Unless we decide to open up our own medical practice, most of us end up seeking out employment after a decade of medical training. There are fundamental questions that we should ask ourselves, our family, and our potential employer before agreeing on employment. This will be the first of several entries dedicated to the greenhorn doctor.
While these suggestions are written from the perspective of a medical doctor, they are applicable to most medical professions (dentristy, nursing, physician assistants…etc) and even to other professions.
1. Geography. Do we need to live close to our extended family? Do you need to be in California? Do you want to pay for $4/gal gasoline? Do you need family help for childcare? In some ways, being tied to a certain region can make subsequent decision making easier. As we probably have already experienced during training, being near family and friends can determine the difference between happiness and misery.
2. Do you want to conduct research? Traditionally, research opportunities have been tied down to large university settings, but many hospitals and medical practices have their own research departments. This question has become less clear cut over the years. Obviously if you wanted to conduct advanced basic science or obscure research, you’d want to stick with a university setting.
3. Realize that perfect jobs rarely exist. Your dream career job might exist, but maybe you have to move Alaska to do so! (Nothing wrong with Alaska)
4. Realize that even though you may be a scientist, clinician, or healthcare worker, finances dictate our existence (to a certain extent). Make sure that you are getting compensated adequately for your level of education and time. (More on this topic in future posts).
5. Travel. If you are taking a travelling nursing position, consider the importance of family and how often you will need to travel, and how you travel (do you drive, do you fly, or take a ferry?). Such opportunities may be exciting initially, but may burn you out after years of it.
6. Realize that experience belies every opportunity. It might take two or ten jobs before you find a perfect one. In the process of finding a perfect career, you will make mistakes but you will also learn from them.
Questions? Sound out below!