As a physician, you belong to a well-respected, very important profession, one which allows you to be of service while performing work that is professionally challenging and personally fulfilling. And you may be happy right where you are.
On the other hand, you may long for a different scenario. Perhaps you no longer want to be part of a private practice or corporate practice and would like to work in different setting instead. If this sounds like you, the following discussion on how to make a successful physician career change to a community hospital may be of benefit to you.
First, let’s briefly examine what working in a community hospital entails. Simply put, a community hospital environment offers many benefits not readily available in other health care settings, primary among them being the sense of “community” itself. A physician career change to such a setting permits you an environment to provide health care built on relationships with coworkers and residents of the community in which you live, people who, like you, are seeking similar things in location, lifestyle and values.
If you are serious about making a physician career change to a community hospital, you will need to address the certain factors in order to make a successful change in your professional life including:
1. Is this really what you want?
Although this may seem obvious, that isn’t always the case. The most important question you need to ask yourself is simply this: Why do I want to leave my current situation? Are you unhappy with your job (pay, hours, working conditions)? Tired of the office/care facility in which you work? Does your displeasure stem from your coworkers? More to the point, are you truly unhappy or simply feeling some restlessness? If the former, is your dissatisfaction mild, moderate or extreme?
Understanding your motivation for looking into a physician career change is essential. Failing to carefully examine your reason(s) may set you up for significant disappointment if you subsequently discover that you weren’t really dissatisfied or the grass wasn’t greener on the other side after all.
2. Is your family on board?
Changing jobs can be very difficult, more so if relocation is involved. It can cause discomfort and tension within a family unit, especially if your significant other or children are not in full agreement. Leaving friends, a school, or relatives who live nearby can all be very stressful and make adjusting to a new situation all the more challenging.
3. Do your research.
As the old saying goes, “not everything that glitters is gold.” Look into what the community hospital is offering. Find out if the culture is suitable for you. What about the community in which you will be living? Will you be able to advance your career? Reach out to your professional network to gain as much information as you can about any situation you’re considering. If your contacts don’t have the information you seek, they may know someone who does.
4. Find a career search firm that specializes in health care.
Making a successful physician career change to a community hospital can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. If you are feeling overwhelmed, a recruiting firm can help you find the placement that’s right for you. It’s what they do.
5. Be you.
Once you’ve found a desirable opportunity, let them see who you really are. Trying to be someone else in order to fit in is unsustainable in a small hospital setting and will lead to disappointment all around. Remember, this is about making a physician career change, not changing as a physician.
If you are ready to make the switch to a community hospital, take a look at what Elliot Health System has to offer.
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