A 5-Step Approach to Job Searching

John Bahadorani, MDFrom the beginning of my pursuit of a career in medicine, I have been told about the “light at the end of the tunnel.” As I have progressed further in my training, first as a cardiology fellow and now an interventional fellow, I have felt myself getting closer and closer to this proverbial light.

But so much has changed in the field of medicine from the time I began my training 12 years ago until now. I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge, but none of it has prepared me for the challenges of job searching. Hearing statistics such as “50% of physicians are unhappy with their first position,” it is easy to understand why people panic.

The landscape of medicine has changed over the course of my training, but that’s to be expected. For example, the number of private cardiology practices has decreased as most of them have been forced to sell to larger hospital systems in the face of rising overhead, shrinking reimbursements, and a biased reimbursement structure favoring hospitals. As a result, cardiologists who remain in private practice work longer hours; see more patients (with less time per visit); suffer from decreased productivity, stemming from the advent of electronic medical records; perform fewer procedures annually; and delay retirement. Altogether, this means fewer opportunities for young interventional cardiologists.

These are the hard facts I faced with little guidance over the course of my job search. But the best way to confront them—as we do for any issue in medicine—is systematically. Here’s my 5-step approach:

1) Decide on your preferred practice setting

2) Prioritize the core factors important to you

3) Familiarize yourself with different practice models

4) Understand the physician contract

5) Commit

I created a spreadsheet with a weighted point system for each of the variables. I used it to narrow down my job choices and have spent all of my efforts on moving forward with the positions receiving the highest points in my system. Now I have to sit back and let time and fate play their respective roles.

I’ll be delving further into each of these steps and my personal process in future blog posts. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment below with any tips you have learned along the way.

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