Many of you have selected doctor jobs in academic medicine because they are offered to you at the end of your training, or you do not want to take the risk of starting your own business in private practice. But are you truly going to be happy in academia? If you leave academia, will you be miserable in private practice? The DoctorCPR Physician Group has put together a quiz to help you with your physician job search. We hope that after you take our short quiz, you will have an easier time deciding which category of doctor jobs (academic or private) better suits your disposition and aspirations.
Complete A. through I. in the quiz below. Circle the number (either 1. or 2.) next to the statement that best describes you. Add up all the numbers you have circled. Based on your final score, we can help you determine if you are better suited for academic medicine jobs, private practice jobs, or for both.
1. You love to see interesting, weird, or highly complex medical cases. You would be extremely bored just dealing with the typical, routine medical cases.
2. You like to send overly complicated, difficult medical cases to someone else to deal with. They slow down your clinic flow and the patients are often unhappy no matter what you do.
1. You love to teach and share your knowledge and insights with students. It brings you great joy to hear students’ questions and for them to learn from your experience. You experience the rewards of helping them advance their careers and of making them better doctors.
2. You become frustrated and irritated by medical trainees asking numerous questions and interrupting the flow of your patients. They sometimes make you fall behind schedule and patients often complain about them. You get frustrated constantly filling out recommendations and evaluation forms.
1. You do not want to deal with the constant headache and hassle of hiring and firing employees, dealing with office leases and rent, buying medical equipment, collecting money from patients, getting new referrals, paying employment taxes, patients complaining about the way you run your office, and the fear of bankruptcy.
2. You want to be in control of your office. You hate making a fixed salary even if you see a ton of patients or having administrators decrease your salary due to university “cost cutting”. You don’t like having administrators tell you how many patients you should see. You don’t like applying for grants to help fund your salary.
1. You do not want to be on call every day for your patients. You are happy to have medical residents and fellows see your patients after hours and report back to you.
2. You don’t mind being available for your patients at any time, as long as those patients are your own and you are getting compensated accordingly. You would rather manage your patients yourself than have doctors in-training co-manage.
1. You love publishing articles, getting involved in new research, and giving talks. You don’t mind grant writing. You want to be a part of the cutting edge of your field. You want to be running the clinical trials that will pave the way for the future of the medical field.
2. You can’t stand the laborious process of submitting papers for publication, getting rejected, edits, rewrites, and the extra time required for putting together talks and grants.
1. You love the prestige of being a professor and of being at the very top of your field. You really enjoy being considered one of the top physician experts in your medical specialty.
2. You love the prestige of owning your own practice and generating the highest possible income for all your services and hard work.
1. You like collaboration with your colleagues (especially those at the top of their fields) and don’t get bogged down by university politics.
2. You like to do your own thing and don’t like getting involved with departmental changes, cutbacks, politics, and struggles.
1. You really hate the idea of getting sued. You like the idea of having an academic institution back you up in the face of litigious patients.
2. Getting sued is just a part of practicing medicine. That is one of the risks of all doctor jobs. You are willing to pay for good malpractice insurance and are not afraid of having to defend yourself.
1. You get jealous when you find out one of your colleagues has discovered a new medical breakthrough treatment for Parkinsons Disease and his clinical trial was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He was interviewed by 60 minutes about his unprecedented work and he recently received a national award from the President of the United States.
2. You get jealous when you find out that one of your colleagues has just bought a Lamborghini and a mansion overlooking the ocean in Malibu, California. His practice is so lucrative and busy that he has cut down his hours to seeing patients two days a week. He surfs on the beach two days a week, plays tennis one day a week, and travels the world or spends quality time with his family/friends for the rest of the week.
***If your total points are 12 or under: You are probably going to be happier if you pursue doctor jobs in academic medicine.
If your total points are 13-14: You are likely well suited for both academics and private practice. You should not restrict your physician job search to either academic doctor jobs or private practice doctor jobs. Weigh the pros and cons of each opportunity and then make a decision.
If you choose an academic position, try to figure out a way to have a private clinic or work for a private clinic part time. If you choose private practice, we recommend that you become a part-time faculty member at an academic institution or integrate research into your private practice.
If your total points are between 15-18: You will likely feel dissatisfied if you choose a career in academic medicine. Strongly consider opening your own private practice or limiting your physician job search to private practice opportunities.
Searching for physician jobs is no easy task. Sifting through thousands of ads, networking, going on dozens of interviews, and traveling all over to land a job is exhausting. Hopefully our quiz has helped you determine whether you should focus your energy on doctor jobs in academics or in the private sector.
DoctorCPR Physician Group