So you’ve chosen internal medicine or family medicine. Did you know those specialties are among the lowest paid doctors across the United States? After the start of your new position, the anticipation of the first few paychecks starts to lessen. It becomes especially palpable if you live in a large metro area where the cost of living is on the rise. You soon realize that with your current income, it will take years, if not decades, to pay off your student loans. Plus, you might have a family to support, hobbies to enjoy, and well, dreams to accomplish. With an average primary care or hospitalist salary, these dreams are not as easy to achieve. That’s why you need to leverage your highly sought-after clinician skills to capitalize on the fiscal gains as well as heighten your work time. We’ve gathered a few tips to get you on the track from average pay to highest pay.
Work Locum Tenens
The best way to leverage your skills is to become a locum tenens hospitalist. You can earn significantly more compared to permanent employment. The best part? You can gain unparalleled flexibility. By switching it up a locum tenens position, whether it be full time or moonlighting you could make at least 20% more than your colleagues. The first thing someone thinks of working locum tenens is that you have to travel a lot. However, travel is not necessary. You can minimize or even eliminate the need to travel by working a position that’s right around the corner from you.
Negotiate your pay rate and refuse to accept a below market rate. Remember that as a physician, your skills are in high demand and you should be adequately for your hard work. Aside from pay rate, you should also negotiate accommodations and travel arrangements – if applicable.
Locum tenens allows you to work pretty much anywhere in the United States so it’s vital to focus on the right location for you. Two important considerations are pay rate and taxes. You can usually expect higher pay, on average, in the South and Midwest as compared to the Northeast. There is vast difference between facilities in metro areas and those in rural/semi-rural settings. Working in low or no income tax states can make a extensive difference in your pay. No income tax states include AK, FL, NV, TN, TX, WY, and SD. Low income tax states are IN, ND, WA and PA.
You cannot become a high paid hospitalist if you are constantly working in a stressful atmosphere. While there’s no idyllic hospital, you can always find one where things are reasonably organized, and the general atmosphere is healthy. Find a location that best suits you in and outside the hospital.
Are you wondering why we’re bringing up burnout? You might be asking, “Why do all the staffing agencies promote the idea that locum tenens is a cure for burnout?’ Well, the truth is, you can burn out working locum tenens, too. But, it’s less likely. Locum tenens work has many advantages, especially when you’re besieged with burnout. You can take time off when you need it, avoid the politics, and network and care for new and various patients. Besides offering the flexibility and change you need; locum tenens work lets you experiment with a bunch of different positions. It might even offer you a commitment-free way to find a new position that’s a better fit for you.
Physician burnout is an indicator of a larger problem – a healthcare system that progressively overworks doctors and belittles the health needs of their own. Take the time to prioritize your own health and use these tools to prevent burnout. The end results? Fulfilled physicians with better-off, healthier patients.
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