Emergency Medicine PA Fred Wu is joining us to talk about starting and advancing a career in emergency medicine. In this two-part series, Fred is reviewing the many aspects of emergency medicine careers from finding a position that will work well for you to signing a contract.
Quick side point: we are getting ready for SEMPA 360 next year and Fred Wu is one of the key players (he is not financially compensated though). SEMPA 360 is the big emergency medicine conference for PAs but others such as NPs, physicians, and paramedics will benefit from this conference.
Trying to find a way to start or expand your career can be challenging. It is easy to check websites that list positions from commercial ones or with certain organizations. However, positions may be found in journals or at specific employer sites. Think not only of the hospitals but also the contract companies that staff the emergency departments. Keep in mind, positions are not always listed so "cold calls" may be worth attempting especially if there is a specific place in mind. Also, do not under-estimate word of mouth from friends or colleagues.
After findings positions of interest, decide what is most important to help choose the right position. For some this may mean pay. Others will find location the most important. Common things to look for is the type of hospital (rural, urban, tertiary care, critical access, etc.), resources present, volume, acuity, scheduling, training, benefits, how the ED is staffed and by who, scope of practice, and role in the department. All of these can play an important role.
Keep in mind there are many facets and it is worth having many questions ready when interviewing at a site for a position. "On-boarding" to a new position such as the level of mentorship including how to work the electronic health record, site policies, and patient flow among other aspects. During the interview day, talk to the individuals who are working there especially colleagues to see what they think of their work and the site. Usually after a few interviews especially after being in the field, this is usually easier to address and find a way to ask such questions.
Make sure to do your homework prior to the interview! Know the area, the hospital, and the group (along with individuals) hiring. Also, make sure to have questions ready. It is poor form and usually shows lack of interest to not research or have questions. Also, basic interview principles apply such as coming early and having extra copies of the curriculum vitae (CV). In regards to the CV, have others look over it including someone very strong in English and grammar along with someone in the field you want to go into.
Be wary of your social media presence! This should be simple: do not put anything on there you do not want people to see! There are waysemployers can find you and see past even private settings (friend of a friend, for example). Also, be cautious about changing names to hide your identity during the interview phase. Choose a safe email address (something appropriate) that is professional in nature. Try to avoid adding birth year on the email address or other easy identifiers.
So many great tips and not enough time. We are having to break this post up into two parts with the next regarding contracts and other aspects about career building so stay tuned! Let us know what you think by giving us feedback here in the comments section or contacting us on Twitter or Facebook. Remember to look us up on Libsyn and on iTunes. If you have any questions you can also comment below, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a message from the page. We hope to talk to everyone again soon. Until then, continue to provide total care everywhere.
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