Monday, March 18, 2013
An increasing number of new physicians are choosing Emergency Medicine as their specialty as opposed to the once popular practice of primary care. This trend has been attributed to a number of variables by some of the top physician recruitment firms in the country.
One of the biggest determining factors for physicians when looking for employment is quality of life. Many physicians feel that Emergency Medicine jobs offer the luxury of having a professional life as well as a personal life. Trading in the pagers and cell phones that beckon physicians at all hours of the day and night for a set schedule in the Emergency room is an attractive factor for today’s new residents.
According to a 2008 report from the Department of Health and Human Services ER doctors work fewer hours than any other specialty in medicine. This is a dramatic change from the independent primary care physicians that work day and night rarely seeing their families.
The growing number of women physicians is a direct correlation to this shift in physician employment as well. Many female residents have become pregnant during residency or are the parents of young children increasing the need for set schedules and work life balances.
Many physicians are also intrigued by the fast pace and complex mysteries presented to them in Emergency Medicine. The excitement of bringing a fast solution to their patients is a more appealing alternative to their primary care counterparts faced with the long term care of diabetes and chronic illnesses.
Physician recruiters are seeing young doctors accept physician jobs in hospitals, forcing many independently owned practices to close. Recruiting firms have confirmed that 51% of positions filled in the past year were for hospital placements, a dramatic rise from the 14% eight years ago.
Private practice is less appealing to a young physician in today’s fast paced society. Choosing Emergency Medicine and hospital employment is a seamless transition avoiding the costs and stressors of private practice. Subsequently, primary care physicians are trading in the keys to their private practice leaving behind the stress of administration, physician recruitment, reimbursement hassles, rising malpractice costs and general liability risks for life in the ER.
The fact is hospital-based employment offers stability in an uncertain economy, especially for young physicians entering the job market with a huge mound of student loans and education debt to pay off. Emergency Medicine offers the financial stability and quality of life today’s generation of physicians is seeking.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Many physicians are deciding to extend their careers – or temporarily coming out of retirement -because of the recent recession and the subsequent loss of value in their 401Ks, according to one survey. While they may have to put their golf game on hold, they don’t need to worry about finding employment, physician recruiters say. Nationally, physician jobs are abundant.
Approximately a third of those who are postponing their retirement are working part-time or periodically as a locum tenens, according to the survey. These temporary or intermittent positions are ideal for any physician looking for career flexibility but especially attractive to older doctors, physician recruiters say. For example, they could work one week, then take the next week off to “resume” their retirement. For many, such a schedule is ideal, as it can keep them mentally stimulated while not burdening them with the long hours of a full-time commitment. However, some of these senior physicians may like these temporary physician jobs so much they decide to return to the workforce fulltime.
There’s a flip-side to all this, of course: if the economy rebounds and investment portfolios rise again, these older physicians may return to the beaches and fairways. And that could exacerbate the physician shortage. Of course, that will be good news for younger physicians whose market value – and salaries – could benefit, physician recruiters say.
Bottom line: While the current economic climate may be altering or delaying retirement plans, it could end up being a good development for the nation’s doctors as the number of physician jobs shows no sign of decreasing, no matter what happens.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
While many ER physicians dream of practicing in the Big City, they should give serious consideration to living and working in more off-the-beaten-path locales, physician recruiters say. The personal and family advantages are many: friendly people, the proximity of outdoor recreational opportunities, low crime rates, etc. But there can be significant professional advantages, as well. For starters, ER physician salaries are often higher than those in larger cities, simply because rural hospitals and groups must offer something more tangible than fresh air to entice ER physicians to move to the country. When you combine a high salary plus a low cost of living, you get a living standard that would be the envy of any Big City ER physician.
Magnifying further the effects of higher salaries are lower patient volumes, according to physician recruiters. The relatively smaller surrounding population means emergency medicine physicians have the luxury of spending a little more time with their patients. And these folks often present with interesting maladies such as snake bites, bull gorings and contusions resulting from white-water rafting accidents. You don’t see a lot of those mishaps in the Big City!
Many ER physicians believe their specialty should encourage graduating residents to go to rural areas for all the reasons listed above plus one more: there is enormous need in the country for good emergency care. Physician recruiters say the physicians who take on this challenge can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they are making a big difference in the lives of the people who reside there.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Numbers from 2009 (the last year for which they’re available) show ER visits rose by almost 10 percent from the year before, the biggest gain since the government began tracking those statistics. Researchers attribute the increased demand to the fact that more people are uninsured – and thus put off visits to the doctor until their condition is acute – as well as improvements to services and procedures which allow emergency departments to treat patients faster.
For physician recruiters, this trend means an increase in ER jobs and a growing demand by hospitals for emergency medicine physicians. The results were reported at the recently completed annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians in San Francisco.
Emergency medicine physicians contend their specialty is playing a growing role in American health care. They expect their numbers to increase in the years ahead as more ER jobs and rising salaries attract more physicians to enter the field.
However, these physicians are also concerned that the cost of healthcare in the U.S. is rising at least in part because of their fear of malpractice lawsuits. For example, two new studies about coronary patients reveal that emergency medicine physicians' decisions to admit these patients to the hospital – or at least not to discharge them from the emergency department – are motivated to some degree by liability concerns.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, emergency medicine physicians report that fully 92% of the patients they see as part of their ER jobs are truly emergency cases; only 8% were classified as “non-urgent.” This suggests that patients were evaluating their conditions accurately before seeking care in the ER.
Monday, January 14, 2013
To the patient lying quietly on the gurney or doubled-up in pain in the emergency room, the emergency medicine physician seems larger than life – almost god-like. And that’s the way it should be – the patient should have confidence in his doctor, especially in moments of crisis. But the truth is, EM physicians are like many other medical professionals when it comes to finding a job. Time-pressed, overwhelmed with EM job information gleaned from the web and uncertain about its veracity, the EM physician is often flummoxed by all his options.
Physician recruiters are in the best position to cut through the thickets of job opportunities to find the gems hidden inside. They have the requisite experience and savvy to match the right physician with the right EM job. Physician recruiters know the psyches of both the EM physician and the people who employ them at hospitals and specialty groups. They can save the EM physician time and money by steering them clear of an EM job which is clearly not appropriate for them. And they can gently coax these physicians to consider an EM job which is a perfect fit for their temperament and their background but which may not seem ideal at first blush.
Physician recruiters are skilled at eliciting all the pertinent information from both the employer and the emergency medicine physician. This will almost certainly include even the less-than-flattering episodes which the physician or hospital may be inclined to gloss-over but which have to be examined in order to devise a strategy to overcome an objection by either party. It is only through this total honesty that physician recruiters can do their job.
Friday, January 4, 2013
Like the calling to be a priest or policeman, the decision to become an emergency medicine physician isn’t one to be taken lightly.
To put it succinctly, an ER job is intense. It’s a career where your every decision could mean the life or death of your “customer” – the patient. Just imagine this scenario:
"CODE TRAUMA" blares over the intercom as a 16-year-old male patient is quickly wheeled into the emergency room. He is bloodied and battered from a car accident. The paramedic quickly reels off his report as the emergency medicine physician and an entire medical team stares down at the young man lying on the exam table covered in blood under an ambulance blanket. One arm appears broken, shards of glass glisten within his hair, cuts cover his face. His head is swollen to a grotesque size.
The emergency medicine physician begins the trauma assessment, a critical element of the ER job. While the team listens, they cut the young patient's clothing off and bring the needed equipment to the table. Someone places a cardiac monitor on the teenager to get vital signs.
The patient seems to be breathing on his own but the team desperately needs his blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. He could be bleeding internally because there is bruising on his chest.
The patient is then moved to radiology for x-rays. The news isn’t good…
No, the ER job is not for everyone. Every emergency room physician knows his calling takes nerves of steel and an ability to remain focused under pressure. He knows his ER job can be both a burden and a tremendous responsibility. But he also knows it can be one of the most exciting and rewarding specialties in all of medicine.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
It seems self-evident: a professional physician recruiter has access to the best physician jobs. What could be more obvious?
Not so fast. Those in the recruitment industry say they frequently run across physicians who think they can do it all --- work long hours, then spend their off-hours researching new positions and landing the ideal job. While they could get lucky, any physician recruiter would tell you it is much more likely these “lone rangers” will discover how challenging it can be to locate, research, prepare for and interview with hospital administrators or medical groups across the country. There’s the time factor, of course – the sheer number of hours/days/weeks it takes to go from locating an open position to signing an employment contract.
But there are other factors working against physicians who opt to go it alone. Some physician jobs aren’t advertised at all (at least not initially) and are instead filled by employers who simply pick up the phone and call a physician recruiter who they’ve worked with successfully in the past. If you aren’t working with this physician recruiter, you’re out of luck – you may never even know the job was open.
Then there are the physician jobs that are posted but aren’t really forthcoming about some of the less desirable aspects of the care setting. Take the ER, for example – if an emergency medicine physician doesn’t ask the right questions about annual patient volumes, specialty back-ups, the percentage of trauma cases, etc., he or she could be walking into a career nightmare. A competent physician recruiter would probably already know these things about the hospital in question and be able to warn their client about the challenging working conditions there.
Physicians should do themselves a favor and work with a competent, wired-in physician recruiter who can offer them a wide variety of physician jobs from which to choose.