Becoming a physician is a long, arduous journey. After many years of hard work, you finally reach the point of completion and begin your career as a physician. As you embark on the next steps of your vocation, one important factor must be determined… Where to locate your practice?
Choosing your location is an important decision and one that should not be made solely based on the clinical nature of the job. Due to my years of experience, both working directly for hospitals and as a third-party physician recruiter, I would suggest the following factors to consider:
1) Geographic Location
When choosing to relocate, there are many geographical factors that can sway your decision such as optimal climate and desirable neighbourhoods. It’s important to keep in mind that although these factors can be very tempting, there are future life changes that may also be important to consider such as career opportunities for your spouse, proximity to desirable schools and the growing needs of a family that may come your way.
When considering the clinical aspect of the role, you need to take into account the following:
Are there enough patients to ensure both clinical competency as well as financial goals?
Is the patient population a group that would consistently need the clinical services you provide? Has the hospital invested in the needed equipment and budget for continued investments over time?
Have they completed a resources plan for the department in order to forecast future hiring and investment?
3) Relationship with Administration
What is the relationship like with the hospital or clinic administration? Given the interdependency with other healthcare providers and administration, these relationships will have a great impact on the environment you work in. The better the relationship the better the environment.
4) Market Share
The hospital or clinics reputation in the region and their market share is important and can potentially impact the clinical volumes and access to resources in the area.
Depending on personal preference, you will want to explore what opportunities exist for continued training as well as leadership development. Look into what affiliations they have with external academic organizations and teaching prospects.
Compensation can be a key factor, however if you don’t have favourable responses to items 1 to 5, no amount of money will make it a great place to work. Keep in mind that a relocation allowance is not an incentive or bonus, but rather a resource that will make the process of relocation less daunting to tackle.
7) Recruiting Process
Lastly, I believe that the relationship you build during the recruitment process will be a good indication of the brand and culture of the organization and how helpful they will be as you go through the licensing and credentialing process.
Thankfully the process usually transpires over several months and thus allows the time to ask these questions and examine the fit. Physicians don’t move frequently so ensuring a thorough decision process at the start gives the best chance of a long-standing mutually beneficial environment.