Career Move: Locum tenens physician

Travel, extra income and flexible scheduling can attract physicians to locum tenens opportunities.

By Marcia Travelstead | Career Move | Winter 2012

 


Name:
Avishai Meyer, M.D.
Title: General surgeon
Employer: LocumTenens.com
Education: Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel. Residency at University of Colorado, Denver and University of Nebraska, Omaha. Fellowship at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

What do you like best about being a locum tenens physician?
I’m a locum tenens physician on weekends currently in Pierre, S.D. I like the ability to interact with and provide medical care to a rural population in need. Also, it enables me to see what it’s like in the real world of a surgeon. As a fellow at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, I am sheltered from the burden of blame, if you will. Working as a locum tenens physician gives me a taste for what it’s really like to be a doctor and incurring the entire responsibility of the care I am giving. That’s scary but welcome. It’s not just being carried by the attending. I’m doing it myself.


Is there anything you don’t like about it?
It’s sad to be away from my family. I happen to have a 6-week-old child, so not being around is a little upsetting. We also have a 2-and-a-half-year-old, so it’s difficult for my wife. I’m not there to help out. That would be the only complaint I have about it, but that’s my choice.

Why did you choose to practice locum tenens?
I’m making extra money, so I’ll be able to facilitate good things in the near future. Weighing the pros and cons, I thought it was definitely a pro. At this stage of the game, I can only give them weekends. I plan to do this weekend work for a long time.

It’s hard when you’re still in training. You don’t make much money, and you still have student loan debt and those kinds of things. One thing I do have is motivation and the ability to work.

Does the locum tenens company pay for your airfare and lodging while you are away from home?
Yes. My only out-of-pocket is for food and entertainment.

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MBA options abound for physicians

By Laurie Morgan and Joe Capko | Uncategorized | Winter 2012

 

For most physicians, simply embracing the benefits of cultivating business skills on your own will be a big career boost.

Beyond this, if you’re looking for practical knowledge to sharpen your business law skills, do better at marketing your practice or simply maximize your personal investments, tapping into local undergraduate night classes or distance learning might be all the academic structure you need.

But what if your future goals include advancing in hospital administration, setting public policy or launching a biotechnology start-up?

In those cases, acquiring the full MBA credential might be attractive—or even essential.

To earn it, stopping out on your career to attend a full-time, two-year MBA program is one way to go. This approach can be a good fit if your career aspirations point beyond the clinical setting (for example, if you’re interested in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, entrepreneurship or venture capital in the health care field).

Many M.D.s choose their graduate business program with their industrial objectives in mind. For example, prestigious programs located in biotechnology hubs will attract like-minded classmates and could make job-searching easier after graduation.

For physicians who don’t want to stop working while earning their MBA, or don’t intend to change employers, an evening-weekend program is an option—albeit a potentially grueling one for doctors with busy calendars. These programs typically take three or more years to complete, with curricula very similar to their full-time counterparts.

A third alternative, the executive MBA or EMBA, is tailored to the needs of more established working professionals. These programs usually combine distance learning with intense on-campus bursts of study, sometimes over four-day weekends or several one-week stints over the duration of the program.

Increasingly, universities are offering EMBA programs specifically tailored to medical professionals—a big advantage for physicians.

The curriculum of a physician-targeted EMBA program typically includes health care related content (incorporating, for example, case work that doctors can readily relate to).

What’s more, doctors often value the opportunity to study alongside medical peers—driven, highly accomplished professionals with similar gaps in their business knowledge and experience.


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4G or bust

Physicians find 4G tablets and smartphones alluring. The advantages are significant - if not game-changing,

By David Geer | Tech Notes | Winter 2012

 


It is no secret that physicians are giving increasing approval to medical applications of tablets and smartphones. The increasing demand for tablet- and smartphone-ready medical software speaks volumes on this. Anyone who has had a moment to catch a glimpse of the latest advertising has heard of 4G (Fourth Generation wireless) and the marked increases in speed, quality and convenience its vendors vow.

But everyone knows what you see in an ad and what you get after committing to a new device and plan can be two different things. Will 4G and its attendant devices lend momentum to mobile device uptake? Let us hear what doctors who are putting them into practice have to say.

 

From HTC EVO 4G to Motorola PHOTON 4G
The Motorola PHOTON 4G is available for $199.99 (with plan).
Gregg M. Alexander, D.O., a pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics, Inc. in London, Ohio, sees 25 to 30 patients daily. He also performs C-sections and treats newborns at Madison County Hospital in London. Alexander recently upgraded from the HTC EVO 4G to the Motorola PHOTON 4G. He gifted his wife with the EVO.

“My wife needed a phone upgrade, and I was eligible for an upgrade myself. I had been looking at different options,” he says. “The PHOTON is definitely more of a business workhorse than the EVO.” In Alexander’s experience, the PHOTON makes social networking applications such as Twitter and Facebook easier to use. The phone is compatible with Android medical apps. It is globally friendly, switching over easily to European cell systems for physicians who may travel there.

“It also has a nice look and feel and reboots very quickly. The EVO has a long boot process. But the PHOTON is very fast. It almost boots like an iPhone or iPad,” Alexander says.

Speaking of looks, the Motorola PHOTON 4G comes with two cameras, one in front and one in back. The front camera enables video chat with high quality and no skips, stalls or buffering. Alexander uses the PHOTON’s embedded rear camera for medical recording. “If I am examining a patient, I can capture an image of a rash, for example, using the phone’s 8MP camera. This is very handy,” he says.

But Alexander’s favorite feature is the impact the speed of the PHOTON and its 4G connection have on viewing and using medical applications. “I use Peak Practice, which Allscripts acquired when it purchased Eclipsys. It’s an EHR application,” Alexander says. Alexander uses the application through LogMeIn Pro. “I notice the difference when using Peak Practice where 4G is available while I am traveling,” Alexander says.

Despite those features he treasures, Alexander interjects that he does have a wish list of features and capabilities he would still like to see on 4G smartphones.

“The biggest thing is the interoperability factor. I would like to be able to use Microsoft Excel or Word on the device, sync that with my PC, and share those documents,” he says.

He would also like to be able to use telemedicine and remote telepresence applications on a 4G smartphone.

“I am in touch with people who are doing telemedicine and telepresence who are looking at using smartphones for online consults and on-the-spot consults without having to find a telemedicine conference room for it,” Alexander explains. He is also interested in using 4G to tie into patient communication applications to communicate with patients more. “I would like to make more use of social media, which will empower the physician-patient relationship,” he says.

The phone has some empowering hardware options too. Doctors should consider acquiring the compatible HD Station, which enables physicians to attach the PHOTON to a computer display, wireless keyboard, mouse and memory stick. Physicians can start calls from their computer displays and work with their browser windows simultaneously for multitasking. They can even launch calls by selecting a phone number on a website without having to key it in manually. A separate in-car navigation dock converts the PHOTON 4G into a GPS device.

The phone comes with IT policies for enterprise use, which can help enforce compliance with regulatory requirements. It is loaded with multiple messaging and web apps with access to many more. With a dual core processor and 1GB of RAM, this phone competes on speed with some tablets. The PHOTON 4G connects with both 3G and 4G hotspots when roaming for continual connectivity.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G as MiFi
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with 4G is $529.99 with a new contract.
A practitioner in family medicine, Pennie Marchetti, M.D., of Primary Care Physicians of Stow (Ohio) also acquired her 4G device as part of an upgrade. Though the tablet enables Marchetti’s mobile office, it might not be in the way that most people would think. “I use it as a MiFi device to connect my Lenovo to the Internet when on the go,” Marchetti says.

A MiFi device connects to the 4G wireless network, then makes that connectivity available to other devices via WiFi. With the Galaxy Tab, Marchetti takes her own WiFi hotspot with her wherever she goes.

EMRs and faxes come in all the time that require Marchetti’s signature. “I can do the paperwork in the car while someone else drives and keep it from piling up,” she says. The tablet is a critical tool for Marchetti to get her work done in a timely fashion.

That work includes receiving EHRs, answering phone messages, communicating with staff, ordering refills on prescriptions, and checking lab results all while connecting through the 4G tablet.

“I reach the office securely through a VPN connection that extends easily over the WiFi and 4G networks. I can then use the eClinicalWorks software on my notebook to complete my work,” Marchetti says.

The device also has built-in GPS, which Marchetti uses when traveling, and the ability to log on to secure messaging sites so she can communicate with her patients.

“It boots quickly, sets up easily, has a lengthy battery life of about eight hours and the 4G connection is strong and consistent all the way from Akron, Ohio, to Ithaca, N.Y., with very few dropped connections,” Marchetti says.

Finally, all that tablet speed and endurance saves time. “It has saved me hours of work that I would have to complete on my return to the office. It has made the work more efficient, and I don’t have to worry about old work when I get back, just today’s work,” she says.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab comes with a 10.1-inch touchscreen display, 1280 x 800 HD resolution, a fast NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz chip, and 1GB of RAM memory. The device measures 0.34 inches thin and weighs 20 ounces. A keyboard dock for full legacy keyboard access is available separately.

The Samsung Galaxy S smartphone
The Samsung Galaxy S smartphone is $99.99 with a new contract.
Pedro A. Ballester, M.D., a family physician with a practice in Warren, Ohio, adopted his first smartphone with the Samsung Galaxy S. Though most of his use of the device is not for medical purposes, he does use Epocrates, Medscape, and other medical applications on it.

“I am torn about the lack of a keyboard. I sometimes wish I had a big touch screen or slide keyboard on it, but that would make the device more bulky,” Ballester says.

He would also like to see some kind of verification process for easier login on hospital networks when he first arrives. “I wish there was some way to login automatically and use the hospital’s resources as soon as I am in range of the network. It would be helpful to have access to Epocrates and Medscape as soon as I walk in, some sort of handshake protocol so I am immediately able to use the local WiFi network instead of having only guest access,” Ballester explains.

The phone has a front camera for video chat that uses the QIK video application from Skype and a rear 5MP camera suitable for taking photos or HD video. Busy physicians can use the device as a mobile hotspot and a WiFi phone.

For the physician who has to have more speed today, 4G smartphones and tablets abound with more in the works. With real-time video chat, high-resolution medical image capture, increasing support for social networking, more efficient access to medical apps, GPS navigation tools, and global roaming not the half of it (and discounts for those who choose to upgrade), there’s a lot to consider in the new world of 4G wireless.

David Geer is a frequent contributor to PracticeLink Magazine’s Tech Notes department.


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Doing things the MBA way

Essential business skills physicians need to know.

By Joe Capko | Feature Articles | Winter 2012

 

Ask a doctor why he or she decided on a career in medicine, and you might hear a mix of reasons: a yearning to help people; a keen interest in science; desire for a role that commands respect. Maybe some will even admit to wanting a potentially lucrative career that is also prestigious.

One thing you probably won’t hear, though, is a longing for a management role in a $3 trillion industry—even though that is another way to describe what being a physician means today in the U.S. health care system.

Lack of appreciation for medicine as a business—and reluctance to develop business skills—can hold new doctors back, making it harder for them to reach their primary goals of providing excellent patient care and achieving enduring career success and financial security.

“It’s a travesty that physicians do not receive a business education,” says Maria Young Chandler, M.D., MBA, associate clinical professor of pediatrics and management, University of California, Irvine and chief medical officer of The Children’s Clinic, a six-site nonprofit health center in Long Beach, Calif. “Medicine is a business. Without business skills, physicians could find themselves swimming upstream.”

After as much as 10 years of post-graduate education, though, getting an MBA may not be appealing or feasible for many young physicians. The good news is, any physician can become more conscious of the business aspects of the health care field. more »

 

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Is your CV Helping You?

The key to a successful CV? Tailor it to the specific opportunity.

By Jon Vanzile | Feature Articles | Winter 2012

 

Lanny Turner, M.D., knew he had a CV problem when, after years of practicing emergency medicine, he realized his CV looked “like a rap sheet.” “I had updated my CV three years before,” he says. “But it was an uninteresting collection of credentials. I knew I needed to reboot.”

It mattered because Turner was considering branching out in his career, switching from emergency medicine, where he’d practiced in St. Louis hospitals, to a career in private industry.

Thus began a “fairly painful” process of revamping his CV. During this process, Turner worked with a career coach who kept pushing him to expand his view of a CV beyond a simple list of credentials and qualifications.

“He would keep sending it back to me and say, ‘What are your competencies and why? Tell me the most important and valuable things you’ve learned,’” Turner says.

At the end of this process, Turner had transformed his clinical CV into a tightly focused two-page document that told a story beyond his hours in the emergency room or classroom. It provided a narrative of his career, including challenges met and overcome, leadership positions, and the kinds of skills that are hard to include in a list of academic and professional certifications.

With his new document in place, Turner hopes to complete his transition from emergency room doc to consultant for medical venture capital firms.

Yes, going into private industry from a clinical career changes everything—including how you format your CV and what you include in it. But it doesn’t require a career shift to trigger a CV overhaul.

See also: CV Essentials

For example, if you’re looking for a new clinical practice, don’t feel pressured to provide a 30-page CV that includes every article you’ve ever published or CME course you’ve ever attended. Instead, consider a document that highlights your accomplishments in just a few pages.

After completing her fellowship, Rebecca Winokur, M.D., drafted a lengthy CV that included everything she’d ever done medically. Her most recent CV revamp looks more like a résumé.

Résumé or CV?
A short document that highlights your accomplishments? That sounds more like a résumé than a CV—and that’s OK.

If a recruiter representing a clinical opportunity asks you for a CV, they’re probably talking about your two-page document—not your 30-pager. (Note, however, that academic positions still prefer a traditional long-form CV.)

In the old days, physicians scoffed at the idea of a simple résumé—those pithy two-page documents were the province of business school grads and marketing executives. Instead, physicians prided themselves on weighty CVs, or curriculum vitae.

In Latin, curriculum vitae stands for “course of life,” which is an apt description for what CVs were meant to do. They led readers through a professional life in fine detail, often beginning with schooling before moving onto residency and fellowship, then clinical positions. Typical CVs also include a list of authored or co-authored publications in peer-reviewed journals and textbook chapters, as well as memberships in professional organizations and even cultural and volunteer organizations.

In short, the traditional CV was meant to be a single-source list of your credentials and history. This document was meant to be read by other physicians—most likely the hiring physicians who owned the private practices where most doctors practiced.

A résumé is typically much shorter than a CV, usually no more than a few pages. And résumés aren’t typically organized around credentials and lists of professional achievements. Instead, they are organized around accomplishments and competencies.

If the CV is meant to tell the story of your professional achievements, the résumé is designed to tell the story of your personal accomplishments, including challenges you have overcome and where you see yourself in the long run. A good résumé is a narrative document.

The key is to target your document to the job.

When physician Rebecca Winokur, M.D., completed her fellowship in 2004, she went ahead and wrote out the traditional CV that contained “every piece of education, every paper I’d ever contributed to, and everything medically related I’d ever done.”

Now, after a few years in practice, Winokur just finished revamping her CV—although, she says of her recent overhaul: “I was not writing a CV. I was writing a résumé.”

“It was actually fun to write mine,” says Winokur, who used her résumé to land a job in private industry while still practicing part time. “I put an identifying statement in the beginning, so I got to ask where I wanted to be in 20 years and who I was as a person. After I figured out that part, it was easy.”

It helps to keep the purpose of the document in mind. A CV will not land you a job—rather, its sole purpose is to land an interview.

“Multiple people will be reading it,” says Edward McEachern, vice president of marketing at Jackson & Coker, a physician placement firm. “You’ll maybe have a recruiter reading it, either in-house or at an agency. They’ll narrow it down to three or four candidates. Then it will be [another] professional looking at it, and they’ll narrow it down to one or two candidates for a phone interview.”

Hitting the right length?
In general, CVs are much longer than résumés—they typically include every academic and professional certification and title, plus a list of publications. For very prolific physicians and academics, this can easily amount to dozens of pages.

“I don’t think anybody needs to be fixated on short résumés or CVs,” says Francine Gaillour, M.D., MBA, executive director of the Physician Coaching Institute in Bellevue, Wash. “The format I recommend is to use four bullet points as a summary of achievements.Use two lines for each phrase, so someone can look at that and see what that physician is all about. Then a list of accomplishments.”

“Fundamentally, it’s about marketing,” says Philippa Kennealy, M.D., MPH, president of The Entrepreneurial MD in Los Angeles. “It’s about asking, ‘What can I do for you?’ Spend time thinking about what they want and what you can do for them.” This means carefully parsing the job description, then crafting a document to fit it.

“A job description is the organization’s wish list of the perfect candidate,” Kennealy says. “Then you organize your résumé to highlight the qualities you have that match their wish list.”

What to do when your CV is “thin”
One of the great challenges of starting any career is finding a way to milk the most from your relatively thin professional record. Younger physicians are no exception—beyond a residency or fellowship and maybe a few years of clinical experience, what else can you do to fill out your CV?

The key is to emphasize your accomplishments, rather than highlight your relative lack of credentials.

“A lot of younger doctors say, ‘I haven’t done all that much. I just see patients,’” says Robert F. Priddy, president of third_Evolution, a physician coaching and career management firm in Denver. “Physicians are used to seeing their accomplishments as things they do in solo, in the surgery or examination room. But I encourage them to write down everything they’ve done and look for the accomplishments and competencies. How many programs did you do? How many grand rounds did you do? Were you chief resident? Did you help develop a study that helped patient management?”

Once you’ve developed a list of these competencies, Gaillour says you should include them all. “I always encourage physicians to include additional training,” she says. “It’s an easy way to differentiate yourself, even for young physicians who are in a clinical setting.” In an ideal world, this positioning begins long before you graduate from your residency.

“The majority of doctors are working in hospitals, which are self-governing bodies that have their own committees and bodies,” Kennealy says. “Young doctors should volunteer for these committees and someday maybe lead those committees. The central proposition is to be looking ahead, lift your head up and look to the future.”

Electronic résumés and CVs
Just as the Internet is affecting every other facet of medicine, it’s also changing the way employees and employers connect. Social media sites such as LinkedIn provide professionals with networking opportunities and a way to reach like-minded professionals.

When you’re job-hunting in today’s world, it’s safe to assume that any serious prospect is going to Google your name at some point. Unless you have a private website, it’s likely that your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles will be the first things that pop up. As a result, it’s a good idea to view your LinkedIn public profile as an extension of your résumé—and to make sure you have the appropriate privacy settings in place on your Facebook page and other social media.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention to your total online presence before sending out too many CVs.

“It’s hugely important to be aware of your electronic impression,” Kennealy says. “The younger generation is really [comfortable] with the online world. They’ve been sharing their stories for so long, and once something is on the Internet, it never goes away.”

To prevent possibly embarrassing situations, it’s a good idea to Google yourself before prospective employers have the chance. See what pops up—and if any potentially embarrassing moments from your undergraduate days are public, see if it’s possible to “scrub” your Internet history a bit.

Best to follow Kennealy’s advice: “Only put stuff out there that you’d want on the front page of The New York Times.”

Jon VanZile is a frequent contributor to PracticeLink Magazine.

 

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Action items for new physicians to learn business skills

By Joe Capko | Winter 2012

 

Ready to jump-start your business skills on your own? Try these steps first.

• Add these books to your reading list. Mastering Patient Flow by Elizabeth Woodcock; Secrets of the Best-Run Practices by Judy Capko; Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William Ury; Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic by Leonard Berry and Ken Seltman; Harvard Business Essentials.

• Learn to model critical business decisions using spreadsheet tools. (A book like Excel 2010 for Dummies provides a good foundation in using spreadsheets.) Considering starting your own practice? Be sure you can model everything.

• Begin building a circle of trusted advisors. Seek expert counsel before signing employment or partnership contracts from a lawyer and/or consultant with clear experience reviewing similar documents.

If you’re not using Facebook to stay in touch with friends, get started. It’s the best way to learn about it and prepare to use it with patients. Subscribe to medical blogs, and start commenting on stories that interest you.

• Exercise marketing manners. Develop a thank-you/follow-up system for everyone who helps you with patient referrals or career advice or opportunities.

• Start networking. Search LinkedIn and Yahoo! Groups for undergrad and med school alumni lists. Join your specialty’s association.

—By Laurie Morgan and Joe Capko

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What physicians need to do when starting a new job

What do you have to do before you start?

By Christine Hinz | Feature Articles | Winter 2012

 

When Nicole Ottens, D.O., joined Mattoon, Ill.’s Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in July 2010, setting up her practice was “incredibly easy,” she recalls. As an emergency room physician employed by the 128-bed rural hospital, she didn’t have to make many decisions.

Setting up your practice

The hospital’s recruiter and human resources department processed the paperwork for securing her credentials. She didn’t have to market her services, because sooner or later people use the ER. And because she joined a department already staffed with nurses, she just became one of the team.

Ottens, who will soon be dual boarded in emergency and family medicine, was delighted with the process and even happier with her choice of employers. “All I want to do is to provide quality care to my patients,” she says. “This is the perfect job and the perfect way to do that.”

Perhaps you’re looking for the same streamlined experience. You want to sail through the formalities of launching a practice so you can just take care of patients. But establishing your practice is as important as anything you’ll do in medicine. It usually takes time, patience and attention to detail to make the smooth transition from training to your first job or from your first job to the next. To launch yourself as a skilled practitioner open for business, you’ll have to focus like a laser on key tasks: putting your credentials in order, marketing your name, staffing your office and equipping it too.

Are you in this alone? If you’re flying solo, you’ll have to take care of every aspect—unless, of course, you’ve already tapped a business manager. It’s the nature of being a lone wolf. But if you’re destined to join a group or hospital staff, you’ll likely have lots of guidelines, to-do lists and helping hands.

Organizations are usually quick to help physicians navigate a practice setup. Depending on the size, you’ll have plenty of assistance for mastering the terrain.

As Dorrie LeForce, director of operations for the Dallas-based HealthTexas Provider Network (HTPN), the 500-physician Baylor Health Care System-affiliated group, notes of their extensive soup-to-nuts assistance they give new hires: “We’re the legs and arms to support them in everything they need to open their doors.”

Credentials first on to-do list
You can’t treat patients unless you have proper credentials. It’s that simple. The first order of business in setting up your practice will be to get licensed by the state, affiliated with area hospitals and approved by Medicare, Medicaid and the major payers your employer wants to bill for your services.

Some fundamental items—such as NPI (National Provider Identifier) and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) numbers—you’ve likely already presented as part of your application. If not, you’ll need to apply for them before you can bill and prescribe drugs. Likewise if you’re staying in the same state in which you trained, you already have your medical license. But if you’re moving to a new area, getting it will be a priority.

Once you have those basics, you can complete the paperwork for your group’s major payers and professional liability insurance. In terms of malpractice, you’ll likely have the same carrier and coverage as your colleagues in your specialty, but you’ll still have to apply separately. Educate yourself about the coverage limits, how any suit might be settled, and what happens with the tail.

Chances are very good that the group or hospital you’re joining will help you navigate the paper chase. Start dates are usually contractually contingent on having your ducks in a row so you can see and bill patients on day one. Most organizations have an office or function to handle the details and keep the process moving forward.

So what’s your responsibility?

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Preparing for your interview

Setting up your practice as a new physician actually begins when you're interviewing for the job

By Christine Hinz | Feature Articles | Winter 2012

 

Preparing for your interview

There are many questions you can ask to get a feel for how the organization will help you. Below are a few starters.

Credentialing
1. What resources does your organization provide to help new doctors with licensing, credentialing and hospital privileging?
2. How many committees and boards must see and approve my file?
3. What might delay my start date? Has anyone in the group been denied privileges or credentials, and if so, why?

Staffing
1. What role will I play in hiring staff members who work directly with me?
2. What is your staffing model? Do you have RNs, LPNs, nurse practitioners, other mid-level providers?
3. Does each doctor have his or her own nurse, medical assistant or mid-level provider? Or do they rotate among us?

Marketing
1. How have you marketed previous physicians?
2. What has worked best?
3. Will I be able to give input as to how I want to be promoted? How much help will you offer if I want to give interviews or make speeches on health topics?

Purchasing equipment
1. Who’s in charge of purchasing equipment for my office?
2. How much flexibility will I have in getting the exact equipment that I want? Will I have a say in the type or manufacturer?
3. What’s the process for requesting specific items, especially if they’re major investments?

 

Not at the interview stage yet? Create your free physician profile to start your search for your first or next practice.

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CV essentials

Tips for physicians from career coaches

By Jon VanZile | Feature Articles | Winter 2012

 

Designing a CV or résumé is a deceptively difficult task. In theory, it seems easy to give a straightforward chronicle of your career so far. In reality, it’s very difficult to design a piece of paper that, in about 30 seconds, accurately depicts what you’ve done so far, who you are, and what benefit you might offer an organization.

HOW TO FORMAT

While you’re agonizing over word choices and the order of your headings, here are a few pointers from professional career coaches.

1. Keep your formatting clean and open, with lots of white space. Resist the temptation to cram your CV with lots of tiny type. In this case, less can be more.

2. Push your dates to the right side, not the left. You don’t want your CV to look like a list of dates. Make sure your title and/or organization is the first thing the reader sees.

3. Under your headings, list your most recent activities first.

4. Go easy on the creative fonts. Stick with a simple, professional font like Times New Roman.

5. Have it proofread—several times. There should be absolutely no grammar or spelling mistakes.

6. Save the document as a PDF and a Word file. Almost everybody can read a Word file or PDF, and both are easy to email, should the need arise.

 

WHAT TO INCLUDE

A CV is a long-format document that contains a full history of your credentials and achievements, including your education, professional background, and even personal and cultural activities that help define you. Once your CV is finished, most physicians update their CVs every few years, and of course, any time they are job hunting.

As you’re confronting your CV, it’s helpful to know what “typical” headings look like. It’s not essential to include all of these—only include headings in which you have something substantive to add.
Outside of a few broadly accepted rules—your contact information goes at the top, for example—there are few hard and fast rules for the order of your information.

Some experts recommend putting your education before your clinical experience, while others recommend listing your clinical experience first. As always, it comes down to your level of experience and your target audience.

SAMPLE HEADINGS TO INCLUDE

• Contact and personal information: This should be the first thing on the page. Include your name, address and contact information. If you have a LinkedIn profile or personal web page, you can include the URL here.

• Objective: This line is somewhat controversial among career coaches. Some love it, some hate it. If you include an objective section, keep it limited to one or two sentences and make sure it’s tailored to your prospective organization. Consider putting the objective part in your cover letter—especially if it’s not entirely obvious how you fit with the facility. (For example, an internal medicine physician applying for a hospitalist job.)

• Education: Include the name of your school, graduation date, and area of study. It’s not necessary to include individual coursework.

• Academic honors: Many CVs include a line for academic honors just under the education section. This would include honors such as magna cum laude or positions of student leadership.

• Board certification, specialty and licenses: List the specialty in which you’re board certified (and when), and the states in which you’re licensed.

• Internships/residencies/ fellowships: Keep this section relatively basic, listing the institution, location and your specialty. Do include positions of leadership, if possible.

• Volunteer experience: This can be especially valuable for residents just starting out who don’t have much clinical experience. If you have extensive volunteer experience, consider breaking this into one section for medical volunteering and one for nonmedical volunteering.

• Clinical experience: In chronological order from most to least recent, include the practices and/or hospitals where you’ve worked, including a brief description of the facility, your responsibilities, and the dates you worked there.

• Publications and presentations: Include any publications you’ve written or co-authored. This includes articles in peer-reviewed journals, chapters in textbooks and even consumer-related media. Presentations at conferences should also be mentioned.

• Professional memberships: Include relevant societies and organizations.

• Awards and honors: This list should include any professional recognition you have received outside of school.

• Cultural activities and personal interests. If you’re very involved in a charity or cultural institution, include this.

 

SAMPLE CVS

 

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