Where to practice? This is often one of the most challenging decisions every physician and advanced practice provider must make at some point in their career. Whether you’re on the hunt for your first opportunity after training or looking to make a change, there are many details to consider.
Rest assured, you’re not alone if you have concerns about making the right decision on where to advance your career. When determining if the options you’re exploring will be a good fit, try asking yourself these questions to simplify the decision-making process.
Where do you feel most fulfilled?
It seems relatively simple, but when you think about where you’re happiest, where you’re most fulfilled and where you feel most like yourself, what kind of place comes to mind?
Is it close to home or where you grew up? Is it the bustle of a big city or the quaint character of a small town?
The answers to these questions are exclusive to you and your preferences. When thinking about where you want to work, it can help to think about where you want to live - especially if you want your move to be a lasting fit.
Think about the locational aspect of the opportunities you’re evaluating, and which settings can help you thrive as an individual. If you do, it’s likely you’ll thrive as a provider in that area or region, too.
What kind of practice suits you?
Once you’ve narrowed down a general location or region in which you’re interested, consider the type of practice that could be most compatible with your personality and work style. There are many options, such as a private practice, hospital setting, academic facility and more.
If you’re well established in your career, reflect on the types of practices you’ve served before, and how you felt in that environment. Did it give you room to grow; did you enjoy it or is it partially the cause of your desire to relocate?
If you’re beginning your career, you might think about what you’d like the average day to look like. What kind of responsibilities would you take? What kinds of patients would you like to treat? Are you attracted to intimate environments where you know and interact with all your colleagues on a daily basis, or larger communities where you mainly engage with just a few individuals who work in your specialty or department?
What does your gut tell you?
It’s a cliché for a reason: Trust your gut. At the end of the day, deciding where you’ll practice is about deciding what kind of environment will help you grow and advance, and where you’ll have the professional and personal life you want.
It might help to make a list of non-negotiables for an opportunity and other details that matter for your decision, and then rank them by importance. Use this list as a reference point when comparing multiple options, and weigh the pros and cons of each. If one job is in your dream location and another has your ideal practice culture, refer to your list to determine which takes priority, so you can note your attraction and continue seeking options that can offer both.
As a physician - or physician in training - you have great instincts. Use them to your advantage as you explore different opportunities in various communities. Think about the kinds of relationships you want to build and nurture with patients and peers, the pace of the workday you prefer and what aspects of a community are most important to you.
There is no wrong decision, and choosing where to practice is not a lifelong commitment. Follow your passion; think critically about what matters most to you; outline what you need to be successful, and it’s likely you’ll make the right move for you.
We’re here to help! If you have questions about your job search or would like assistance processing your best practice fit, reach out to us at [email protected].