Career Path

12 Priorities to Consider During Your Physician Job Search

When it comes to choosing a new job, there’s more to consider than just salary or location.

Of Course You Should Consider the Tangible Priorities

These are the easily definable, openly discussed qualities of any role.
Tangible priorities can be clearly measured or predicted when considering a new potential job. These include things like salary or workplace size. Explore how these factors align with your personal priorities as you begin your physician job search.

1. Compensation
Physician salaries may seem straightforward, but there are a few different ways to get paid. Ask whether the position is salaried, part-time, full-time or on a Per Diem schedule.

While you’re assessing the compensation of a job, you may want to consider whether or not it would qualify you for loan forgiveness. Student loan forgiveness programs can save you upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Working full-time in an underserved area or for a nonprofit health system can qualify you for programs like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Look for qualifying factors in job descriptions or ask your physician recruiter.

2. Location
For some, it’s all about location. Where will you live and work? Some people prefer city life, where they have access to countless resources, more autonomy and the opportunity to specialize. Others thrive in rural areas, where they maintain a varied skill set, get to know the community and benefit from a high demand for their services. There are also things like climate and cultural aspects of location that can be a huge consideration when determining your next role.

With our job search page, you can easily search for jobs by specific locations, like New York or Alaska, or enter keywords like “rural,” so you can see positions in all the areas you’re well suited for.

If you have to relocate or you’re looking to buy a house, physician mortgages can make it more affordable for you to set down roots. Check with financial institutions in the area of your new job to see if they offer this style of mortgage. You’ll save money with low to nonexistent down payments and no requirement for private mortgage insurance.

3. Health System
What network or health system you work in will determine the policies that characterize your everyday life on the job. For example, if you had been working at a small private practice during when COVID-19 began, you would have been responsible for planning safety protocols for your office, whereas at a larger system, a team would have been devoted to doing that for you.

On our website, you can search by partner to look for positions at purpose-driven health systems ready to support you.

4. Practice or Hospital Size
The size of the hospital, clinic or specialty group you work at will also impact your day-to-day life at a new job. Maybe you’re looking for family physician jobs at a small practice or clinic system where you’ll have some independence. Or you’re seeking emergency medicine physician jobs at a large hospital where each day would be a new challenge.

The size of your team could also influence how much administrative work you’ll be required to do each day. At a smaller practice, you might see fewer patients while doing more administrative work for each visit. As an employed physician at a larger organization, you would see more patients per day but have a larger admin staff to help with refills, emails, insurance claims and more. Consider what size team would be right for you as you browse open positions.

5. Patient Population
What are the demographics of your potential patient population? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to treat Spanish-speaking patients, or you’d like to provide care to a less affluent population. The area where you work will influence the types of patients you work with and so will the type of hospital or practice you join.

Are you interested in working at a research hospital committed to discovering cures for unique ailments, a trauma hospital equipped to handle massive injuries, a rural hospital acting as a critical resource for a widespread population or a specialized urban hospital focused on a few specific areas of treatment? Be sure to explore these differences as you narrow your search.

And Then There Are the Intangible Priorities

Those less obvious factors that can make or break a job decision.
Intangible priorities can be incredibly important to your quality of life but are not always included in physician job descriptions. These are aspects of a job that can’t be easily measured or quantified; meaning, you may need to dig a little deeper to find this information.

1. Company Values
Ask what values are held by the health system you’re applying to, so that you can find the perfect fit. Each health system has its own mission and principles that inform their leadership styles and how they support their employees.

2. Work Culture
Every hospital or clinic has a unique culture based on the people who work there. Ask your potential employer or your recruiter what the community is like where you would be working. What makes that faculty or staff special?

3. Protocol Flexibility
Administrative support can make all the difference at a new role. Ask your employer how much of your day would typically be spent on paperwork, insurance claims and emails and what type of support staff would be there to help with this portion of the work.

4. Innovation
Certain healthcare organizations will bring with them special opportunities to work with new technologies or techniques. If that interests you, ask your recruiter what opportunities you might have at your new position to be at the forefront of progress in your field.

5. Schedule Flexibility
Ask your potential employer or your recruiter what your shift schedule, on-call hours and holiday time would be like at your new job. Most hospital physicians must work holidays occasionally. However, working in a clinic, you might find that your hours are more predictable; you could even have weekends off.

6. Growth Opportunities
If moving up to a higher role is important for your career plan, ask your recruiter what next steps would be available for you after the position at hand. Certain jobs have more promotional opportunities than others, and you should factor that into your decision.

7. Amount of Autonomy
Some positions come with a lot of oversight and many people to learn from, while in other jobs, you’re expected to lead yourself. How much independence would you like to have in your day-to-day life at a new job?

Intangibles Usually Tip the Scale

Consider which priorities are most important to you and write them down to help guide your job search. You might be surprised at what drives your choices. We place over 1,200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians each year, and we’ve found, for many of them, the intangible priorities are hugely influential — considerations like company values, work culture and protocol flexibility.

Working with one of our recruiters can help you gain a better understanding of the intangible benefits certain positions offer as you navigate your job search. We’re here to listen to your needs and answer your questions. Learn more about what we do and start the conversation today.