“Keep in mind that if your spouse or partner isn’t happy, you won’t be happy with your career decision,” says Mark Potter, M.D., director of the family medicine residency program at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago.
Now is the time to pat yourself on the back. You’re a physician ready to tackle the world after years of studying, long hours and low pay. Although you’re in your final year of residency, you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure about the future. You want to make wise practice decisions, but are you really prepared to do so?
Since you’ve worked exceedingly hard to reach this point, it’s important to spend time developing a career path for your future and avoid career mistakes.
In order to provide practical advice for residents upon completing their residency, PracticeLink Magazine sought the opinions of five physicians who focused on nine major mistakes residents should try to avoid. They believe these miscues will have a crucial impact on whether you will be happy with your medical career or not.
Mistake 1: Indecisive fellowship action
For many residents, applying for a fellowship or finding a job is a difficult career choice. Start looking for a fellowship approximately 18 months to two years before your residency ends—even if you’re not sure you want to pursue a fellowship, says Karen Dallas, M.D. Dallas is completing a one-year fellowship program with the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, in association with the Medical College of Wisconsin. “I waited until the last year, and it was almost too late,” she says. “When I applied, many of the programs weren’t accepting applications anymore.”
When Dallas was accepted for her fellowship at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin for her position as a hematopathologist, she received a letter of acceptance, which she signed. “There was nothing listed in the letter as to what would be required of me or exactly what I was agreeing to. The only information I had was the pay.” For example, she didn’t know whether she’d be required to do a research project or be on call every day. She thought it would be “worked out” when she got there. more »
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