportunity and note why it is appealing to you
  • Highlight any skills or experiences that are especially relevant to the job for which you are applying
  • If necessary, request confidentiality
  • Be concise
  • Follow business etiquette, but do not be overly formal
  • Proofread for typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors

3. A List of Professional References 

Of course, you have people who can vouch for you, so you may think there is no need to spend time preparing a list of references. And while you don’t need it when first submitting an application, it is worth taking the time now to think through who should be on your list and contact them and ask if they are willing to take calls from prospective employers. If you compile this list before it is needed, you will keep the application process moving forward without delay–something that benefits both you and your potential employer.

Katie Moeller agrees. “Candidates shouldn’t include references on the CV,” she says, ‘However, it’s helpful when they have already prepared a list of references who are ready and willing to be contacted by potential employers. Those references should be prepared to take calls from unknown numbers and respond to email requests.”  

So first things first, who should you ask to be a reference? You want to provide a variety of sources. You will need to include a recent supervisor or manager as well as a physician peer or even an advanced practice provider who you have worked well with.  Other impressive references would be administrators or the chair or chief of medicine at your training program.

Reach out to each potential reference and ask their permission to share their contact information with potential employers who may reach out to them. Confirm that they are willing to respond to these inquiries. You may also want to tell them a little about your job search–why you are looking and the type of employment you are seeking. If you know you will be working to overcome objections–job hopping or gaps in employment–you may want to share your explanation for those issues so they can reinforce your messaging.

Once you have these three things polished and ready to submit, you are ready to set up job alerts, scroll physician job boards, and reach out to a physician recruiter. Of course, if you need further guidance with any of these steps, a recruiter at Jackson Physician Search would be happy to help. Contact us today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook for everything you need to know to get started.

 

5 physician job search mistakes

[Infographic Guide] 5  Physician Job Search Mistakes to Avoid

Physicians make several common mistakes in the job search that can keep them from getting the job they want, or more likely, cause them to take jobs that aren’t a good fit. This infographic shows you how to avoid these common physician job search mistakes…

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[Infographic Guide] 5 Physician Job Search Mistakes to Avoid

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After applying to medical school, residencies, and fellowships, most physician candidates are well-versed at the submission and interview process. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t prone to make mistakes. They know better than to make the typical job search mistakes–typos on a CV, social media blunders, showing up late to an interview–but rather, it’s the less obvious mistakes that can derail them from getting the job they want, or more likely, cause them to take a job that isn’t a good fit. Keep reading to learn how to avoid these common physician job search mistakes.

 

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Physician Job Search

These common job search mistakes can keep physicians from getting the job they want, or more likely, cause them to take jobs that aren’t a good fit. Keep reading to find out how to avoid these 5 physician job search mistakes.  

Physician Job Search Mistake #1: Starting Too Late

Physicians who start their job search early will have more options than those who wait until the last minute. JPS Vice President of Recruiting Tara Osseck advises residents: 

“Allow at least one year for a physician job search.”

Allow more than one year if: 

  • You require J-1 visa support
  • A specific location is top priority
  • Your specialty is highly-recruited

 

Physician Job Search Mistake #2: Limiting Your Search

Physicians who insist on a narrow scope of practice or a specific city will limit their options and miss the chance to consider other, possibly better-suited, opportunities. Prioritize what’s most important to you but also identify areas of flexibility–and the more the better. 

Broaden what’s acceptable in terms of: 

  • Location 
  • Practice setting
  • Scope of practice
  • Type of organization

Physician Job Search Mistake #3: Ignoring Red Flags

Most physicians who regret their job choice admit, when looking back, there were a number of red flags. Not every red flag is a dealbreaker, but they do require further investigation.

Red flags to watch out for:

  • High turnover
  • Negativity
  • Productivity imbalances
  • Insufficient technology
  • Unclear terms
  • Vague answers

Physician Job Search Mistake #4: Discounting the Importance of Culture

A big paycheck is nice, but if your values don’t align with the people around you, your job satisfaction will suffer. Use the on-site interview to learn about the organization’s culture. 

In the Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey from JPS and LocumTenens.com, physicians ranked the following as the top 3 attributes in an employer’s culture:

  • 40% Physician autonomy 
  • 35% Teamwork 
  • 31% Patient-focused

Physician Job Search Mistake #5: Not Leveraging Available Resources 

The recruiters at Jackson Physician Search have valuable expertise to share about the job search process. Not only can they help you with the logistics of what to do and when, but JPS recruiters know their markets inside and out and can share insight about individual organizations. 

Leverage physician recruiters for advice on:

  • Job search timing
  • CV review
  • Compensation expectations
  • Organizational culture

Don’t make the mistake of going it alone. Reach out to the Jackson Physician Search Recruitment Team today.

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5 Things to Know About Telemedicine Jobs

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“The doctor will see you now.”

Those words, uttered by nurses in waiting rooms since the dawn of the medical practice, are spoken a bit less frequently in recent years. Increased adoption of telehealth means fewer patients are driving to a physical building and sitting in a waiting room before an appointment with a physician. Instead, they are picking up their smartphones and logging on to request an appointment, and in some cases, they are seen in a matter of minutes. Patients are thrilled with the time savings, and in many cases, they feel the experience overall is equal to or better than the experience of seeing a provider in person, but how do physicians feel about telehealth? And what do you need to know if you plan to practice telemedicine?

Patient Demand Will Drive the Need for More Telemedicine Jobs 

When physician offices shut down in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth visits were the only option available to many patients seeking routine care. While many organizations offered telehealth appointments prior to 2020, the pandemic quickly drove adoption to 78 times the level it was prior to February 2020. The benefits of telehealth during a pandemic were obvious–diagnosis and treatment with no risk of disease transmission–but it became immediately clear that the benefits extended far beyond curbing the spread of disease. 

For patients, telehealth appointments can typically be scheduled faster than an in-person visit, they take less time out of the patient’s day, and they don’t require the patient to arrange childcare or ask for time off work. And for patients living in more remote areas, telehealth provides direct access to specialists they may have had to drive hours to see in person.    

For these reasons, telemedicine remains extremely popular with patients. In fact, more than two years after the initial spike in telehealth adoption, a study from McKinsey suggests the volume of telehealth has found a new baseline that is still 38 times what it was pre-pandemic. 

Will Patients Have Permanent Access to Telemedicine?

Despite the overwhelming popularity and undeniable benefits of telehealth, its future remains uncertain due to the still-temporary waivers allowing providers to treat patients across state lines. It’s also not clear if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will continue to reimburse telehealth appointments at the same rate as in-person visits long-term. Until Congress approves permanent policy on the topic, it may be difficult for traditional healthcare organizations to incorporate telehealth into their long-term strategic plans. 

Despite the uncertainties, patient demand for telehealth seems here to stay. In a November 2021 survey conducted by McKinsey, 55% of patients said they were more satisfied with their virtual visits than in-person appointments. According to a study by Wheel of 400 physicians and nurse practitioners, a majority of respondents expect virtual primary care visits to surpass in-person visits in the next five years. 

Physician Attitudes Split on Telemedicine Jobs

Despite the way many were forced into practicing telemedicine, some physicians felt the benefits right away and even developed a preference for it. In the aforementioned Wheel survey, two out of three respondents said they prefer virtual-only or hybrid work. In a Jackson Physician Search whitepaper exploring the impact of COVID on the physician job market, physician recruitment leaders noted an increase in physicians seeking jobs that would allow them to practice telemedicine full or part-time.  

The McKinsey study paints a slightly different picture. Its series of surveys showed shifting physician attitudes towards telehealth. In July 2020, the percentage of physicians saying telehealth visits were extremely effective was at its peak, and the figure declined with each subsequent survey, one conducted in November 2020 and the other in April 2021. The percentage of physicians recommending telehealth visits over in-person visits also declined. 

Pros and Cons of Telemedicine Jobs

An obvious “pro” for telemedicine jobs is the opportunity it provides for physicians to work from home, eliminating commutes and the other hassles of working in an office. With physician burnout an ongoing industry concern, allowing physicians more flexible hours and the chance to work from home–at least some of the time–may help them find a better work-life balance. And of course, lest we forget the original benefit of telemedicine–the reason for the rapid adoption of telehealth–there is no risk of exposure to pathogens during a telehealth appointment. It also allows patients in rural or remote areas to receive the care they need.

There are also drawbacks to telemedicine. Telehealth visits are not appropriate for many patient scenarios, and some physicians feel something gets “lost” when evaluating patients through a screen. There are liability concerns, technology issues to contend with, and for now at least, instability surrounding telehealth policy and regulations. 

Next Steps in Telemedicine Training 

As healthcare organizations continue to modify care delivery to meet patient needs, it is likely more physician jobs will include some aspect of telemedicine. Medical schools are developing curriculum to train students in telehealth, and professional organizations such as the AMA now offer resources to establish telehealth best practices. At the organizational level, telehealth training will likely become an essential part of physician onboarding

No matter which camp you are in–team telehealth or team in-person–telemedicine appears to be here to stay. Patients will increasingly expect telehealth options as part of standard care delivery, so physicians must pursue training on telehealth technology and techniques in order to competently incorporate telemedicine into their practice.  

If you are interested in incorporating telehealth into your next physician job, the Jackson Physician Search Recruitment Team would be happy to assist you in finding job opportunities that offer this benefit. Contact us today

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Physician Job Search Tips for Dual-Physician Couples

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What is it about high stress and cadavers that sparks romance for so many medical students? It’s true–many couples meet and marry in medical school or residency. In fact, a 2020 study by the American Medical Association Insurance Agency (AMAIA) found up to 40% of physicians are married to other healthcare professionals, many times, to another physician. 

Data from a recent Jackson Physician Search and LocumTenens.com survey shows nearly one in five Millennial physicians is married to another physician. For Generation X, the percentage was 12% and for Baby Boomers, 5%. The data is clear–the number of physicians marrying physicians increases with each generation. 

Whether they meet in med school, residency, or on the job, physician couples will find both benefits and challenges in this pairing. Certainly, spouses with a shared profession will better understand the professional challenges the other faces and be more equipped to empathize with the stress, pressures, and demands of practicing medicine. That said, participants in dual-physician marriages may find it more difficult to disconnect from work since they have an ever-present colleague with whom they may be tempted to discuss cases. They may also struggle even more than most to find a manageable work-life balance.

Of course, each dual-physician marriage is unique, however, these married physicians are likely to experience similar obstacles. If you are among the increasing number of physicians married to another physician, you are likely already familiar with the following challenges. Keep reading for some simple steps to address the issues during your next physician job search.    

Married Physician Job Search Challenges

The process of applying for a residency match or first physician job is always stressful, so when you factor in the need to make a second match or find a second physician job, the pressure doubles. The realization that where one’s fate lies, so does the other’s may not set in until the application process begins, when each physician realizes they not only have to worry about their own ability to impress, they are counting on their spouse to perform well also.

An unattached physician can pursue any opportunity that feels right–major metro, rural, academic, private practice, etc. However, married physicians must also consider if their physician spouse will find an acceptable opportunity in that setting. For those searching in a major metro, the problem is less daunting, but for those who want or need to work in a rural setting, perhaps to comply with visa requirements or student loan contingencies, it can be very difficult to secure a second opportunity for a physician spouse. 

Timing presents another challenge. Oftentimes, the married physicians don’t finish their training at the same time, so they may be faced with spending a year or more in different cities. This is especially true when the physician requires a J1 visa. The requirements of the visa will not allow a physician to wait for a spouse to finish training or to secure a job in the same location, leaving the couple with difficult decisions to make. 

Married Physician Job Search Tip:

Working with a national physician recruitment firm and a well-connected physician recruiter is especially important for married physicians seeking new physician jobs. Physician recruiters often know of physician job openings before they are posted or may leverage their network to identify, or even create, an opportunity. 

For example, when Dr. S and his wife, Dr. H, were in their last year of residency in New York, Dr. S applied for a California anesthesiology job through Jackson Physician Search recruiter, Becky Casais. Becky could tell he was a great fit for the job right away, so when she presented him, she was sure to advocate for his wife, an Emergency Medicine physician. She used her connections with her client to find an opportunity with the ER group for his wife, even though they were not planning to hire anyone new. 

While each situation is different, most physician recruiters will advise prioritizing the physician with more specialization. For example, a Family Medicine physician will likely be able to find an opportunity anywhere, but his pediatric cardiologist wife will likely need to be in a major metro. Thus, the cardiologist’s needs should guide the job search. 

Double the Medical School Debt

Another potential difficulty in dual-physician marriages is the heavy student loan debt they both bring to the marriage. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average medical school graduate owes $241,600 in total student loan debt.  So, a two-physician household starts their life together with nearly half a million dollars of debt.   

Seeing as financial issues are one of the top causes of distress in marriage, carrying so much debt can be a source of stress and anxiety for dual-physician couples, even after they start earning six-figure salaries. If both partners aren’t on the same page regarding the priority of paying down the debt, problems will likely surface. 

Married Physician Job Search Tip:

Physicians married to physicians should prioritize loan repayment in job offers. Be upfront with the physician recruiter about the importance of loan assistance, and if possible, the employer may customize the physician job offer to meet your needs. 

Domestic and Dependent Care Challenges

Studies suggest work-life balance is increasingly important to physicians, and yet, a report from The Physicians Foundation found more than half of physicians work more than 50 hours per week, and more than a quarter work more than 60. When both partners have demanding, often high-stakes jobs, the division of non-professional work–childcare, housekeeping, elder care–can be especially problematic. 

Fortunately, two-physician marriages come with two physician incomes, and hiring help for domestic tasks may need to be prioritized right up there with paying off student debt. Outsourcing tasks such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, and even grocery shopping can allow both partners to enjoy their time off rather than feel they are simply changing shifts.   

Married Physician Job Search Tip:

Hiring help may only take a couple so far, and when it comes to childcare, some physicians will only want to outsource so much. For this reason, it is especially important for dual-physician couples to seek out employers that prioritize work-life balance. Physician couples should think through what that looks like to them–whether it’s a four-day workweek, no call on weekends, or more administrative support–and talk to potential employers about those specific needs.

Above all, dual physician couples should start their search even earlier–up to two years before completing their training. If already practicing, flexibility is key. It may take longer than anticipated to find the perfect pair of physician jobs.

Because the physician job search process presents additional challenges to physician couples, a good physician recruiter can advise accordingly. Reach out to the Jackson Physician Search Recruitment team today and start your physician job search. Or, download our physician job search playbook

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3 Challenges Female Physicians Face–And How to Overcome Them

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Dr. S pulled her car into the garage at nearly 8 pm. Her husband had relieved the nanny hours ago and likely fed the kids dinner already, but there were still school folders to go through, homework to help with, tomorrow’s lunches to make, and of course, bedtime to contend with. She wasn’t complaining–she enjoyed these tasks of motherhood–but she was just tired.  And of course, there was still charting to do once the kids were in bed. She knew her work as an oncologist was important, as was her job as a mother, but there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to actually enjoy either one. 

Dr. J tried to mask her irritation with her colleagues during their weekly meeting. As an orthopedic surgeon, she was used to being outnumbered by the men in her field, but even after more than a decade of working alongside them, she still didn’t always feel comfortable. The resentment she felt toward her male peers contributed to her discomfort, of course. She repeatedly watched them get invited to speak at conferences and win awards and promotions for which she was just as worthy. She suspected they earned more than her too, but she had no proof. She knew it was best not to dwell on it–just focus on her patients and do her job.  

Dr. B stared blankly at her patient as she considered his comment: “I just think I’d like to hear a male doctor’s opinion, if you don’t mind.” Well, actually she did mind. In fact, she minded a little more each time she heard it–or some variation of the same comment. Hadn’t she gone to medical school just as long as her male peers? Hadn’t she studied just as hard? Worked as many hours in residency? But Dr. B didn’t say any of that. Instead, she left the room and moved onto her next patient. 

Dr. S, Dr. J, and Dr. B are not alone in the challenges they face as female physicians. But for now, they are resolved to keep doing the work despite the difficulties. However, an increasing number of their female peers are not. They are cutting their hours, leaving their jobs, or sometimes leaving the profession altogether. Employers should take steps to better support their female physicians, but female physicians must be proactive in seeking solutions if they hope to enjoy lasting, fulfilling medical careers.

Female Physicians Most Likely to Cut Hours or Leave

According to a recent article from Harvard Business Review, women make up one-third of the physician population, and they outnumber male students in medical school. While female representation is increasing in medicine, the authors suggest women physicians are cutting their hours and leaving the profession in concerning numbers. If the trend continues, the already dire physician shortage will get significantly worse.

So why are women leaving?  What specific challenges are making it so difficult for women to practice medicine? And how can female physicians overcome these challenges? 

The Ever-Elusive Work-Life Balance 

Work-life balance is increasingly important to both genders, and yet, it may be more out of reach for women than men. Physician-focused studies indicate the bulk of the non-professional work at home still falls to women. As a result, female physicians experience more work-family conflict than their male counterparts.

In a small study of how physician parents coped with work-family conflict during the pandemic, the researchers found women were significantly more likely to be responsible for childcare or schooling and household tasks. They were also more likely than men to work primarily from home during the pandemic or to reduce their work hours. Women also reported more depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Of course, the pandemic only magnified a pre-existing problem. Multiple pre-COVID studies point to the difference in time spent on household tasks reported by men and women. A 2019 study published in the National Academy of Medicine found fully employed female physicians spend 8.5 hours per week on childcare and other domestic activities, including caring for elderly parents. Female physicians whose spouses are also fully employed spend an additional 2 hours per day on domestic work. This is three times the amount of time reported by male physicians whose spouses also work. 

How to improve work-life balance?

With so much attention on the importance of work-life balance, many employers are willing to find ways to improve in this area for their physicians, however, they may not know what changes would be most helpful. Now is the time to ask for what you need. Whether it’s a four-day work week, job sharing, reduced call, more administrative support, or incorporating telehealth appointments, your employer is likely willing to try and accommodate you if it means you will stay. That said, if your employer is unable or unwilling to work with you, it may be time to look for a new physician job.  

Fewer Rewards for Female Physicians

A December 2021 study published in Health Affairs found a persistent 25% pay gap between male and female physicians resulted in a $2 million dollar difference in earnings over the course of a medical career. If this pay gap alone wasn’t discouraging, female physicians also feel less involved with decision-making than their male peers. Additionally, women receive fewer awards, are invited to speak less often, and hold fewer leadership roles. Studies suggest the COVID-19 pandemic worsened these disparities.

Women are underrepresented, underpaid, and often disrespected by patients and staff who still don’t think “physician” when they see a woman. According to an article for the AMA, 70% of women physicians reported some form of gender discrimination. Is it any wonder they are leaving their jobs at higher rates than their male colleagues? 

How to achieve equity?

As we indicated earlier, smart employers are more focused than ever on retaining the physicians they have, so now is the time to ask for what you deserve in terms of both compensation and opportunity. These conversations can be tough to navigate, so it’s important to also seek out a seasoned female physician mentor or professional coach for advice. She can also work with you to identify a path to achieving your goals–from speaking engagements to leadership positions to a seat on the board.

Practicing Medicine Takes a Greater Toll on Women

There’s no doubt, that practicing medicine today is not easy for anyone. However, studies indicate the job may take a greater toll on women. Women often spend more time with patients, more time charting, and may experience more empathy for patients than their male peers. While some studies suggest these qualities may result in better outcomes, they can also take a greater toll and lead to higher rates of burnout. 

The previously mentioned article for Harvard Business Review uses the results of a Press Ganey physician engagement study to further explore the experience of female physicians. Women gave lower ratings than men when asked about their staff support, time for patient care, involvement with decision-making, and job stress. Women also reported having more difficulty decompressing when not at work. All of these indicators explain why many female physicians would not choose the career again nor would they recommend it to a prospective medical school student.

How to reduce the pain of practicing medicine?

The solution here ties back to the former points. A flexible schedule and increased administrative support would give physicians more time to decompress and recover from the toll of treating patients. Likewise, a female physician mentor may be helpful in setting an example and advising on how to manage patients in a more sustainable way. 

All of these solutions rely on female physicians finding employers that recognize the unique challenges women face and being willing to make adjustments to overcome them. Female physicians should seek out employers that offer flexibility, transparent compensation models, administrative support, and ideally, have women in leadership positions. 

Women in medicine face multiple challenges, but employers should be more open than ever to making adjustments that will improve retention rates. So think through what you need, and ask for it! Of course, if your employer is unwilling or unable to adapt, it may be time to look for a new physician job. Contact a Jackson Physician Search Recruitment Consultant to discuss your physician job options or start a physician job search now. 

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