7 things to look for in a new position

7 things to look for in a new position

Mar 01, 2007

Watch for these warning signs and welcome sights to be sure your new practice is a keeper that'll keep you happy.

Craig Woloshyn, DVM
Here you are, looking for your third position in three years. The last two didn't work out so well. You got that message loud and clear when you found a scalpel in your office mailbox with your name on it—engraved by the clinic's dental scaler.

But don't worry: There are lots of jobs out there. In fact, you've probably already received calls from other practices asking if you're ready for a change. Well, now you are. But let's make sure this next job sticks. Here are seven things to look for before you accept your next gig.

1 Time management

The new generation of doctors has shown us all that our professional and personal lives can coexist in peace. But for that to happen, you'll need time to devote to both parts. So check out your potential boss's time management skills.

Does she barely have time to take your phone calls? Does the clinic turn away clients because it's too busy? If you visit at lunchtime, is everyone at lunch or are they still finishing the morning chores? Drive by the clinic after closing time—is the parking lot full?

Without good time management at the practice, appointments will back up, surgery patients will go home sleepy, lab work will be late, and on and on. Remember, there's a difference between "When does the clinic close?" and "When do I go home?"

2 The team

Does the clinic employ enough team members—at least three or four per doc? Do certified technicians supervise the back office and manage the rest of the team? Do you feel a sense of camaraderie, or can you cut the tension with a knife?

What about continuing education? Are the clinic's less-experienced team members encouraged to grow and learn? A clinic that offers its assistants online training so that they can become certified is way ahead of the game and deserves a gold star on your checklist.

A working interview at the clinic will give you a feel for whether staff members are happy, competent, and pleased to show off their work. Look for a sense of independence combined with teamwork.

Last but not least, if this is your first or second job and you've been out of school less than two years, you'll need a certified technician with you every day. I think it's vital to your early training and integration into the profession.

3 Equipment

You've probably already rejected several practices because they didn't have a color Doppler ultrasound machine that offers integrated laser, digital radiography, and cappuccino delivery capabilities. But you really need to put technology in perspective. Ask yourself this two-pronged question: Does the clinic have enough equipment to allow you to treat 90 percent of the cases you see each week, and does it have a mechanism for referring the rest to specialists or bigger facilities? A good otoscope is more important to you than a laser. You don't need an ultrasound machine, as you don't have ACVIM after your name, and they're the only folks who should touch the things. (OK, radiologists, too, but then they'd have to touch a patient—ick!)

Some in-house lab equipment is good, but it must mesh with the way you practice. What do you need stat? What can wait and be sent out? A radiography machine is a necessity, but digital radiography isn't.