Finding Your Best Fit

Everyone talks about “the right fit”, but what is the best way to define it? The specifics will vary, and of course, different people will weigh important issues differently. So let’s group these into a few categories and break down how best to find the answers you need:

Organizational Culture

Which is better, a great position within a company culture you don’t like, or an “ok” position in an enjoyable culture? If your answer is none of the above, rest assured you’re not alone. Let’s look at some of the questions that may help you best determine the environment associated with a new opportunity. You might consider drafting a priority list to help you determine your ideal nephrology job!

  • What drives the organization/practice?
  • What do the partners value? What is important to them: Growth? Time off? Clinical outcomes?
  • What are the core values that make up the organization’s culture? Has this been consistently supported by the practice?
  • Is the organization financially strong and stable? Can annual financial reports be provided? (Be sensitive when asking, but wary of any practice not willing to share their financials.)
  • What are the short and long term plans and strategies for the practice?
  • What are the significant Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats facing the organization over the next few years (SWOT analysis)?
  • How approachable and receptive are the partners to suggestions and feedback?
  • Are associates treated fairly?
  • How does the organization promote a healthy work-life balance?
  • What metrics do they track and report on?
  • What will be your day-to-day responsibilities? What are the percentages for inpatient/outpatient/call?
  • Will you have an office, and is that important to you?
  • Does the office setting support collaboration with co-workers?
  • What tools and practices are used to manage physician schedules?
  • How are decisions made? Do all partners have equal voting rights? Do senior partners have the final word?
  • Would you be included in decision-making meetings prior to partnership, and even without a vote?

"It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness."

-Thomas Jefferson

Career Development and Compensation

In making a decision to join a new practice, you will want to evaluate not only the effect on your career initially, but how your hard work and dedication can make the practice flourish – in all of the ways that are important to you. Many of the factors vital to your career development can be determined during the interview process so take great care in addressing as many of these important subjects as possible so you can make a truly informed judgment.

  • What will be your initial salary?
  • Will your salary increase over time? If so, how much, and over what period of time?
  • Is there a bonus? How is it structured? How have other physicians at the practice performed historically in the bonus system?
  • What are the parameters of your non-compete?
  • Are you required to sign a joinder? If so does it cover future and/or pre-existing agreements?
  • What will be your call schedule?
  • How many sites will you be covering, and are they conveniently located?
  • Does the practice offer a CME allowance, and what are the details?
  • Does the practice offer family medical insurance?
  • Is there a partnership track? What are the timeline details?
  • What is the compensation structure following partnership?
  • How much vacation time will you have?
  • Why are they looking for a new physician?
  • What is the practice volume, and how has it changed over the past 3-5 years?
  • Who are the practice’s primary competitors in the area?
  • Have any physicians left the practice recently? Why? Is it possible to speak with them?
  • What is the percentage of overhead?
  • What are the average days for Accounts Receivable?
  • Does the practice presently have an EHR system? If not, will you be responsible for a portion of that cost upon partnership?
  • Are there medical directorships available (if applicable)? How does the practice share revenue?
  • Are there any investment opportunities available? If there is a buy-in, what formula is used?
  • How does the practice approach Joint Venture (JV) ownership opportunities? Do they have JV’s? Which providers are they aligned with?

The Local Community and Family Life

All work and no play…well, that’s a lot of work! What do you like to do for fun? How about your significant other? Do you have children, or plan to start a family? See if you can get a thorough picture of what life outside of the office will be like.

  • What is the population of the local community?
  • Where are the nearest towns and cities?
  • Where are the nearest airports and trains?
  • How is the real estate market?
  • Where do the practice’s physicians presently live?
  • What kind of house or apartment can you get within your budget?
  • How long of a commute would you have?
  • Is there a geographical requirement for call?
  • What colleges and universities are nearby?
  • Which school districts would your children go to and how are they ranked?
  • Are clubs and arts organizations available for your children?
  • Where can you find a great place to eat?
  • What professional or collegiate sports teams are nearby?
  • How many parks are there and where are they located?
  • Where are the shopping districts and what types of stores are there?
  • What types of venues are available for theaters and performing arts?
  • What types of museums are in the community?
  • Are there easily accessible libraries?
  • Where is a good place to play tennis, soccer, golf?
  • If you boat or fish, where are the nearest lakes and rivers?
  • Where can you go hiking, biking, camping?
  • How’s the weather?
  • When does winter and summer start, and how do the temperatures range?
  • What are your choices for local religious organizations?
  • What are the major industries locally?

There are lots of things to consider when determining your ideal job! Finding a job that meets many, but not all of your priorities is most realistic. Remember, you are not alone here. Many of the questions you may have can be answered either by the practice or by us at U.S. Renal Care.