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How Can Residents Find the Best Place to Practice Medicine?

How Can Residents Find the Best Place to Practice Medicine

It’s that time of year again, when Modern Healthcare comes out with their list of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare. The names of the top 100 organizations were published in August, and the full coverage — including numerical rankings, articles and advertisements from the top rated organizations—was published in the magazine’s October issue.

While the rankings have some degree of subjectivity, I always enjoy reading what these diverse healthcare organizations are doing to attract and keep their medical staff, and what they seem to have in common. Staff Care works with many of these organizations, as well, so it is nice to see them get the recognition they deserve.

Here are a few common strengths usually noted among the top ranking employers:

  • Commitment to overall excellence and quality patient care
  • Positive organizational culture that promotes teamwork and staff appreciation
  • Strong orientation and training programs, as well as career development opportunities
  • Competitive compensation packages
  • Benefits that help staff members balance career and family life
  • Pleasant physical environment and modern facilities
  • Ample resources and supplies, including the latest medical equipment and technology
  • Efficient organizational systems that minimize red tape and allow staff to solve problems

When residents are looking for a workplace to call home, they often instinctively know that they want a practice setting that can offer these things, but they don’t automatically know how to find it. And one size does not fit all. How can they know for sure that an employment setting is going to suit their needs — and their preferences — especially before signing a long-term contract?

Along with reading reviews of the best places to work, a new physician needs to consider location, practice setting and overall “fit.”

The choice of location can be fairly straightforward for some, based on family and lifestyle choices, but others can find it more difficult. Still others are up for an adventure, and flexible enough to consider a number of options.

The most uncertainty about the job search, however, seems to center on finding the right type of practice setting. Each physician has to decide: will he or she prefer working in a clinic, hospital, single-specialty group, multi-specialty group, community health center, or government setting (i.e. the VA)? Once that is decided (or at least narrowed down), finding the specific workplace where they want to start their career is that much easier.

Residents can try a practice setting on for size

Today’s younger generation of physicians are more choosy in many ways than their predecessors; although they are ready to jump into the medical arena and make a name for themselves, they also want to strike the right balance between work and other aspects of their life. They want to make a decision they can live with—literally.

That’s why more and more residents are discovering that one of the best ways to choose their first long-term practice setting is through a short-term locum tenens assignment.

These temporary assignments— which can range from just a few weeks up to a year or more—can help a physician experience different healthcare facilities and locations before considering a permanent position. Residents can even ask their recruiter to work with a facility in their chosen location that is looking for a permanent physician in their specialty; this gives both employer and physician a chance to see if they might be a good match.

Healthcare facilities also benefit from bringing in new physicians for temporary assignments because they have a broad range of medical knowledge and the latest training under their belts.

New physicians who choose to work locum tenens can get:

  • Free career consulting and job search assistance, for as many assignments as they want;
  • Help obtaining a state license where they want to work (Staff Care has an in-house licensing department, for instance);
  • Placement in a practice environment that they want to try—including help setting up interviews and site visits, contract negotiations, etc.
  • A myriad of key details taken care of, and paid for, on their behalf: housing, travel arrangements, malpractice insurance, hospital privileging, etc.
  • A good pay rate that allows them to earn a nice living and start paying off medical school debt.

If you’re looking for that first job in medicine

For residents who are trying to decide on the right location and practice setting, locum tenens can offer a great solution. But make sure you get the right help. Look for a staffing firm that works with a large network of hospitals and medical facilities, has a quality reputation (such as Joint Commission certification) and employs professional consultants who will take the time to understand your needs and will help you find the right position—for both the short- and long-term.

Reading up on the best places to work helps you know what to look for in a potential employer, but sometimes the best thing is to try it for yourself.

Gary Hart, MBA, serves as divisional vice president of primary care and surgery specialties for Staff Care, an AMN Healthcare company certified by the Toint Commission for locum tenens staffing. He has held several leadership positions in healthcare staffing throughout his career, and continues to share his passion for continuous improvement and workforce solutions with his team members and the company’s clients.