Price is a major factor when purchasing a new car, but it’s not the only detail to consider.
That decision is based on much more than a dollar figure. What’s the vehicle make, model and year? Is it the right performance trim? Does it have the heated seats, moonroof and other extras you enjoy?
Those additional details factor heavily into determining whether the asking price is worth signing the paperwork.
Salary plays a similar role when reviewing contract offers. While base pay and incentives are important, things like the practice location can influence their true value.
Consider these four aspects of location when evaluating where to practice:
Cost of living
Cost of living is a critical barometer when evaluating an offer. Depending on the cost of living in an area plus student loans and other expenses, a high salary may appear more meager – or a lower salary might stretch further than you think.
When comparing cost of living, also think about the type of housing you prefer. Do you want to live in a more urban setting within walking distance to neighborhood cafes and shops, or are you more comfortable in a house on a quiet tree-lined street?
In addition to housing costs, be sure to note the average cost of groceries, gas and utilities, along with the local and state tax rates.
Several free tools are available online, including some that make it easy to compare locations.
It’s also important to identify what neighborhood characteristics mean the most to you.
Will school rankings factor into your decision? Are you concerned about crime? Free sites like AreaVibes and NeighborhoodScout provide a snapshot of life by neighborhood based on aspects like schools, crime and demographic information.
These statistics can change drastically by location. If you’re considering a large metropolitan area, be sure your search includes multiple neighborhoods to find the one that best fits your needs.
Some of the same tools tracking school and crime information also score neighborhoods on nearby features like shopping, restaurants, medical facilities and parks.
Consider which amenities you want to live with and which you can’t live without. Then research your location options with those items in mind. To get a better understanding of the community, following local media can also help reveal the current issues and events, and what may be on the horizon.
No matter where you decide to practice, a significant portion of your time will be spent at the practice itself.
Ensure your job-search process includes evaluating the work culture of a prospective employer. One place to start is online review sites. These sites can reveal how current and former employees feel about their time with the employer. You can also see patients’ reviews of the care they’ve received at a facility.
In-house recruiters are also another great resource. Ask them about the organization and how it prioritizes taking care of its physicians and advanced practice providers. Also ask to speak with current staff. Long-established physicians can help you understand how the organization has progressed, while more recent hires can provide insights that can otherwise only be gained after working there for some time.
By researching cost of living, lifestyle and work culture, you can more easily verify if a job offer and salary are acceptable – or whether you’d prefer to kick the tires on more options in search of a better fit.
Would you like free job-search help?
Contact the PracticeLink Physician Relations Team at PhysicianRelations@PracticeLink.com.