The days have grown shorter, the nights colder and the fantastic colors of the New Hampshire’s fall foliage will soon give way to winter!
Which means it’s time to take a look at what lies ahead for physicians.
Soon it will be time to say goodbye to 2017 and hello to a new year. With that in mind, take a look at these five things every physician should know before 2018:
The nation’s physician shortage has been well-documented. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, population growth, the increase in the number of aging Americans and retiring physicians will leave the country 100,000 physicians short by 2030.
While this is certainly alarming news for the nation, it does present an opportunity for physicians in search of new opportunities. Those who are interested should have no trouble finding hospital and healthcare systems interested in their services.
Bureaucratic tasks, too many hours at work, feeling unappreciated and the computerization of practice. These are the top four reasons physicians feel burned out, according to a Medscape survey of more than 14,000 physicians.
The survey found that the percentage of physicians who say they’re feeling burned out is steadily increasing. Being aware of the signs of burnout, seeking employment with an organization that values work-life balance and asking for help are some of the keys to preventing it.
The healthcare industry is constantly changes. New technology, payment models, leaders, and approaches to care delivery can make it seem like change is the only constant in the industry.
It also proves the old axiom: The more things change, the more things stay the same.
People still consider medical doctors to be among the most trustworthy professionals in the country, according to a survey conducted by Gallup. This is an important fact to keep in mind as you work through all of the change that consistently seems to occur in the industry.
Here are some facts and figures provided by “Hospital and Health Networks” that reaffirm the need for care coordination:
With more aging patients, more diverse patient populations and more pressure to improving outcomes at lower costs, physicians working at hospitals that embrace care coordination are likely to experience more success.
This has been a monumental year for physicians in the United States. As first reported by “Modern Healthcare,” 2017 marked the first time in U.S. history that less than half of all practicing physicians owned their medical practices.
It seems that physicians are moving en mass toward larger practices–and this is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Apparently, compliance costs, new payment models and the stress of owning and operating a practice has become too much for many physicians to take on.
The good news is that there are many healthcare systems searching for talented providers who want to focus on patient care rather.
If you’re interested in joining the ranks of those who’ve made the shift to larger practices, connect with Elliot Health System today! You’ll be sure to have the resources you need to succeed.
What matters most to you?
Is it compensation? Maybe you’re most interested in clinical excellence? Perhaps it’s patient outcomes?
All play a role in your ability to build a career that is as long-lasting as it is rewarding–but they might not be as important as the hospital community in which you work.
That’s right, where you work matters at least as much as how much you make, how well you perform, and whether or not patients achieve the best possible outcomes.
If this sounds far-fetched, consider the study conducted by Press Ganey on the influence of nurses’ work environments on patients, payments, and nurses themselves.
It found that work environment–the hospital community in which the nurses worked–played the largest role in overall job satisfaction.
And the study included employees and outcome data from 2,000 hospitals across the country.
Yes, the hospital community in which you spend eight, 10, 12 or more hours a day for days on end plays a big role in determining whether or not you are a shining star throughout your career or one that eventually burns out.
Obviously you want to work in a healthy hospital environment. Here are six key characteristics of a healthy hospital community:
Communication is critically important. When it’s effectively executed at an organizational, everyone is aware of the hospital’s values, goals, and challenges.
On the unit level, effective communication is every bit as important as clinical outcomes. In fact, effective communication can improve clinical outcomes.
Collaboration–true collaboration in which relationships are treated as genuine partnerships–allows physicians to bond, grow professionally, and improve outcomes for patients.
It ensures that no one feels as if they are an island, isolated from the rest of team, left to fend for her- or himself.
Is there anything worse for a physician than working in an environment where decisive decisions are the exception rather than the rule?
No there is not.
Effective decision making means that decisions are made collaboratively, with an understanding about how they will affect those at every level of the organization. They are clearly communicated. And they are carried out with consistency.
Any physician who has ever worked on an understaffed unit knows how important appropriate staffing is to the unit’s ability to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients without putting the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of hospital staff in jeopardy.
Inadequate staffing often leads to unnecessary stress, which can lead to physician burnout.
Everyone wants to be recognized for the contributions she or he makes to the organization. In fact, research has shown that being recognized for a job well done could be the difference between job satisfaction and becoming disgruntled.
You may not want to publicly acknowledge the desire for recognition, and that’s perfectly fine. But internally, it’s important to be aware of the important role authentic recognition plays in keeping you satisfied at work–and then finding a hospital community that demonstrates its appreciation for its employees.
The relationship between effective, authentic leadership and a healthcare system’s ability to provide safe and effective care has been well-documented.
It also matters to you.
Lack of leadership creates an environment that doesn’t value communication or true collaboration. You may find yourself waiting for important decisions to be made. You may discover that a lack of adequate staffing and a dearth of recognition have you on the verge of burning out.
At that point, your compensation will no longer matter, clinical excellence won’t be achievable and patient outcomes will suffer–and so will your career.
Relocating isn’t something to be taken lightly.
It’s a complex process that requires a lot of heavy lifting, figuratively, and literally.
Where will you live? What about your family? How will the move affect your finances? And then there’s the physical act of packing and actually making the move.
Where to begin … .
Thankfully, many physicians have set off in search of greener pastures, and much has been learned from their experiences. Here’s a look at five things those physicians wish they’d known before taking their talents to new towns:
When it comes to location scouting, too much is never enough. Sure, a city might seem like the perfect relocation destination during your initial visit. After all, you’ve just been wooed by a healthcare system that seems to desperately want your services.
And they’ve probably done a pretty good job of selling the city and all it has to offer.
But what will you see when you start driving the streets, sipping coffee at the local cafes and sampling the cultural offerings–without the benefit of a tour guide? More importantly, what will your family see and feel?
The more scouting trips you take, the more you’ll have a feel for the flavor of the new area, and the more you’ll be sure it’s a good fit.
Not all tax codes are created equal, and the taxes collected (or not collected) can have a major effect on your present and future quality of life.
Before you accept a job offer that requires relocation, make sure to meet with your financial adviser so you have a clear understanding of the implications–good or otherwise.
When it comes to relocating, the job is only one part of the equation. Quality of life matters as much and perhaps even more.
After all, if you’re paying exorbitant taxes, living in a state that doesn’t value health care, worrying about high crime rates, or spending entirely too much time thinking about what’s wrong with the schools, government or infrastructure, you’re probably not going to be all that inspired at work.
So take a long, hard look at the community’s quality of life before you accept the new position.
Some jobs look better on paper than they do in person. Hospitals always put their best feet forward when they’re recruiting. Your job is to figure out how much of what they’re saying is marketing and how much is reality.
One of the best ways to figure out what the day-to-day grind will look like is to stop by the unit and see for yourself. Take a look at the pace, how people communicate and how patients are treated.
Then ask for a list of references–current and former physicians–who can tell you about their experiences.
The last thing you want to do is wind up with a job that leads to burnout.
Some things simply can’t be measured. They are your personal interests, the things for which you have the most passion.
It could be access to world-class skiing in the winter, fishing in the spring and places to hike and bike in the summer and fall. Maybe it’s proximity to large cities, fine dining or theater. It could be opportunities to lead in the community.
Make a list of the intangibles that matter most to you and then compare them with what is available in the community to which you’re considering relocating.
Greener pastures are out there–and it’s up to you to find the one that’s the best fit.
Ah, the age-old interview questions.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” “Tell me about a time when you failed to reach your goals and how you responded.” “What do you consider to be your strengths? What are your weaknesses?”
And these are only a few of the questions you should ask when you’re interviewing for a job.
Truth is, many people view job interviews as one-way streets, opportunities for hospital hiring managers to evaluate physician candidates based on a list of pre-determined criteria.
But it’s equally true that job interviews are opportunities for physicians to to evaluate prospective employers based on a list of predetermined criteria selected to ensure that the culture, commitment of colleagues and community align with career goals and professional values.
Yes, the job interview is actually a two-way street, and whether or not you continue down the path to employment should, in part, depend on these three things every physician should look for during an interview:
Communication is critically important in a hospital. It affects everything from the efficacy of treatment plans to the efficiency of healthcare teams to patient and physician satisfaction.
If you’re in an interview and notice issues with the interpersonal interactions of employees, beware!
Great hospitals are filled with employees who demonstrate compassion and respect with one another, their patients and the patients families. They have good energy. People interact with one another in friendly and supportive ways. They are authentic.
If you find yourself uncomfortable with the way people communicate with one another during a job interview, it could be a symptom of a work culture that’s less than ideal.
There are certain things that simply cannot be compromised in a healthcare setting–and organization is one of them.
As a physician, you have a better chance of achieving the best possible outcomes for patients when you work in an environment that is organized. Meetings start on time. Meeting participants are all on the same page, working off the same agenda and understanding of the meeting’s purpose.
If the interview starts late, it’s a bad sign (although there could be legitimate reasons for tardiness). If participants are not prepared, it’s a bad sign. If the interview process feels like a long walk in the dark woods, it’s a bad sign.
High-achieving organizations are highly organized. You want to work for an organization that is highly organized.
Physicians work hard to help their patients live better. But who is working to ensure physicians do the same?
In a perfect world, it will be your employer.
The battle for work-life balance has been raging in the healthcare industry for decades. Doctors simply work too much, put off caring for themselves, and often can’t escape their profession–even when they’re “off.”
The best healthcare systems believe in work-life balance. They offer ample vacation days, generous continuing medical education allowances, tuition, and travel expenses related to attending CME programs and understand that physicians need time away in order to avoid burnout.
Ask about all of these physician benefits during your interview, then watch closely to see how the interviewers respond.
Do they bristle at the idea of self-care, or do they seem interested in your well-being?
You know which response you want to see.
Job interviews are two-way streets. Make sure you are evaluating the interviewers and organization as much as they are you. It’s one way to make sure you take the right career path.
Learn more about opportunities at Elliot Health System–an organization that values communication, organization and balance.