By Rochelle Rock, MD 

As I approached my final year of residency as an EM doctor, I had already narrowed my criteria for potential practice opportunities. After several years of East Coast winters, I knew I wanted to work on the West Coast at a site with other female physicians I could turn to for support when I needed it. What I didn’t know was how I was going to find the time or money to explore my options.

The answer came from the Senior Residents’ Weekend in Chicago, hosted by Vituity (formerly CEP America). It’s an event where you can choose to attend day one, day two, or both. The first day is dedicated to brief presentations and a panel discussion on topics that help residents transition to attending, while the second day is focused on interviewing with hiring directors. The bonus is that Vituity covered one night’s stay at the hotel and $500 toward travel.

The program surpassed my expectations. I learned whether to invest or pay down my student loans, how best to format my resume, and so much more. Plus, I got to meet medical directors from across the country. And now – full disclosure – I am a Vituity Partner working in Northern California with a group that includes six other female EM physicians on staff.

On the first day of the event, a great group of presenters and panelists helped strip away the fears I had about finding the right job and handling the first few months of practice. They reviewed the various employment models for us to consider, and shared successful interviewing, negotiating, and financial planning tips that could help us no matter where we ended up applying.

On day two, I got to meet with a variety of hiring Medical Directors through a series of mini-interviews. Each was ten to fifteen minutes long and gave me the information I needed to determine what onsite interviews I wanted to schedule. The experience completely simplified my job search process – and saved me significant time and money.

How to Maximize the Interview Process

Senior Residents’ Weekend is so packed with great information that any resident can benefit from attending. For the mini-interview portion, advanced planning will help you turn a useful event into an invaluable one. My recommendations for maximizing the experience include:

  1. Do your homework: You will be asked to provide your geographic preferences, so consider this carefully. Recruiters from those locations will contact you to let you know if positions open. Call the recruiters back! They’re there to help you succeed. Reach out to the Medical Directors at those locations before the event to get your basic questions answered. For instance, ask about the size of the department, makeup of staff, patient population, EHR system, facility, and hospital size. Your goal is to get the basics covered so that when you meet with the Medical Director, you can focus the short interview on the more intangible issues, such as culture and compatibility. Advanced research should help you identify 10 to 12 opportunities for serious consideration.
  2. Prepare your questions: If you’ve already had objective questions answered in phone calls, you can use the short interview time to assess compatibility. You might want to ask questions about the Medical Directors’ management philosophy, what they have achieved leading their site, and how their team interacts with other specialists in the hospital. This is not the time to address finances. You will do that during on-site interviews, once you’re sure you’re interested in the position.
  3. Pay attention to non-verbal cues: Compatibility can be hard to assess through conversation alone. During your mini-interviews, make an effort to notice body language and other subtle cues. Are the directors good listeners? Do they show humility and are they being transparent in their responses? Do they seem like people you’d want to work for in a stressful environment?

By being very strategic at Senior Residents’ Weekend, I was able to focus my choices and fit all my onsite interviews into one trip. I had the perfect position locked up before the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Conference in October, confident that I was joining an impressively transparent organization where new physicians are partners from day one and have the tools and support they need to reach their personal goals as doctors.

The 13th Annual Senior Residents’ Weekend for emergency physicians will be held Friday and Saturday, August 10-11 in Chicago. One night hotel and airfare up to $500 is covered. And, if you accept an offer before September 30, you will receive a $10,000 bonus. For more information, email [email protected]

Vituity, formerly known as CEP America, and host of Senior Residents’ Week is one of the nation’s largest physician partnerships, serving over 6.3 million patients annually. We’re driven by our joy in the practice of medicine and the part we play in improving patient care across the country.

Rochelle Rock, MD, is a Vituity physician partner in the emergency department at Sutter Delta Medical Center, a nationally ranked, Level II acute care facility in Antioch, Calif.