Maybe you think it’s too early to consider the next stage in your career. Medical school graduation is just months away. Newly graduated doctors will be making their way to their first rotations in July. Senior residents and senior fellows are thinking and dreaming about their next position as a new attending.

This got me to thinking.

Are you truly considering and factoring in your well-being as you look for the next position where you will be spending a substantial amount of time on a regular basis?

And how are you incorporating the hot topic of physician well-being and physician burnout into the process?

Are you asking probing questions about it during the interview process?

More importantly have you taken the time to shift the conversation from the global concept and defined it for yourself?

As I meet and talk with physicians at conferences, through online forums, or in the work environment I see a trend. We know about the concept of physician well-being, but many have not defined it. Through past experiences we connect to what we do not want but haven’t taken the time to shift our energy and focus to what we do want. As a result we’re not quite sure what to look for during our job search and interview process.

As physicians think about that next position we usually consider:

  1. The salary. We want it to be competitive, factor in our student loans, and allow for a lifestyle upgrade.
  2.  The geographic location. Where do you want to live? Did the journey in medicine take you away from family and friends and now you have the opportunity to relocate back home? Is cost of living a major factor for you? Do you prefer the city life or a slower pace in the suburbs or country?
  3. The clinical setting. Your chosen specialty will influence whether you are based in the hospital, clinic, private practice, community or the academic arena.

With these basic criteria in place you begin your search. You update and send out your CV to the most promising job postings. You communicate with the recruiter to secure the interview.

Congratulation on taking the first steps in the process

Putting It Into Practice: Does The Position Support Your Well-being?

Here’s a tool for that. It’s Define to Find It: 5 Pillars for Physician Well-being template.  The 5 Pillars For Well-being are:

  • Pillar 1: Life Calling and Purpose
  • Pillar 2. Personal Development
  • Pillar 3: Spiritual Awareness
  • Pillar 4: Abundance and Prosperity
  • Pillar 5: Fellowship and Family

I didn’t have this tool over a decade ago when I was in search of my first attending position. Looking back I see that position met 4 out of the 5 Pillars. The one pillar that it did not meet was crucial. I didn’t do my due diligence to investigate the financial health of the hospital system (Pillar 4: Abundance and Prosperity). Within a matter of months of my new employment, the director of the unit called me into her office to inform me that due to hospital wide cutbacks the unit was being downsized. I was the last hired so I was the first one to be let go.

When you define these 5 pillars for yourself you create a foundation for your next level that you can use over and over. Here’s how it will help you on your search for the next position:

  • You’ll know what questions to ask as you meet the physicians and other professionals you may work with in your future. This will help you determine how much of your time will be spent doing the work you love.
  • You’ll get an idea of how committed the administration is in promoting your personal and professional growth, which helps you determine whether this is a position for longevity or a stepping stone.
  • You’ll inquire about the financial health of the employer entity because it does impact your bottom line.
  • You’ll understand the importance of the community in which you work in building a solid network to live and grow.

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About Dr. Stephanie

Dr. Stephanie Wellington is a physician, international speaker, coach, and founder of Nurturing MDs where she helps physicians infuse new energy into the practical steps of building a life and medical career so they own their value, recognize their strengths, balance their life. She trained at New York University in Pediatrics and Neonatal Medicine and continues to live in New York with her 2 children. Get access to Define It To Find It: 5 Pillars For Physician Well-being at