Choosing your first job as an attending physician

By: Andwise Team

Published: Nov 7, 2022

📂 Financial Education

Written for:

✅ Residents and Fellows

✅ Early Career Physicians

We asked physicians to tell us what immediately actionable advice they have for graduating residents who are choosing their first attending job. Here's what they said:

Dr. D: "Don't let anyone rush you into a decision. You've waited this long, you can wait a few more weeks to get the ideal situation."

Our take:

At Andwise, we strongly urge graduating residents to take their time selecting an attending job rather than rushing into a decision. It's important for physicians to understand their financial needs, long-term goals, and desired lifestyle before accepting an offer. We recommend physicians take the time to explore all potential opportunities, evaluate compensation plans, and evaluate the potential opportunities at each organization before committing to a job. Doing so will help ensure they make the best decision for their future and provide them with the financial stability they'll need to achieve their goals.

Dr. S: "Make sure you understand the call schedule and what work hours are really like before you sign anything!"

Our take:

At Andwise, we emphasize how important it is for physicians to thoroughly research the work environment before signing a contract. Knowing the details of the call schedule, hours, and workload ahead of time helps you set realistic expectations for your practice and plan for the future. It's also important to take these responsibilities into consideration when considering compensation packages. A structured call schedule, ample vacation time, and an understanding of the actual work hours can all be invaluable when it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Dr. H: "Most important: does the hospital/clinic have a good EMR? You'll be stuck with it for years.”

Our take:

At Andwise, we understand the importance of choosing an organization with a comprehensive, reliable Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. A good EMR not only streamlines patient care, but also saves physicians time and reduces stress. When researching potential employers, it's important to take the time to research and ask questions about the EMR. How up-to-date is it? Is the interface user-friendly? Is the system reliable? Are there enough knowledgeable personnel to support it? Answering these questions ahead of time can help ensure you choose a job that enables you to provide the best care possible for your patients.

Dr. P: "Make sure you understand the financial arrangements, especially if you're taking on debt."

Our take:

At Andwise, we understand that physicians often take on significant debt in order to pursue their medical career. As such, it's important to have a thorough understanding of all financial arrangements that come with a job offer. It's important to review salary and benefits packages, as well as any additional perks or opportunities that come with the job, such as student debt repayment or loan forgiveness programs. Additionally, it's important to consider the long-term implications of the financial arrangement. Will this arrangement enable you to pay off debt? Is it financially sustainable for the long-term? Understanding all of these components ahead of time will help you make a more informed decision.

Dr. V: "Do your research on the hospital/clinic's culture, policies, and procedures. You don't want any surprises."

Our take:

At Andwise, we recognize the importance of researching an organization's culture, policies, and procedures before accepting a position. Doing so enables physicians to make sure they are comfortable with the environment and understand their responsibilities. It's important to ask questions, review policies, and talk to current employees to ensure there are no unwelcome surprises. Additionally, it's important to research the organization's history, policies, and procedures to ensure the organization has a track record of success and operates in an ethical manner. All of these steps can help ensure a successful long-term relationship with the organization.

Dr. L: “Don't sign anything without having an attorney look at it first.”

Our take:

At Andwise, we strongly recommend all physicians consult a knowledgeable attorney before signing any contracts or agreements. These documents are legally binding and can have significant financial implications, so it's important to have a professional review them to ensure they are in your best interest. Additionally, attorneys can also discuss any potential risks associated with the agreement, including any non-compete clauses or restrictions on the practice of medicine. Having a lawyer review the documents can help ensure you are making a decision that is in your best interest and provide peace of mind moving forward.

Dr. W: "Don't be afraid to negotiate! They expect it.”

Our take:

At Andwise, we encourage physicians to confidently negotiate when presented with a job offer. Employers expect and value negotiation, so it's important for physicians to make sure their needs and expectations are taken into consideration. This can include asking for a higher salary, increased paid time off, or a more flexible call schedule. Additionally, by negotiating, physicians may be able to gain more leverage over their practice and have more control over the type of work they do. It is important to remember that employers are looking for talented physicians, and that negotiating is a part of the job offer process.

Ready to take the next step? From Resident to Practicing Physician: Understanding Employment Contracts

With Chuck Kable, JD 🟢

1. Book Your Session

2. Unpack Employment Contracts

3. Secure Favorable Contract Terms

Choose a Time 🚀

Mastering Your First Employment Agreement: Tailored for newly graduated doctors about to sign their first employment contracts, emphasizing understanding over negotiation.

As you transition from medical school and residency to your first position as a practicing physician, navigating employment contracts is crucial. This session delves into the essentials of employment agreements, focusing on clauses such as non-compete, compensation structures, and malpractice insurance implications. Equip yourself with the knowledge to take control of your career.  Learn not just what your contract means, but how to manage it and your new employer to set yourself up for maximum flexibility with minimum hassle.

Disclaimer: This educational session provides general information on employment contracts in healthcare and is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will be created by attending this session. Consult a licensed attorney for advice on specific legal issues.

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