Residency to Real World: Essential Resources for Your First Physician Job Search

June 25, 2024 by
Residency to Real World: Essential Resources for Your First Physician Job Search
MedGeo Ventures, Allison Schwartze
| No comments yet

With Match Day quickly approaching, fourth-year medical students across the country eagerly await the moment they find out where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives. If you are among this group, congratulations! You’ve worked hard, and Match Day is certainly a cause to celebrate and breathe a sigh of relief. But alas, the moment of calm is just that — momentary. Soon after you hit the ground running in residency, it becomes time to start thinking about your first physician job search.

While the timeline of a first physician job search will vary depending on your specialty, it’s never too early to begin the research phase, and the new Jackson Physician Search website is the ideal place to get started. The Physician Career Resource Center hosts a well-organized library of content covering topics from first-job search tips and trends to physician retirement considerations and everything in between. You can explore what it’s like to work in a rural practice, the path to becoming a physician executivephysician burnout solutions, work-life balance tips, and more. You’ll also find a physician salary calculator that allows you to benchmark how much physicians earn in your specialty and targeted location. All of this information will be useful as your job search progresses, but it can be a lot to digest at once. Keep reading for our recommendations on the best way to approach your physician job search research.

The Importance of Physician Job Search Research

Before you dive in, it’s crucial to fully understand the purpose of the assignment. The reality is the more you know about physician careers, the easier it will be to develop a clear picture of what is most important in your first physician job. This knowledge will be critical as you narrow down and then evaluate opportunities. Having a list of priorities to come back to throughout your search will help you see beyond the paycheck to the many factors that contribute to your overall job satisfaction. 

That’s not to say compensation doesn’t matter. In last fall’s joint study from MGMA and Jackson Physician Search, 76% of physicians said compensation was the primary factor driving their first job decisions, followed by location, work-life balance, and a positive culture. The study confirms what our recruiters hear from residents every day. They typically want to focus on finding jobs in a specific location and, from there, plan to take the highest offer available to them. Work-life balance and a positive culture usually come up as nice-to-haves, but compensation is often the driving factor. 

Of course, base salary and signing bonuses are relevant, but new physicians must look beyond compensation if they hope to find a good long-term fit — something fewer newly trained physicians are successfully doing. The same joint study found that physicians who completed training in the last six years stayed in their first jobs for an average of just two years. When the same question was asked of physicians, regardless of how long ago they completed training, the average first job tenure was six years — a notable shift. The reasons for this are multi-faceted — generational differences, the impact of COVID-19, the increased prevalence of recruitment incentives — but whatever the cause or causes, it’s clear that physicians today are spending less time in their first jobs than their older peers once did. The trend of shrinking tenure suggests physicians often accept the biggest offer but quickly discover that it takes more than money to be happy at work — and physician career research will help you identify what those things might be for you.

Research Topic #1: Physician Compensation

Despite the priority given to compensation, many physicians coming out of training don’t fully understand the complexities of how physicians get paid. The Physician Salary Calculator can reveal the average physician income for your location and specialty. Still, you will need to research how the various compensation models may impact what you can expect to earn. Specifically, you’ll want to understand the details surrounding salary guarantees, the terms of productivity or quality bonuses, and any strings attached to signing bonuses or loan repayments. Start with the articles listed below, but be sure to contact a physician recruiter and ask them for clarification where needed.

Research Topic #2: Geographical Implications

Many physicians come out of training fixated on finding a physician job in a specific location, but before you rule anything out, look into how your chosen location may influence physician earnings, work-life balance, and career trajectory. Urban or rural, east coast or west, midwestern metro or southern suburb — each location comes with pros and cons. Do some research and talk to a recruiter about which type of location best aligns with your needs.

Research Topic #3: Medical Practice Models

Compensation and location may be the most important factors in accepting a first physician job, but the joint study found the reason a majority of physicians gave for leaving was the “practice ownership/governance model.” That is, many physicians realized the structure of their new organization was not a good fit for their needs. The report concludes that new physicians may accept offers without fully understanding how their new organizations are managed — and how that may impact their job satisfaction. This shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that residents spend most of their training in academic hospital environments and have minimal exposure to other practice models. Thus, this is an area to research thoroughly, starting with the articles listed below. Once you understand the topic better, seek out physicians in various practice settings and ask them about the pros and cons of the paths they have chosen.

Once you’ve started with these three critical topics, head to the Career Resource Center and visit the Resident Toolbox. Here, you will find job search tips for residents, a resident’s job search timeline, a checklist of job search documents, and more. Of course, the best way to learn about your options is to reach out to a Jackson Physician Search recruitment team member.

We look forward to learning more about you and guiding you through your first physician job search.

Have more questions about the physician job search? 

The Physician Career Resource Center provides articles, whitepapers, and infographics designed to help physicians through all aspects of the physician job search. 

Visit OEM Explore today!

This article provided by Jackson Physician Search

Sign in to leave a comment