Medical schools and residency programs do a tremendous job preparing students for the rigors of being a physician. But do they do enough to prepare them for actually finding the right physician job?
"It depends both on the medical school and the student," says Rebecca Dallek, M.Ed., ACC, and CPCC. "Students need to understand a medical school's job placement rate prior to entry."
Dallek recommends students look at the resources a medical school provides -- not just for the future practice of medicine, but for future opportunities as well.
"The more career support resources provided by a medical school and the more informed and involved a student is in their job search process," she says, "the more likely there will be a positive outcome."
Koushik Shaw, author or the Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Job After Residency, says the majority of med schools and residency programs have a significant disconnect between the study of medicine and the economics and business of medicine.
"They do an excellent job of the former, but a poor job of the latter," he says. "Most have no formal teaching in the business of medicine. This has been somewhat taboo, I believe, in the past, and may be partially responsible for the economic woes that many physicians face currently."
Physician job search
Before even tapping the skills needed to run a practice, those searching for the right physician job have to navigate the often complicated terrain of job searches and interviews. Not to mention do a little soul-searching to decide what ranks as the biggest priority. Serving particular populations? Earning the highest physician salaries?
"No one wants to help or hire someone who is wishy-washy," warns Dallek, a career and leadership coach. "Make sure you are very clear about what you want (i.e. specialization, areas of focus, preferred environments, etc.). I call this your Career Purpose. If you can't clearly articulate what you are after, no one else is going to come to your rescue."
Dallek lists a second critical factor in both searching and interviewing for a physician job: knowing why.
"Why do you want to be a allergist? How does it mesh with your interests, passions and skills?" she says. "This is your Career Brand."
Another useful piece of advice Dallek offers is to write everything down. This allows you to "tweak your purpose and brand over time."
And before heading out on the interview trail, Dallek reminds job seekers to practice, practice, practice.
"Would you perform a major surgery on your own without any practice and training?"
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