The closing weeks of residency often see emergency medicine physicians scrambling to line up employment. Most have been contacted by quite a few potential employees looking to bring them on board. Some have all but accepted positions while others are still holding out for a better offer. They all have one thing in common: the amount of preparation they undertook during their residencies will directly correlate to how they start their careers.
Medicine is one field in which it pays to be prepared. For the medical resident, preparing for that first job begins in the early days of residency. This post will outline the most important things residents should think about. If you are planning a career in emergency medicine when your residency finishes, start thinking about these things now.
Competition for Jobs
Doctors of all stripes are in high demand. Emergency medicine physicians certainly are. So consider that for every job you seek, there are probably a bunch of other residents chasing it too. You will be competing against the best of the best. Make sure you are up to the task. Prepare a solid CV, network in your local community, and research those facilities you intend to apply with.
Is it possible that you will land the perfect job on your first try? Sure it is. But is it likely? No. That first job you take might have to be something that really isn’t palatable. You might find yourself at the bottom of the proverbial food chain with nowhere to go but up. So shoot for an A-list job but don’t be surprised if you have to settle for a B-list alternative. You may have to go through several different positions before you land one you believe can carry you through to retirement.
Perhaps you’ve assumed that going to work after residency automatically means being hired as an employee at a hospital or after-hours clinic. That may very well be where you land, but there are other options. You could eschew traditional employment and go locum tenens instead. Maybe the locum tenens lifestyle is more to your liking at this point in life. It is something to think about.
If you were to choose locum tenens, you wouldn’t have to commit to it for the rest of your life. You could spend a few years as a locum before transitioning to permanent employment. And during that time, you could put a lot more money toward retiring your student loans.
Last is money management. You may have your eyes on a generous six-figure income you expect to receive with your first job, but there’s more to consider than the number of zeros in your annual salary number. You need to be prepared with some knowledge of sound money management practices before you start raking in the big bucks.
Remember that you have student loans that have to be paid. Remember that the real value of your six-figure income will be intrinsically linked to the cost of living wherever you choose to live. Remember that you are going to have housing expenses, insurance expenses, and so forth. And if you plan to start a family right away, that will tax your finances further.
There is a lot to think about during your emergency medicine residency. You have your whole life ahead of you. So as you look to embark on that life, prepare yourself as best you can for what’s to come. Think about your future now. Do not wait for it to arrive before trying to figure it all out.