The Best Questions Young Ophthalmologists Should Ask When Looking for an Ophthalmology Job or Partnership Opportunity.

The Best Questions Young Ophthalmologists Should Ask When They Are Looking for Jobs and Interviewing Ophthalmology jobs Online small

Why ophthalmologists leave their 1st job and how you can benefit from their wisdom.

Many young ophthalmologists leave their first job within a few years. How do you improve your chances of finding a good, long-term match?

You get phenomenal training- you get incredible hands on experience--- You’re bright, bright people and you are incredible decision makers. You absorb information, make assessments and set a course of action---you are trained to execute good judgement. And yet, when it comes to picking a job, the success rate- well... it can be improved drastically. Afterall, most of us, don’t want to pick a job for 2 years then sell a house and relocate our family- move our kids to a new school, find a new job for our spouse...We don’t as a rule, Love Chaos--- We generally, want to settle down in our 30’s---Many of you went to college or university in one place, then moved somewhere else for medical school, then moved for an internship, then moved for residency, then moved again for fellowship training....That could mean relocating 4 or 5 times in your last 12 - 13 years. That’s a lot of movement---great for staying fit and active, not so great for homelife, settling down and being involved with a community of people. Now you’re looking for something a little more permanent or closer to long term. Unsurprisingly, one of the things I hear job-seekers say that they want in a position is “security, stability”. They’re tired of moving. Now to some extent these are universals. Most of us want security and stability in our work life. But, for residents and fellows, it takes on added meaning because every stop has just been a “next place” and not a home.


So, for the doctors in the house that would like to make wise career decisions this is for you.
Here are some of the common reasons ophthalmologists switch jobs. Below that is a list of questions or topics that might help you to make a good job choice. Perhaps by sharing this with you, you and your family will enjoy living in and being a part of a great community---for longer than 2 or 3 years!

Reasons Ophthalmologists Leave Their 1st Job
“I’d like to be a lot busier.”
“My spouse doesn’t like the area.”
“We’re too far from friends and family.”
“The buy-in costs are too high!”
“This just isn’t a good long-term fit for me.” This last one, “not a good fit for me” is normally code for one of two things; I disagree with the ethics of the practice or I don’t get along with someone influential in the group---- or both.

Questions for YO’s to Ask or Discuss When Interviewing

Here is a list of great questions and topics to ask and discuss when you’re on the job hunt, searching for the ideal ophthalmology job or partnership opportunity. I call these, the
“Things I Wish I Had Known” questions and topics. These are perfect for young ophthalmologists looking for their first or second employment opportunity. Some of these are standard but a few are especially helpful depending on your situation. They all serve as good reminders for your conversation with the practice.

Who owns the ASC and why it matters- a LOT to you.
Doctor and Staff turnover.
How often do associates become partners?
How does the practice handle negative online reviews?
Is there a Mentor in the House?
How busy will you really, truly, actually be?
Where will your patients come from?
What will the buy-in cost and what does it include---What’s not included?
How numerous and how strong are their relationships with primary care MDs and ODs?
How important are word of mouth patient referrals to the practice?
Is the practice adding multiple doctors at the same time?
How will the practice market you so that you can both be quickly successful?
Is the practice considering a merger, acquiring another group or perhaps selling out to private equity?
If I prefer not to become a partner, will I be allowed to stay on as an employee?
What are the steps to becoming a partner?
What are the advantages of becoming a partner?
Would you mind if I talk with the last doctor who was here?
In what ways is the practice always looking to improve patient eye care?
How happy are you with your EMR?
What does the group do or want to do to attract and keep top notch non MD talent?
How will you fit into the practice
What is the practice culture? What’s it like to actually work here?
How much time will be spent at remote locations?
What is the commute time to each location?
What kinds of patients will be sent to you from other doctors in the organization
Tech support...experienced--- turnover?
Can you meet and speak with people in other departments, not just doctors. Such as front desk, billing, techs, marketing, administration. Do you tend to hear a lot of people talking about why they believe in the organization?
How are decisions, especially big decisions in the practice, made?
Has your attorney reviewed your contract? Suppose you lose your job or decide to switch practices...Will you be able to stay in the area and still practice locally or will you and your family have to relocate?
Flexibility in the schedule.

What do I think are the most under-asked, over-looked questions…?
A few are concrete and a few are a little abstract or philosophical.

Legitimacy of the need. I noted this above, but establishing or understanding in detail how busy you’ll be clinically and surgically and where your patients will come from is super important. Often, young doctors tend to gloss over this. I encourage you to examine this in detail.

Purpose---- Do employees and doctors in the practice believe in the organization? Meaning, is it more than an avenue to profit and pay--- are you really able to provide excellent care...does the practice look for opportunities to grow and improve for the good of the patient?  Does the practice give back in their local community- to schools, churches, charitable orgs or through medical missions?

Trust--- Ethical, good reputation, don’t push unneeded surgeries, IOL’s etc. No matter where you choose to work, there will be some times of conflict. The key is, “Do I trust the people I work with?”

This is a lot of questions but it’s not exhaustive. There are other questions too- other questions for another time...salary and production bonuses...more to come.

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Take care.
Drew Caldwell - OjO

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Drew Caldwell

Ophthlamology Recruiter at OjO

"It is amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit."  John Wooden, UCLA Basketball Coach