November 20th, 2015
My final year of residency is almost halfway complete. The job market for 2016 is heating up. For last month, I have been starting my day by browsing job websites and checking emails from the recruiters. After completing two residencies in two different specialties and one research fellowship, I want to get an academic hospital medicine position, but choosing the first job is no less intense than choosing the right residency or fellowship program. The challenge starts with creating a comprehensive CV, which summarizes all my achievements, including education, training, research, and administrative experiences. Undoubtedly, my chief residency experience fills up some paragraphs in the CV, including teaching, leadership, and administrative roles. The next step is getting good letters of recommendation from the program director and other senior faculty as required by some academic institutions.
Making my career decision of academic vs. community or private practice is not easy at this juncture of my professional life. This is not just choosing between academia vs. more money. Part of it could be that I am not very familiar with job roles outside of academia. Deciding whether to stay at my alma mater vs. moving to a new system or facility is difficult as well.
Job interviews are different in many ways from residency and fellowship interviews. It’s not just about all-expense paid trips, staying in nice hotels, and chauffeur-driven cars. The question I have been asked so far in every job interview is, what can I contribute besides clinical medicine? The next 2 years as a junior faculty member will be a crucial foundation step for my long-term goal of excelling in academic medicine. This will be the time to not only boost everyone’s (including my own) confidence in my ability but make myself prominent in the department. Outside of clinical work, I also need to focus on an area of interest, which could administration, medical education, or clinical research.
I was never good at reading legal documents, but this is time to read in between the lines in the contract paper. Starting with compensation, number of shifts, protected time, malpractice, tail coverage RVU, and productivity bonuses to name a few.
I want to become a physician researcher, so it’s imperative for me to choose a senior faculty member as my mentor whose interests match mine.
Very excited and maybe a little nervous… I am ready to take the plunge in the real world after years of training.
Wish me luck.