Avoid Relocation Shock

Moving isn't easy for anyone - physician or family members - but there are steps you can take to make the transition smoother. A beat-the-blues guide that's required reading before you start packing.

By Marcia Travelstead | Feature Articles | Summer 2010


YOU’VE ACCEPTED THE POSITION and your family is excited about the move. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just snap your fingers and everything would magically fall into place? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. However, there are things you can do to make your move a more seamless transition and minimize relocation shock.

If you’ve been working with a physician recruiter, search firm or real estate agent, chances are you’ve gotten answers to several questions prior to accepting the position, such as the best parts of town to live in for your family’s needs and where the best schools are.

Kathy Murray, the senior director of recruitment partnerships of Cejka Search Inc. in St. Louis, says that through the course of conversations between the physician and the recruiter, the recruiter should develop a summary of information about the physician candidate and the family’s needs so that the interview team can tailor the interview to meet some of those needs up front. An example might be school tours. Murray says, “If the new physician candidate’s child plays soccer, then the organization should set up a meeting with another family who has a child that plays soccer. Mutual interests are important. If those kinds of things happen over the course of the interview, things are pretty well set up when the physician arrives,” she says.

Scout it out

Hopefully, you’ve had that kind of support and the opportunity to visit the community during the interview process. Whether that was the case or not, now that you’ve accepted the position, one of the most important steps you and your family can take prior to moving is to spend some time in the area. There may be time constraints, but if there’s any possible way, it’s a great investment.

J.P. Saleeby, MD, a general practitioner, has a medical concierge service called Carolina Mobile MD. He relocated to Bennettsville, S.C., from Savannah, Ga., about three years ago. He is in the process of moving 70 miles to Conway, S.C., later this year, partly because of changing hospital staffing, payer mix issues, and a greater opportunity to build his practice. But he’s also attracted by a wider variety of entertainment and social offerings in the new city. “Before committing to a new contract, it is definitely worthwhile to work a few shifts, weeks, or even months at the new facility, hospital or clinic. There is nothing more frustrating for a physician than to start a new job with great expectations and find out it was a mistake and life is miserable,” Saleeby says.


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