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.