Your secret job-search weapon

In-house recruiters help physicians through the interview process—and into the best job for them.

By Charlene Plotycia | Job Doctor | Summer 2019

 

As a physician, you have spent a lot of your lifetime preparing for the moment when you will start your first “real” job. However, it is highly unlikely that you have had much time or experience actually searching for a job.

But now you are ready to make a commitment to build a practice caring for patients in an organization with values that match your personal values, in a community where you can live, play, raise a family and build a network of friends over a lifetime.

This is more than a temporary assignment with shallow commitments. You are about to embark on a major investment that will involve a lot of other lives. You need some help. You need someone who is an expert at finding jobs for physicians.

You need an in-house physician recruiter.

In-house physician recruiters help physicians find jobs. They work directly for the organizations for which they recruit, and they usually live in the communities to which they are recruiting. That helps them know the integrity, values and culture of their workplace and the personality and amenities of their communities. They’ll likely be one of your first contacts at the organizations you’re considering, and they can help you throughout your career.

What in-house recruiters do

In-house physician recruiters can help you:

  • Discover what you value in a work environment
  • Discover what is important to you in a community
  • Identify the type of practice opportunity you have envisioned for your present
  • Identify what practice goals you have for your future

Now, you may be thinking that you don’t know the answer to those four points—or maybe you do, but you won’t have time to dig deep into them before you have to make a decision. That’s where a great in-house recruiter is going to be your very best resource.

They can help you learn about the area

Your in-house recruiter wants to find an opportunity for you that fits you and their organization and community for the long haul. They want to provide you with information about what it’s like to work in their organization and in their community. They are about to invite you into their family—so, for your sake and theirs, they want to be honest and transparent with you to prove a match.

They dig into your family’s needs

Because in-house recruiters know that a balanced life is critical to a healthy life, they want to find out how you define your balance. What things must be proximal to your home? How long of a commute do you need in order to put work behind you? Do you want to live in a loft, in a gated community or on acres of land?

They help you imagine your next step

What do you envision for your practice? You may have experienced a variety of settings in medical school, residency and fellowship: academic and community, for-profit and not-for-profit, large group practices and maybe even solo practices. What have you experienced in each of those models that you hope to experience in your next practice? Is it present or is it possible with the opportunity you’re considering? Your in-house recruiter can tell you that.

They help you think about your future

What are your goals for the future? If you have something in mind, make it known. You may learn something important about the organization’s culture by the way this information is received.

If you come to an agreement that there may be a match, there is another important service your in-house recruiter will help provide: an excellent site visit that will take all your needs into consideration and help you see the community, facility, leaders and potential colleagues firsthand.

Never underestimate the ability and the willingness of your in-house recruiter to advocate for you, their organization and their community. They are determined to find the right match that will become a long-term relationship for all.

Charlene Plotycia is a physician recruiter at Mercy.

 

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Teaching mindfulness in medicine

Through retreats, a podcast, workshops and more, one physician educates others about the importance of wellness.

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Summer 2019

 

Physicians are not alone, says Kathy Stepien, M.D. “There is nothing in their situation that hasn’t been experienced by others,” she says. – Photo by Kaley McGoey

Name: Kathy Stepien, M.D., FAAP, MA, PT

Title: Director and CEO, Institute for Physician Wellness

Education

Undergraduate: University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse

Med school: University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle

Residency: Marshfield Clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Marshfield, Wisconsin

Stepien is a board-certified pediatrician who has a master’s degree in philosophy with a special interest in ethics. Prior to becoming a physician, she worked as a physical therapist for 13 years. She founded the Institute for Physician Wellness in 2016, a mission-driven organization with a goal to support self-care and the professional development of physicians and physicians in training. The organization provides continuing medical education workshops, conferences, retreats and consultations in North America and beyond.

What do you like about being a physician educator?

A big part of what I do as an educator is to bring people together and help them realize the majority of physicians are struggling with physician wellness. I enjoy helping physicians learn that they are not alone in needing to create a map for themselves that will help support wellness throughout their careers.

What surprised you about the work?

I did not anticipate how extraordinarily lonely and isolated many physicians feel. It is breathtaking at times to know so many physicians are struggling, and struggling to such a depth, to be able to simply do what they trained and love to do. We know that greater than 50 percent of physicians in America report symptoms of burnout: depersonalization, emotional exhaustion and decreased feelings of accomplishment. We know that numbers that high cannot be contributed to a personal trait of physicians; burnout is caused by a broken medical system. The model by which we delivery care to our patients needs revamping.

What advice would you give someone who wants to educate physicians?

First, I’d ask what it is you love. I teach on physician wellness because it is something I love doing and find incredibly important. I dislike the thought that people have given so much of themselves to medicine, so many years of education, training and work only to find they are miserable. If someone was interested in physician education, they should think about what it is that they enjoy. It may be pathophysiology, biochemistry, public health, or how to use a computer effectively to support our work. Topics are endless. I would talk with other physicians who are teachers and ask them what their paths looked like.

If they are already a practicing physician and are interested in teaching other physicians, whether it’s about physician wellness or whatever specialty they have, it takes reflection. They need to understand what their skills are, what skills they would like to develop, and how much time they have to commit to this versus their clinical practice and other responsibilities.

Anything else?

Physician wellness is not optional. It’s not an add-on for when time allows. It is essential to being an excellent physician. Want to be a great doctor? It must include self-care. I’d also like to add that every physician should recognize that they are not alone in medicine. While they may feel lonely or struggling with a variety of issues, there are physicians around them that they can reach out to. There is nothing in their situation that hasn’t been experienced by others. Personal and professional development occurs throughout our careers.

 

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Rashi Khanna, M.D.

Snapshot | Summer 2019

 

Rashi Khanna, M.D., tried several job-search tools—but PracticeLink.com helped the most. – Photo by Matthew Guillory

Employer: Cambridge Health Alliance, Boston

Residency: Fairview Hospital-Cleveland Clinic (2016)

In practice since: July 2016

Khanna enjoys swimming, cooking and traveling with her husband and daughter.

What surprised you about your first post-residency job search? I realized that finding the right job was not easy. There were so many aspects to look into, including schedules, benefits, salary. All in all, it was an extremely time-consuming process.

What’s your advice for residents who are beginning their job search? Analyze and decide early what you are looking for in a job. Make sure to interview early in the season so that you have options to choose from.

What was the most important factor in your search for a new job? My goal was to practice in a setting that offered teaching and academic opportunities that could help build my career along with a variety of patient populations to treat. Finding that perfect fit with a good work/life balance was a challenge.

How did you find your job? I tried different modes of search including contacts, friends, the SHM career portal, internet searches… But it was PracticeLink that made it so much easier and gave me what I was looking for. At the very start, I already knew that I wanted a job in a certain city, as my husband was moving for a fellowship and I wanted to be with my family.

How did PracticeLink help you in your job search? In the short duration of time that I had to find a job, it was getting difficult to look for all the opportunities out there by myself. PracticeLink was a savior. I found that PracticeLink asked all the relevant questions to narrow my job search and tailor it to exactly what I wanted. It was very helpful to be updated via emails about new job openings when they became available so that I wouldn’t miss any opportunities.

Any other advice? My two cents: Start early and use PracticeLink to find your ideal job, and you can’t go wrong.

 

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Physician, know thyself

Identifying your best work environment starts with asking yourself these questions.

By Marcia Horn Noyes | Feature Articles | Summer 2019

 

Tiffany Shiau, M.D., changed her specialty after a period of soul-searching. – Photo by Jonathon Evans

As Tiffany Shiau, M.D., neared completion of her medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical College, née Jefferson Medical College, many people gave her advice about which specialty to choose. Often, the refrain went something like this: “Hey, I did this rotation in ophthalmology, and I think it would be a great fit for you.”

Shiau knew ophthalmology offered controllable hours and fewer night calls, two of the lifestyle factors physicians covet most. After all, it’s the “O” in the so-called ROAD to happiness: radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology and dermatology. But when she finally decided on ophthalmology, she wasn’t just banking on a catchy phrase or her colleagues’ advice. She also considered her own experiences.

“At Jefferson, we were affiliated with the Wills Eye Hospital, one of the nation’s top eye institutes,” Shiau says. “Everyone there was amazing. And as a medical student trying to determine what daily routines are like for different specialties—as well as determining how happy people are in their field—I spent time considering whether I could see myself hanging out with these people outside of work.”

After weighing all the factors, Shiau gave a resounding yes to ophthalmology. She assumed it would be a good fit for her personally and began her residency in Buffalo, New York. Four months later, she left the program and switched to internal medicine.

“I came to realize that what other people say is just one input. In the end, it doesn’t matter how people see me unless they really know me. Only then might they have a better chance of understanding what values are important to me,” Shiau says. “During this soul-searching time, I asked myself a lot of questions: ‘What is my gut sense telling me? What feels like the right thing to do?’”

As Shiau considered those questions, she realized that although she liked the field of ophthalmology and the people she worked with, she didn’t like the procedural part of the work. In ophthalmology, she explains, “You can’t really avoid operating on people’s eyes.”

By the time med students reach their fourth year, they usually know what specialty and practice environment they want to pursue. Most make a straightforward choice and are happy with it, but that’s not always the case.

Shiau took an extended journey from medical school to the start of one residency to a primary care residency in an academic setting. Two and a half years later, she took a full-time clinician job on the West Coast, and she says she doesn’t regret one piece of the circuitous route.

The path from medical school to residency to practice isn’t always a straight line. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, almost 75 percent of medical students change their specialty choice before residency. Twenty percent of residents and 16 percent of physicians make a change and head in a different direction. The uncertainty can be daunting for medical students, who are steeped in a culture of perfectionism, accustomed to excelling in academic settings and trained not to show any weakness.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Taking a long look in the mirror is important for anyone contemplating a new job or career change, but it’s especially critical for physicians. Emergency medicine physician and associate director of an emergency department in Hartford, Connecticut, Joyce Perfetti, D.O., says you can get lost in the job otherwise. She explains: “Doctors love taking care of other people. That’s why we went into this profession. It’s easy to lose yourself in something that you love.”

Self-reflection becomes even more crucial when others are involved in a career decision. “Not only do I need to know what’s important to me, but I also need to know what’s important to my family, my partner,” Perfetti explains, adding that being honest with yourself is imperative during a period of introspection.

“When you are not honest with yourself and you don’t self-reflect on what your priorities are in life and how they balance with your work—whether those priorities are family, travel, health or working out—you are going to feel a loss, and your family might feel that loss as well,” she says. “There are other things important in your life, and you don’t want to sacrifice those. You don’t want to neglect your family, and you don’t want to neglect yourself.”

Not surprisingly, self-neglect is rampant as physicians juggle competing priorities. Often, they put professional obligations above their own needs and push their bodies to do more with less sleep. Physicians have been known to cope with work pressures in unhealthy ways, including consuming excess caffeine or sugar, skipping exercise and even using drugs. The joy of practicing medicine dissipates, and burnout hits hard.

Perfetti says burnout can be prevented by paying attention to mental health and taking time for recreation. “When you start feeling tired and on days off start losing interest in those things that you love, it’s perhaps time to work out, go for a hike with your family or take a much-needed vacation.”

In the long road to career satisfaction, the only constant is change. Your family situation changes. Your circumstances change. Your goals change. Perfetti experienced this herself during residency. Early on, she thought she wanted to work in a demanding environment, but by the time she finished, her priorities had shifted.

“When I went into residency, I thought I’d work in the busiest, craziest ER I could find. I wanted to see it all and be deeply involved in a trauma center. I thought I wanted that for life,” she says. “If I had stayed in that environment, I knew I would face quite a bit of burnout. Although I did love that for training—and I do love the aspect of it in terms of a long-term career—I didn’t think it was the right thing for me at this time in my life.”

Today Perfetti works in a busy community hospital. Although it’s not a trauma center, the emergency department does see some traumas, and that’s enough for her. “Right now, this is the best fit for me, because it allows me to see a lot of pathology,” she says. “I still see a lot of critical care, it’s just busy in a different way.”

Personal think time

Seeking advice from colleagues, family members and mentors can be helpful, but it’s most important to know your own mind. Your career path, specialty and practice environment are personal choices, and you need to consider for yourself how they align with your lifelong goals—not just someone else’s opinion. Digging deep to uncover your values, interests, personality and skills almost guarantees a richer and more satisfying personal life.

Oftentimes, asking yourself good questions is the most challenging part of reflection. You spend more time with yourself than anybody else does, but that time doesn’t always equate to self-knowledge. Unearthing your own preferences and tendencies can be difficult, but it’s the only way to find much-needed clarity. It will help you identify the ideal practice setting, patient population, specialty and work environment for you. It will also help you find a good fit when it comes to your employer and colleagues.

Questions for getting to the core

Expanding on the Greek maxim “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom,” Socrates taught that “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And it’s true—examining yourself will have a deep personal impact and help you reach your future goals. But self-reflection doesn’t have to be intimidating. There are no right or wrong questions, just different ways to approach the process. One easy way to start is by following this framework.

1 Consider your interests (your hobbies, passions or anything that captivates your attention):

  • What activities in my life kindle a fire inside?
  • What activities would I miss if I could no longer do them?
  • As a child, what types of activities did I do that led me into medicine?
  • If I didn’t have to worry about money, what would I be doing?
  • What gets me riled up? What problem in the world would I most like to fix?
  • What topics do I find myself always arguing against or defending to others?

2 Consider your personal values (your strong beliefs, personal missions and anything else meaningful in your life):

  • What is something true in my life no matter what?
  • What would I like to avoid in my future career?
  • What does quality of life mean to me?
  • Which core value can I not compromise on?

3 Consider your personality (your temperament and preferences):

  • How do other colleagues, mentors and family perceive me?
  • What kind of work environment best suits my personality?
  • What work environments would feel restrictive and stifle my enjoyment of medicine?
  • What type of colleagues do I like working with?
  • What type of patients do I like caring for?

4 Consider your strengths and weaknesses (your talents, abilities, skills and character):

  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is one medical task I love doing even when I’m exhausted and under pressure?
  • What do I fear when it comes to practicing medicine?
  • What have I done in my life of which I’m most proud?
  • Which failure have I turned into my greatest personal achievement?
  • Do I have a self-limiting belief, and if so, why do I have it?
  • What do I believe is my highest possible achievement in medicine?

5 Consider your family (your partner, spouse and/or children and what they want):

  • How will any decision impact my family or loved one?
  • Will this new work environment benefit my family—or take anything away from them?
  • Do I have the full support of my partner and family with my new job prospect?

By asking probing questions to uncover your deepest personal values and desires, you’ll be more likely to find the right practice environment. And if you’re still struggling to answer these questions, ask yourself one more: “Who knows me well enough to help me decide which work environment is right for me?”

For Shiau, a big part of her decision to trade an academic setting on the East Coast for a full-time internal medicine clinical setting on the West Coast was her desire to connect with people. “Ultimately, when my husband and I decided to move to California, I decided not to stay in academics because my personal values were to provide good, comprehensive, kind care to my patients,” she says. “Two and a half years into my first job, I knew I didn’t want to stay in academics any longer. I wasn’t dreaming up an educational project or anything like that.”

Self-reflection doesn’t end once you find your first practice, says Stefanie Gilbert Manuel, M.D. She sets aside time regularly to consider her goals and progress. – Photo by Whole Heart Studios

Self-reflection beyond the hire

In the two and a half years since she completed her residency, Stefanie Gilbert Manuel, M.D., has been practicing emergency medicine in Rockville, Maryland. She says that self-reflection becomes even more important as your career progresses. “The self-reflection piece drives the process of finding a job, while also giving a frame of reference or focus for the next steps a physician takes with future goals,” she explains. Without that introspection, Manuel cautions that it’s easy to get lost in all the different types of residencies and job environments.

Manuel spent time considering both her personality and preferences while searching for her first job. Right out of residency, she looked at a variety of job settings: academic, community-based, mixed, and those with a teaching focus. She then considered her strengths, weaknesses and values, and she evaluated how different settings lined up with these.

“For me, it was important that once I finished residency that I get out on my own and hone my skills, rather than taking an academic setting position where I would be supervising many residents,” says Manuel. “I needed autonomy once out of residency. It was important for me to formulate my own treatment plans and procedures for my own growth development, which would build confidence.”

As she went on to evaluate each employer, Manuel used specific criteria. First, she looked for physicians at each practice with similar backgrounds to hers, reviewed their track records and asked them for input. Next, she considered the makeup of group practice to ensure they embraced diversity instead of just talking about it. Finally, she evaluated the kind of support each employer gave to physicians working their way up to leadership roles

This self-reflection helped Manuel choose her first position. She signed with US Acute Care Solutions (USACS) because the physician-owned group’s values and mission aligned with her own. “In addition to the company being open and receptive to feedback, the group practice has a big push for women in leadership and embraces diversity,” says Manuel.

Now a practicing emergency physician, Manuel carves out time for ongoing introspection. “I have a note on my calendar, set for every couple of months, to go through and update my curriculum vitae. I spend time reflecting on what I’ve done and then line out the next steps and goals I want to consider.”

By prioritizing introspective habits, she finds she’s more able to remember and document her achievements, which will be crucial for future opportunities. Regular reflection also helps her make sure she’s continually stretching herself and gaining clinical skills.

Perfetti also works for USACS, albeit in a different city. Both emergency physicians value the leadership opportunities they’ve been offered. In fact, both recently completed the company’s year-long intensive leadership course, the USACS Scholars Program, which is designed to “mentor and develop acute care physicians with leadership potential into candidates for leadership positions throughout the company.”

The program is helping Perfetti accomplish goals she set for herself during self-reflection. Early this year, she moved into an administrative position and says it’s a good fit. “Prior to entering the Scholars Program, I felt like I was being drawn to the business aspect of things. I love seeing how the hospital works and also learning more about how the USACS works within the hospitals it serves,” she explains, adding that she’s been able to balance new administrative duties with clinical work. “I love emergency medicine, and I never want to leave it. I still wanted to work full-time clinically.”

Whether you, like Perfetti and Manuel, quickly find the perfect job or, like Shiau, you follow a labyrinthine path to career satisfaction, it’s important to set aside time for reflection. Considering your personal values, strengths and weaknesses will help you start your career on track—and continue to lead a fulfilling life. Because you can only know the right path when you truly know thyself.

Marcia Horn Noyes is a frequent contributor to Practice Link Magazine.

 

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Moving for work?

How physicians can manage through site visits and relocation when a new opportunity arises.

By Linda Childers | Feature Articles | Summer 2019

 

Ann Cheung, M.D., moved from Boston to the San Francisco Bay Area to begin her pediatric residency at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, drawn to California by the hospital’s excellent reputation and her desire to live on the West Coast.

But she didn’t realize the amount of planning it would take to move from the East Coast to the West.

While some physicians move to pursue new employment opportunities, others relocate to be closer to their families or to take on new career challenges presented by in-house hospital recruiters, physician recruitment agencies, alumni associations, professional membership organizations and more.

Though accepting a job as a physician in another city or state can be exciting, the actual move is often a time-consuming process. Considerations such as selling your existing home, securing new housing and transitioning your family to a new city can make it a challenge. Here’s how to make it less difficult.

Know what’s available

Relocation assistance for physicians varies from one hospital system to the next, but doctors typically receive funding to help with their relocation, as well as guidance in locating a realtor. Throughout the interview process, you’ll find out (or have occasion to ask) what the relocation package entails, and what temporary housing and moving expenses are covered.

Many hospitals will also offer a list of preferred relocation vendors, such as moving companies. Using a preferred mover could cut down on the paperwork you’ll need to complete; if you choose a company on your own, you will be asked to submit receipts for reimbursement.

At Phelps Health, a nonprofit community hospital in Rolla, Missouri, physicians are offered a competitive compensation package that includes a three-year contract, $35,000 signing bonus, a stipend from contract to starting date, and a $3,000 monthly student loan repayment, among other benefits.

“For physicians moving to the area, we also offer a $15,000 relocation package,” says Elizabeth Hedrick, senior physician recruitment and business development specialist at Phelps Health. “Because we’re a rural area, our compensation package is very competitive and includes helping physicians get their student loans paid off and enjoying 30 paid vacation days each year.”

In addition to relocation expenses, some hospitals offer physicians housing assistance.

“All of our residents are offered a $2,400 moving stipend and a $3,000 yearly housing stipend,” says Pamela Simms-Mackey, M.D., FAAP, director of the GME and Pediatric Residency Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in California. “Both are in their union contract, which is up for negotiation this year, and I expect that amount to increase as housing costs have increased over the past three years.”

Pediatrician David Burnham, M.D. moved his family from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. Add extra time to your job-search plan when moving out of state. – Photo by Timothy Gangi

Plan for a successful site visit

Before you plan to move however, you must successfully complete the interview process.

When applying for a job opportunity in another city or state, your initial interview will probably be conducted via phone or Skype. If that goes well, you’ll be invited to an in-person site interview to meet the team. These kinds of visits may include a tour of the facility and one to two days of interviewing with administrators as well as other physicians and colleagues.

As you schedule and complete the site visit, be prepared to be screened, background checked and asked for professional references.

The on-site job interview gives you an opportunity to determine if you are a good fit with the hospital, the team and the new community. It is important to arrive prepared. Conduct background research on the hospital or medical group you are interviewing with in order to ask specific questions about your role, expectations for the job and what your schedule might look like.

Autumn Ashcraft, provider recruitment manager for Borrego Health in Escondido, California, says it is important for physicians to remember that interviews are a two-way process. That means you should be prepared to not only answer questions, but also to inquire about issues such as performance expectations, goals of the institution, and how your skills can help them meet their goals.

“Ask about the organizational culture and expectations such as productivity requirements,” Ashcraft says. “It’s important for physicians to make sure they’re comfortable with their anticipated patient volume as well as the organization’s mission and vision.”

Ashcraft says it can be advantageous for a new physician to ask if it is possible to speak with another provider in the same specialty area and even shadow them for a specific period of time.

She stresses that physicians should be clear about what they are looking for in a new opportunity, the colleagues they want to work with and the type of schedule they want to maintain. Additional questions may cover what electronic medical records systems and other technology are being used in the workplace in order for you to determine how steep the learning curve will be.

For physicians who are not sure about what to wear to the site visit, recruiters say it is fine to ask.

Considering your family’s needs

Hedrick encourages physicians to involve their spouses in the process by bringing them, and if appropriate, their children, on either the first or second site visit. Though family members do not sit in on the formal interview, Hedrick says it gives them a chance to tour the area and meet with a realtor.

“If people are unfamiliar with Rolla, they often envision a rural area where chickens and livestock are crossing the roads,” Hedrick says. “The reality is we’re a college town that services six counties, so in-person visits can really give physicians and their families a clearer picture of what it’s like to live here and what the community has to offer.”

Hedrick and other recruiters regularly recommend realtors who can offer physicians and their families tours of homes and neighborhoods. In addition, these local experts can provide information on public and private schools, safe neighborhoods, transportation options and more.

Realizing that relocation affects the entire family, physician recruiters often work to make relocation easier for everyone by sharing what it’s like to live in the area and connect them with local resources.

Brittany Kulp, senior medical staff recruiter at Tower Health in Allentown, Pennsylvania, says she frequently introduces a candidate’s spouse to the spouses of other physicians during a site visit. Families who have lived in the area for a longer period of time can answer questions about things to do in the city, schools, clubs, churches, and serve as familiar faces to those who are moving to a new area.

“Sometimes we’ll treat the physician and their family to a day at a local zoo or museum so they can experience the area firsthand,” Kulp says. “It’s important to get the entire family’s buy-in and make sure everyone is happy in order to make the transition easier.”

Kulp recommends allowing time to tour neighborhoods and explore the community while on a site visit, especially if it’s an area you’ve never visited before.

Research the city where you will be working to determine if you can see yourself and your family living there.

Ann Cheung, M.D., moved from the East Coast to the West for her pediatric residency in California. – Photo by Christian Erickson

Budget for your move

Once she accepted a job offer to move to the West Coast, Cheung began conducting price comparisons to determine whether it would be more cost effective to move her belongings, such as furniture, across the country or to buy new furniture in California.

And though she didn’t need a car in Boston, she knew she would need one to navigate the Bay Area.

“I spent a lot of time figuring out whether I wanted to lease a new car or purchase an older car,” she says. “And since I accrued a lot of items between college, working and medical school, I used apps like LetGo to sell my belongings in order to save on costs.”

With the average California home selling for more than $593,000, Cheung turned her sights to renting and found another resident who was familiar with the area and was also looking for a place to rent.

“Buying wasn’t possible with either of our budgets,” Cheung says. “Fortunately, we were looking for similar things: a relatively short commute to work, safe neighborhood and reasonable price for the Bay Area. She was in the Bay Area so she would FaceTime me so I could look at potential apartments.”

“Many of our residents have roommates or significant others that they split their rent with,” Simms-Mackey says. “It’s rare for a resident to be able to afford to live alone or purchase a house in the Bay Area.”

Determine a realistic timeline

For physicians moving to another city or state, careful planning can serve to eliminate any potential surprises that might arise along the way.

Looking back on his move from Minnesota to Palmer Township, Pennsylvania, pediatrician David Burnham, M.D., wishes he had allowed for additional time in planning his move.

“I didn’t realize how long it would take to close on our new home in Pennsylvania or that obtaining medical licensure in a different state would take three months,” Burnham says. “I mistakenly thought both processes would be similar to Minnesota.”

Because they couldn’t move into their home right away, Burnham and his family lived in an extended stay hotel for three weeks after arriving in Pennsylvania and had to store their furniture and other belongings in a storage unit.

Although he is very happy in his new job and location, Burnham wishes he had started the job search process sooner and built in extra time for purchasing a home, obtaining licensure and becoming familiar with the new area. The timing, however, worked out.

“In retrospect, I’m glad we planned the move to coincide with our kids’ school schedule,” says Burnham, whose kids are 12, 15 and 21. “They were able to finish the school year at their school in Minnesota and then start the new school year in Pennsylvania.”

Conduct due diligence online

Thanks to the internet, researching the cost of living, potential housing, and different cities and states has never been easier.

Damon Davis, M.D., a urologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, says he was able to conduct a lot of research online before he relocated from East Lansing, Michigan.

“I grew up in the Baltimore area, so while I was familiar with the area, I was also able to look up things online such as school rankings and test scores for my three children,” Davis says. “I also connected with a realtor and supplemented that by looking at homes online and determining their proximity to the hospital and schools.”

Sites such as NerdWallet.com offer a free cost of living calculator that compares the cost of living in a physician’s current city to the cost of living in cities where they are applying for jobs. Niche.com has rankings of the best school districts in the country and links to nearby homes.

Planning carefully for a move, embracing resources that can make the transition easier, and anticipating the issues that may arise can make the move easier for your whole family.

 

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More drugs on the fast track

The FDA uses multiple processes to bring high-value drugs to market more quickly.

By Jeff Atkinson | Reform Recap | Summer 2019

 

In the last 20 years, the number of drugs that have been granted Fast Track status by the federal Food and Drug Administration has increased by more thAn five-fold. The program, which began in 1998, granted Fast Track designation to 21 drugs in its first year and 108 drugs in Fiscal Year 2017.

The program was authorized by Congress in 1997 through the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act. In the words of the statute, the program is designed to expedite development and review of drugs “for the treatment of a serious or life-threatening disease or condition” when the drug company demonstrates the drug’s “potential to address unmet medical needs for such a disease or condition.”

The goal is to get important new drugs and biologics to patients more quickly.

Origin during AIDS crisis

The impetus for the Modernization Act was the AIDS/HIV crisis, during the early stages of which there were no effective treatments. The first accepted Fast Track product was the AIDS drug Efavirenz.

Determination of whether a drug is eligible for the program involves consideration of multiple factors, including the drug’s likely impact on survival, day-to-day functioning, and the degree to which the condition, if left untreated, will progress to a more serious condition.

The FDA provides examples of such conditions: AIDS, cancer, heart failure, Alzheimer’s and severe bacterial and fungal infections. Diabetes, depression, and epilepsy also can be considered serious.

Methods of expediting approval

Drug companies can apply for Fast Track designation at any time during the process of drug development, including at the time of submission of the Investigational New Drug (IND) application. Under the Modernization Act, the FDA is directed to act on a drug company’s request for the designation within 60 calendar days of receipt of the request. In recent years, between 70 and 80 percent of Fast Track applications have been granted.

Once an application has been granted, the drug becomes eligible for different types of special treatment from the FDA. The FDA will meet more frequently with drug companies regarding Fast Track products than products that are not Fast Track designated.

In addition, drug companies can submit completed sections of a New Drug Application (NDA) or Biological License Application (BLA) and obtain prompt review rather than waiting for the entire application to be complete. This process is referred to as a “rolling review.”

The Fast Track program is one of four related processes for expedited review of certain categories of drugs.

Lists of approvals for New Drug Applications and Biologic License Applications are available at fda.gov.

Balancing speed and safety

Although getting new drugs to market promptly is desirable, the process must be balanced with the need for safety. The archetypal case of the need for caution is Thalidomide, which was used to treat nausea and difficulty sleeping in the 1950s and 1960s.

Thalidomide was widely used in Germany, but a drug reviewer for the FDA did not approve its use in the U.S. out of concern that there was not enough evidence about the drug’s safety. Thalidomide caused approximately 10,000 children, mostly in Europe, to have severe congenital deformities (phocomelia).

More recently, in 2012, Ponatinib was granted Fast Track status for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Within one year, the drug was found to cause a high frequency of serious adverse vascular events. Approval of Ponatinib was withdrawn, although it was later reintroduced for a much narrower class of patients for whom there were no alternative treatments.

Jeff Atkinson is a professor for the Illinois Judicial Conference and has taught health care law at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.

 

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Money talks

How to address the compensation discussion with prospective employers.

By Jeff Hinds, MHA & Justin Mongler | Financial Fitness | Summer 2019

 

“Do you have any salary expectations or requirements that we should know about?”

Conversations about compensation expectations or requirements are some of the most difficult (albeit some of the most important) topics to be discussed with a potential employer—and you can bet they’ll come up during the interview process.

As the interviewee hoping to secure the coveted job offer, it’s crucial that you fully understand the dynamics surrounding this question and the potential ramifications that exist regarding how and when the discussion occurs.

When to talk money

The general rule is to let the potential employer initiate the compensation discussion. A candidate initiating this conversation too early may run the risk of coming across as being too aggressive or motivated only by money—traits that could deter the employer from seriously considering you.

Though it does vary by employer, it is not uncommon for some variation of the compensation question to arise as early as the initial phone interview. While the specific numbers are not likely to be discussed or disclosed that early in the process, the question is typically used as a screening mechanism to filter out any candidates up front that may not be a viable option.

Candidates expressing unrealistic expectations can be eliminated earlier in the process before the employer has to spend additional time and resources to bring that candidate onsite. Regardless of how early the question arises, you should be prepared to respond accordingly.

How to best answer

To determine your best response, you must consider both the employer’s motive for asking this question, and how your answer may affect the eventual offer.

Any number you throw out has the potential to be too high or too low. If you disclose a number that is too high, they may immediately dismiss you from consideration if they have other candidates of equal caliber with lower expectations. Conversely, if you disclose a number that is too low, you could significantly decrease your potential offer if they were initially prepared to offer more than what you disclosed.

As such, your primary goal is to attempt to get the employer to disclose their number (or range) first. This can be accomplished in many cases by simply turning the question back around to the employer. The response could be as simple as: “This is my first position out of training, and I’m not entirely sure what I should be expecting or what is appropriate in your area. What should I be expecting?” Or: “Compensation is not my top priority; I do not have a specific number in mind, as I am more concerned with finding the best fit.” Some variation of that approach can help you avoid the risks associated with disclosing a number too early and allow you the opportunity to move forward in the process while also buying time to research or discover your actual worth prior to an offer being extended.

How to determine what’s an appropriate offer

There are a number of ways to research and uncover relevant compensation data to determine market value for your specific specialty. Possessing this data is invaluable after you have received the offer and proceed with the final compensation discussion and contract negotiation.

Employers will be much more receptive to compensation negotiations when you have the data to support your request versus throwing out random numbers. Employers will typically have a range within which they have budgeted for this position. Possessing the market data could help you maximize your position within this range. Employers commonly use compensation surveys from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) and Sullivan Cotter, among others, to determine market value for their providers. These are great resources for you to use, too, as part of your market evaluation.

In addition, there is great benefit to going on multiple interviews and collecting multiple offers. Not only are you then able to make the most informed decision, but you’ll also have multiple options to use as part of your negotiations.

In short, your leverage and ability to negotiate compensation on the back end is greatly influenced by the market data you possess. However, this data/leverage may become insignificant if you fail to approach compensation discussions appropriately from the onset of your search.

Jeff Hinds, MHA is president and Justin Mongler is vice president of Premier Physician Agency, LLC, a national consulting firm specializing in personalized physician job search and contract assistance.

 

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How to do your pre-interview homework

PracticeLink.com can help you learn more about an organization before your first call.

By Chris Scites | PracticeLink Tips | Summer 2019

 

As a physician, you face many decisions about where to practice. There are all kinds of factors: the distance you want to be to family; educational facilities available to your children; opportunities available to your spouse; distance to an airport—even how long it would take to get to the slopes if you happen to be an avid skier.

And that’s not even considering what type of organization for which you want to work.

Just like people, every hospital and organization is different. Even if they provide the exact same services in similar locations, there will almost certainly be differences among organizations’ cultures, how they operate, and their relationships with the community.

First, determine your search criteria

As someone who is looking to commit to an organization for the next two to three years or longer, it is important that you first determine the type of organization that you want to be part of. Keep in mind that when you start working for a hospital, they represent you as much as you represent them—so make sure your values align.

Is community outreach important to you? Do you hope to be part of an organization that is on the cutting edge of research and technology? How about being attached to a hospital that consistently ranks well in your specialty?

Like just about everything else in your job search, you will need to determine the criteria important to you first.

Then, look on PracticeLink.com

Once you have determined what you are looking for in an organization, use PracticeLink to help you pick out the organizations closest to what you’re looking for.

On nearly every posting that you find on PracticeLink, the employer has had the opportunity to tell you a little bit about themselves. Usually, they will tell you something about their organization and the community in which they’re located. Most have pictures of the facility and community, and some have videos as well.

In the right hand pane of the posting, you’ll find a link to the organization’s profile on PracticeLink where you can find out even more about them. All of this information helps you get a feel for the organizations you are considering.

It can also help you develop questions to ask the in-house recruiter about the organization when you contact them about a specific opportunity. The recruiter’s contact information is located near the bottom right of every opportunity on PracticeLink. Contact them directly to learn more, or register with PracticeLink to email them with your interest and CV.

Lastly, and most importantly, remember that nothing replaces a site visit. Even with the information posted on PracticeLink and the independent research you have done on the organization, you may be surprised with what you find when you are at the facility and able to speak directly with physicians and staff.

Chris Scites is PracticeLink’s physician relations manager. Reach his team for free job-search advice at (800) 776-8383.

 

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How tight is the job market in your specialty? Summer 2019 Issue

The PracticeLink Physician Recruitment Index can help you gauge the relative ease or difficulty of your job search.

Summer 2019 | Vital Stats

 

What’s your competition like? For job-seekers of all kinds, it can be hard to know. A simple PracticeLink.com search for opportunities in your specialty will give you an indication of the demand for physicians like you, but without knowing who else is vying for those jobs, it’s hard to get an accurate picture of supply.

How many other candidates in your specialty are actively looking for jobs at the same time? And how does that number correspond to the number of opportunities available?

That’s where the PracticeLink Physician Recruitment Index comes in. The Index is a relative indication of the ease or difficulty of job searches in various specialties based on supply and demand information gathered by the PracticeLink system quarterly. The larger the “jobs per candidate” number for your specialty, the better your potential standing in the market.

The change in rank reflects the specialty’s movement since last quarter.

The Most-Challenging-to-Recruit Specialties are those specialties with the highest demand-to-supply ratio in the PracticeLink system. The specialties on this list likely won’t come as a surprise to candidates; they’re often narrow fields.

The Most-In-Demand Specialties represent the specialties that have the most jobs overall posted on PracticeLink—specialties for which the demand for physicians is highest. For the Index, we then rank those in-demand specialties according to the supply. Those at the top represent specialties with the most jobs available and the fewest candidates per job.

After reading these Indexes, ask yourself: Do these Indexes match my experience of searching for a job in my specialty? Do I need to widen or narrow my job-search parameters as a result?

This PracticeLink Physician Recruitment Index was pulled April 2019. Candidate ratios include physicians who have registered with PracticeLink.com within the past 24 months.

 

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Live & Practice: The Great Outdoors 2019

By Liz Funk | Live & Practice | Summer 2019

 

Beautiful beaches, affordable cost of living and a tight-knit community are what Bobby Gulab, M.D., loves about practicing in Lewes, Delaware. – Photo by Tiffany Caldwell

In cities and towns around the country, getting outside is a way of life, and adventure lovers take advantage of nature’s playground whenever possible. In Rapid City, South Dakota, state and national parks offer jaw-dropping vistas. In Boise, Idaho, locals head to the mountains after work for night skiing. In Lewes, Delaware, residents and visitors alike play along miles of surf and sand. And in Austin, Texas, enjoying time outdoors is just part of everyday life—whether eating BBQ, listening to music or heading past the city limits to look at the stars.

Lewes, Delaware

The historic town of Lewes, Delaware, takes pride in its slogan: “The first town in the first state.” Founded in 1631, Lewes retains the charm of an old fishing village, but also boasts a vibrant culinary scene and a lively shopping district. In general, Southern Delaware is defined by its laid-back, beachy atmosphere, and it’s experiencing growth as families discover the high quality of life it affords. Plus, if you are a lover of watersports, there are miles of coastline to enjoy.

“It’s a privilege to be able to help care for people,” says Bobby Gulab, M.D. Gulab is senior vice president and chief medical officer for Beebe Medical Group in Lewes, Delaware. Gulab was born and raised in Delaware and completed his internal medicine residency at Christiana Care, a Delaware-based health system.

Gulab began to shift his focus from patient care to hospital administration during the economic recession in 2008. “When the economy was collapsing in 2008, there was so much talk about health care being a broken system. I felt strongly that physicians needed a better understanding of the business end of things,” he says. That’s when Gulab began pursuing an MBA with a concentration in health care at the University of Delaware.

Although Gulab leads the hospital on big-picture initiatives in his administrative role, he still sees patients two half-days a week. Gulab says that southern Delaware’s patient population is especially engaging, and there is a strong relationship between providers and the community they serve.

“We have a tight-knit relationship with the community, being a large health center in the area,” he says. “Doctors are really a big part of the community and provide a big service to the population; the Beebe doctors are well liked and very well-viewed in our community.” Gulab has special affection for Delaware, especially its beaches. “I think it’s great here. When I went away for medical school, I always knew I wanted to come back,” he says. “The cost of living is reasonable. It’s a good place to raise a family. We’re near the beaches. Our hospital is about one or two miles from the beach.”

Lewes sits on the picturesque coast of Sussex County. In Lewes, the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, giving beach-goers a multitude of options when they want to get outside and enjoy the sun and surf. Families with kids can splash in the gentle waves at Lewes Beach, while surfers and sport fishers can head to ocean waters.

According to Tina Coleman, communications manager at Southern Delaware Tourism, pretty much any kind of adventure is possible when you explore the great outdoors in Sussex County.

“Southern Delaware is a fabulous playground for outdoor adventurers; beach, boating and watersports lovers; bicyclists; surfers; and hikers and fitness enthusiasts of all stripes,” she says.

In Lewes, Cape Henlopen State Park is a can’t-miss attraction. It’s the place where bay and ocean meet, so visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and more. There is also a WWII historical museum, a seaside nature center, a nature preserve, a Frisbee golf course and a fishing pier. All in all, says Coleman, “It’s a dream of a state park.”

After agriculture, tourism is the largest economic driver in the region, according to Coleman. In the fall, there are festivals almost every weekend, including the popular Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddlers Festival. Year-round activities include restaurant weeks, sidewalk sales, garden tours, farmers markets, artists’ studio tours, history lectures, state park events and tours, and more.

“Southern Delaware’s beach communities have welcomed visitors and tourists for generations, so warm hospitality is baked in,” says Coleman. “With so many activities available for families to enjoy together, the area is most definitely family-friendly.”

When talking to candidates, Marilyn Hill, director of physician services at Beebe Medical Group, underscores the high quality of life that is possible in Southern Delaware.

“We have a number of things to do in addition to the water sports,” says Hill. “Lots of golf, cycling, runners. There are a lot of parades, a lot of community. It’s also very artistic and the dining here is really superb.” And, she says, the school systems are great.

Hill also says the state is known for its low taxation, including real estate taxes. That’s something that candidates might not know about the region, but it can be attractive.

Beebe Medical Center is a 210-bed facility located in Lewes, just blocks from the coast. The health system has satellite facilities throughout the region and is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion. When complete, Beebe Healthcare will have a new surgical hospital, an additional cancer center, two freestanding emergency rooms and a hybrid operating room. The hospital is already equipped with a 20-bed open ICU and a brand new da Vinci surgical robot.

Beebe is currently recruiting for family practice, internal medicine, hospitalists, endocrinology, critical care, pulmonary specialists, neurology, OB-GYN, dermatology and more.

Hill says that another feature of the region is its convenience to other locations. “We’re close to Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C.—even New York City in a day.”

Meanwhile, back in Delaware, Gulab enjoys the area’s tight-knit feel. “The towns aren’t huge, but people get to know you and your family and you feel like part of a bigger community,” says Gulab. “Rehoboth and Lewes have tons of restaurants and tons of activities and social opportunities. We’re a growing area that continues to grow and we have a lot of opportunity.”

Coleman agrees that Southern Delaware is perfect for “those who love a day-to-day laid back, beachy atmosphere,” but want to be within a couple hours of what the big cities have to offer.

On a nice beach day, though, it will be hard to find any reason to leave.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, is known for world-famous music festivals and has earned its reputation as the live music capital of the world. But it also has beautiful outdoor spaces, great food (barbecue and beyond) and endless activities for both adults and families. With a population that hovers around 950,000, Austin is home to numerous health care systems.

Waleed Abdelhafez, M.D., became fascinated with pediatrics while attending medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. On his rotation at Texas Children’s Hospital, he saw both standard pediatric cases as well as rare diseases and disorders.

“This experience allowed me to see how strong and resilient children are,” says Abdelhafez. “Their honest smiles and giggles is what drew me to becoming a pediatrician.”

He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. During that time, he did clinical rotations at several facilities, including the People’s Community Clinic (PCC), which has two sites in Austin. It was the rotation he enjoyed most.

“Community medicine holds a special place in my heart because I grew up getting check-ups in a similar setting,” he says. “That’s why I have dedicated myself to serving this population.”

Now a specialist in general pediatrics at PCC, Abdelhafez enjoys working at a mission-driven organization alongside committed colleagues.

“The providers and staff at PCC genuinely care and strive to provide the best health care to our patients as well as promote community resources such as cooking classes, summer camp programs, free lunches over the summer school break and much more,” he says.

In addition to providing primary care outpatient services, the clinic has a number of unique programs that aim to support its patient population.

“One of my favorite resources is our GOALS program, which helps facilitate communication with schools regarding school evaluations/testing,” says Abdelhafez. This program helps schools effectively manage conditions like ADHD and other learning disabilities among students.

PPC also has an in-house pharmacy to provide medications for uninsured patients. “We don’t only treat diseases, but also social determinants of health,” says Abdelhafez.

As a provider, Abdelhafez feels appreciated by his colleagues—and the feeling is mutual.

“Everyone is dedicated to providing exceptional care to our patients, but we also show our friends and colleagues appreciation for all their hard work,” he says. “This helps sustain our efforts to continue our mission of improving the health of the medically underserved and uninsured of Central Texas by providing high-quality, affordable health care with dignity and respect.”

When it comes to choosing a health care employer in Austin, physicians have options. Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas is the primary teaching hospital for the Dell Medical School. The university has three other teaching hospitals in the area, including a children’s hospital. All four hospitals are part of the Seton Healthcare Family, a network with over 100 clinical locations.

There’s also St. David’s HealthCare, a health system with more than 119 sites across Central Texas. The network, which is the third largest private employer in the Austin area, has a partnership with two nonprofits: St. David’s Foundation and Georgetown Health Foundation.

While the city undoubtedly attracts music lovers, there are lots of ways to enjoy Austin. According to Abdelhafez, Austin has the best barbecue in Texas. Pleasant weather year-round means it is possible to explore the great outdoors almost anytime you want. Austin is often ranked among the fittest cities in the U.S., and it helps that there are great running and biking trails. Austin residents can often be found enjoying Lady Bird Lake, a section of the Colorado River that was dammed off in 1960. It runs right through downtown Austin, and you will see people paddleboarding, river cruising and kayaking. People even come to the park to watch bats, which famously congregate under a downtown bridge.

Near Austin is Palmetto State Park, a forest with an array of tropical vegetation. There is also Pedernales Falls State Park, a weekend getaway spot popular for star gazing. To see Austin from above, try the short but steep hike up Mount Bonnell. The view is worth the trek.

During his time off, Abdelhafez likes exploring the city with his family. “We enjoy the outdoors and visiting different parks and trails,” he says. “We especially enjoy going to the Thinkery—my son enjoys playing and splashing in the water exhibit.”

For Abdelhafez, Austin—and PCC—was the right choice. It gives him the opportunity to work for an organization that provides high-quality care to the underserved in a specialty he loves.

Says Abdelhafez, “Not every day in medicine is a good day, but my patients and families always find a way to make me smile.”

Pediatrician Waleed Abdelhafez, M.D., enjoys serving the medically underserved and uninsured in Central Texas. – Photo by Brio Yiapan.

Rapid City, South Dakota

In Rapid City, South Dakota, you will find Western hospitality, awe-inspiring national parks and monuments, a surprising lack of traffic jams and no personal income tax. With a population of approximately 75,000, this city has opportunities for arts and culture, family-friendly activities, and of course, outdoor adventures. It serves as the economic and medical hub for the region, and one of the biggest draws for physicians is the fact that it offers great work/life balance.

Physicians who want to experience nature in its full splendor find lots to do in Rapid City. There are lots of surrounding national parks to explore, including the magnificent Badlands National Park. There is also South Dakota’s crown jewel, Custer State Park, which is famous for its bison herds, historic sites and lakes.

And of course, there is Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the iconic landmark that is just 30 minutes outside Rapid City. Whether you are moving to South Dakota or just there for a visit, it is something you have to see. The City of Presidents in downtown Rapid City is also a famed attraction, and will unveil its life-size statue of former President Barack Obama this year.

According to Julie Jensen, executive director of the Rapid City Convention Center and Visitors Bureau, you can’t find a more family-friendly community than Rapid City. Plus, the destination has “all of the big-city amenities, with a small-town ‘Americana’ feel.”

When work calls, nearly 5,000 physicians and other providers head to Regional Health, the area’s largest health care system. Through five hospitals and 25 clinics, Regional Health provides care spanning 32 specialties. In January, a new Orthopedic & Specialty Hospital opened that includes space for everything from surgery to massage therapy. Regional Health is currently recruiting for cardiology, endocrinology, family and internal medicine, neurology and more.

People from all different backgrounds and demographics are proud to live and work in Rapid City.

“City leaders, from our mayor and city council to our chief of police and Native American leaders, along with incredible public servants, deep-rooted philanthropists and our worship community, work daily to create the rich quality of life you’ll find in Rapid City,” says Jensen. “Neighbors take care of their neighbors; it’s just part of our western hospitality.”

With direct flights to Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Chicago and Charlotte, to name a few destinations, getting in and out of Rapid City is easy.

That is, if you run out of things to do in South Dakota—and that’s not likely to happen.

With events like the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo, the Black Hills Film Festival, countless family-friendly programs and distinct restaurants, all ages can enjoy what the city offers.

And when in doubt, you can get outside. With so much natural beauty in the region, places from the Badlands to the Black Hills will keep you coming back for more.

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho, sits in the high desert, right along the Boise River. It has been named a “Top 10 City for Active Families” by Outside Magazine, and adventure lovers will be delighted to discover how true that is. The city also has great food, breweries and wineries, and a thriving downtown scene. With expanding regional health systems, hospitals are evolving to meet the needs of the region’s growing population while maintaining their community feel.

In some ways, Boise is exactly what you would expect: a city with easy access to mountains, rivers and lakes. Breathtaking scenery is the norm here, and it is impossible to get bored outdoors when each season offers new recreation and exploration opportunities.

But in other ways, it surprises. If you have never visited Boise, you might not know that more people of Basque descent live in the Boise area, per capita, than any other place outside the Basque regions of Southern France and Northern Spain.

“In Boise, the Basque culture is alive and well,” says Carrie Westergard, executive director of the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau. To experience the culture, residents head to the Basque Block, where they can enjoy the Basque Museum, restaurants that feature Basque cooking, and the Basque Market, stocked with traditional wines and food. The Basque Center, built in 1949, offers community events like Basque dancing.

The lively downtown nightlife is another thing that might surprise you about Boise. But with a population of approximately 225,000 and a greater metro area population of around 700,000, Boise is the most populous city in Idaho. There is plenty to do here, even if you are less inclined to hit the ski slopes or hop on a mountain coaster ride. (More on that in a moment.)

Arts and cultural offerings in Boise include the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, the Boise Philharmonic, Zoo Boise, the Boise Art Museum, the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and more. If you are a sports enthusiast, you can check out the famous blue turf football field where the Boise State Broncos play or catch an Idaho Steelheads hockey game or a Boise Hawks baseball game.

So, about that mountain coaster. You’ll find that at Bogus Basin, a ski area with 37,000 acres available for downhill and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. During the summer, you can hike and bike the terrain, or ride the chairlift or mountain coaster for a different vantage point.

According to Westergard, in the summer, you will find residents floating on the Boise River, hiking or biking over 190 miles of trails in the foothills of the nearby mountains, or walking or running the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt, which snakes along the Boise River as it runs through the city.

“Each season offers the most amazing scenery changes and new activities to do outside,” says Whitney Clark, a physician recruiter at St. Luke’s Health System. That is part of what she conveys to candidates considering Boise.

“You get to live in a city that is large enough to provide great access and state-of-the-art health care, however it’s small enough that you can live 10 miles away from work and get to work in 10 minutes, rather than sitting in traffic for an hour,” says Clark.

St. Luke’s Health System is Idaho’s largest employer, with a 380-bed hospital in downtown Boise plus eight other hospitals spread throughout the state.

The organization is always recruiting for primary care specialties, including internal medicine, family medicine, hospitalists and behavioral health. As it grows its neuroscience departments, it is also seeking neurologists, neurohospitalists and doctors specializing in movement disorder, neurointerventional radiology and neurosurgery. The children’s hospital is currently recruiting for pediatric surgery, pediatric critical care, endocrinology, acute care surgery, cardiology, hematology/oncology and orthopedic surgery, among other specialties.

According to Clark, St. Luke’s has been named a top 15 health system in the country for five consecutive years by IBM Watson/Truven Health Analytics. It offers the only children’s hospital in the state and is currently the only Idaho hospital to provide allogeneic transplants.

“St. Luke’s is leading a transformative change right now with population health and moving from fee-for service to value-based care,” says Clark.

According to Clark, the physician and employee experience also makes St. Luke’s stand out.

“St. Luke’s is great because while it’s a large health system, it’s still a small community. I have met our wonderful president and CEO, Dr. David Pate, on a few occasions,” says Clark. “In fact, just last week he served me food at the employee appreciation holiday meal. It’s amazing to be able to work for a large organization and still feel like your voice can be heard.”

The fact that St. Luke’s is locally owned and operated makes a big difference too, she says.

“I love knowing that the people helping make decisions live here in Idaho and know what’s best for us.”

 

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