The Whole Package: What to Consider Before Accepting a Position!

Craig A. Fowler Staff Writer

When you begin looking at practice opportunities you will be bombarded with advertisements, emails, and phone calls. This onslaught will only continue to increase, as the physician shortage gets worse before it gets better.

Try to evaluate all opportunities presented to you by comparing them against one another based on these 4 criteria: Quality of Life, Quality of Practice, Geographic Location, and Compensation.

Quality of Life includes the amenities of the community, the climate, crime, schools, and housing options. Ask yourself, what will my life (outside of work) be like, if I move here? Yes, eventually there will be a life outside of work.

Quality of Practice is everything work. Do I see myself working well in this practice? What will I be doing everyday? Evaluate the physical plant. How busy will I be? Enough? Too Much? Think about the culture of the practice. Do we view medicine the same way? Mentally put yourself in the practice and imagine spending your career working with the people there and in the physical location.

Geographically is this place a fit? Where will I (my family) be most comfortable? This could be a great time to consider looking at positions in parts of the country that have never been considered? Between the Internet and Big Box stores, most anything that one wants to purchase can be acquired most anywhere. Climate and culture certainly play a role, but the real question on geography, is: “Can I get to an airport in a reasonable time to visit family or to vacation?”

Financially, the big questions are: Am I being compensated fairly for the work that I am going to be doing? What is the cost of living compared to the national average? Some things to consider in an offer are: benefits, cost of living, bonuses, paid time off, CME allowance, student loan repayment, relocation, and the payback terms for sign on bonuses, relocation, or student loan repayment. Also, keep in mind that an income guarantee agreement and an employment agreement are not the same.

In order to answer these questions effectively, you’ll need to ask yourself what is important to you and your family in a move. Think about the 4 areas discussed above and create a benchmark. A minimum set of goals and standards that you don’t want to go below when accepting a new position; then think about what areas you are willing to compromise on. Because even though we are in a physician friendly market, you will need to be flexible in some areas, as Utopia doesn’t exist, yet!

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