Life after residency can be exciting and overwhelming for some.
Don’t worry, this is natural. Now that you’ve passed the last big milestone before starting your career, the first thing you should do is sit down and process the changes that are coming, how it’s going to affect your life, and the role changes that will occur.
Post-Residency Role and Lifestyle Changes
Immediately after completing your residency, your role will change from:
- Student to clinician
- Internal focus (mentorship, rounds, research) to external focus (patient care, malpractice, financial obligations)
- Obligations to yourself and to others
Additionally, you have to take into account how your lifestyle will change. You’ll shift from:
- An academic supportive curriculum to developing your own practice curriculum
- Having strong guidance and advisors to creating your own team
Now that you understand these post-residency role and lifestyle changes, lets understand what options you have after completing your medical residency. We recommend that as a new physician you start to build your own alliance. Start simply by networking and connecting yourself with experts – find a mentor that can guide and support you on this journey.
Options After Completing Your Medical Residency
You’ve completed your medical residency and you’re unsure of the path you want to take. Let’s break down the 3 options you have after completing your medical residency.
1. Fellowship: A fellowship allows physicians to focus on a particular patient population or to gain further expertise in their area of specialty. Not only does it open doors, but there are many benefits to doing a fellowship depending on the medical institution you apply for. However, if you are unsure of this path, be honest with yourself and analyze whether a fellowship is right for you by asking yourself questions like: “Do I know enough about my specialty?” “Will a fellowship allow me to achieve my long-term goals?” Remember, a fellowship is paid and can take anywhere between 1-3 years to complete.
2. Practice: After completing your medical residency, you are eligible to apply for an unrestricted medical license to begin practicing. Once you’ve obtained your license, you can seek employment in a private practice, or you can choose to become a hospital or clinic employee. This path allows you to work full-time, gaining sufficient income to pay back your student loans or to simply better your finances.
3. Board Certification: Another option after completing your medical residency is to earn a board certification in your area of specialty. Being board certified means that you have gained sufficient knowledge in a specific medical specialty. This is voluntary and in order to qualify, you must complete an American Board of Medical Specialties – accredited residency program.
Now that we’ve covered the role and lifestyle changes as well as the options you have after completing your medical residency, let’s discuss the top 5 post-residency mistakes to avoid.
Top 5 Post-Residency Mistakes to Avoid
1. Rushing To Pursue a Fellowship when Unsure: You’ve completed your medical residency, and are unsure if you want to pursue a fellowship. As discussed in the previous section, analyze whether a fellowship is right for you by asking yourself key questions. If you decide to pursue a fellowship, start your research immediately to avoid missing deadlines. And remember, don’t rush into accepting the first offer. Many physicians make the mistake of accepting their first offer without reviewing all requirements. A fellowship is like a “pre-job”, so if you don’t agree to the work requirements either negotiate or move on.
2. Ignoring Recruiters: Many physicians tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to find a job that meets their needs. On top of that, they try to find job placements on their own instead of working with recruiters. Recruiters like MASC Medical are well-connected, have years of industry experience, and don’t have any upfront fees. With that said, don’t ignore recruiters. Instead, speak to recruiters early on in your career to determine your options.
3. Accepting you First Job Offer: Your medical residency is over, and you are excited and ready to start practicing. You receive your first offer, and many times as a new physician you let the emotions and money overpower your decision, so you accept. Accepting your first offer shouldn’t be so easy. It takes time to think about the type of job you want after residency, developing questions to ask your potential employer, comparing practices, evaluating benefits, etc. Take your time and analyze as many job offers possible – keeping in mind that as a new physician you’ll likely have to sign a 1-3-year contract.
4. Signing Contracts without Legal or Expert Help: Invest in a lawyer or expert and have them review any contracts you are considering signing. It’s rare if you learned anything about negotiating a contract while completing your residency. Lawyers and/or experts already know the ins and outs of medical hiring – and they can help negotiate your salary, benefits, insurance requirements (including malpractice/tail insurance), non-compete clause etc.
5. Overspending: One huge mistake a new physician can make is not properly managing their budget. Post residency, physicians income can change drastically and that could lead to mismanagement of finances. We recommend that as a new physician you hire a financial advisor – especially one experienced working with physicians. They can recommend how your income should be split when it comes to spending and investing.
To partner with MASC Medical, simply connect with one of our physician recruiters.
MASC Medical is a leading, nationwide full-service healthcare staffing firm. Recognized as one of the best physician recruiting firms in the country, we proudly tailor our healthcare staffing services to Physicians, Mid-Level Providers, Dentists, Allied Health, and Executives.