1. Academic or Private Practice?
This is the first question you must answer. I decided on pursuing the private practice route.
2. How do I find anesthesia groups?
I would suggest starting around September of your CA-3/Fellowship year (maybe even soon if there is ONLY one area/city you are wanting to work). Suggestions for locating private practice groups in one particular area: I started with a Google search “anesthesia in Kansas City” (or whichever city you are wanting to work in) and invariably there will be 2-4 anesthesia group web-pages that pop-up (many of the groups web-pages have direct links to the hiring department or ways of submitting a resume and cover letter). This gives you a good starting point to begin contacting groups (make sure to always follow-up with them after you have submitted you cover letter/CV online). I also looked up specific hospitals that I wanted to work at (ie like looking up MoBap hospital if you wanted to work in STL) and contacted the Human Resources department directly asking “what is the name of the anesthesia group that provides anesthesia for your hospital and can I get their contact information”. This gives you another avenue to begin contacting private practice groups. Generally the groups that have better vacation/pay/benefits don’t need to advertise on Gasworks and can hire based off recommendations from partners etc. This means you need to “search” them out and stand out from the other applicants. I did this by writing a cover letter and I tailored my cover letter to discuss my Fellowship training and level of expertise I could provide in a emerging area of anesthesia. I also made sure to emphasize the family background and strong ties I have in Kansas City. I believe this made me a much stronger applicant because the groups want to hire for longevity; they want to know that if they invest in you you will not turn and run off in 2 years. By showing that KC was my home and I wanted to start my family/be around family members in my cover letter it helped to provide the anesthesia group with a sense that this would be permanent hire and not just a stopping point along the way.
I think if you have one particular area you want to work you need to show the groups why you want to be there and that you would consider this a permanent move.
3. What to send with initial applications?
I included my cover letter (i made small tweaks to tailor my cover letter to each group) and my CV to every group as I initially reached out. I made sure to have letters of reference available and I provided letters of reference to them at the end of initial interview. This gave them something else positive to look at regarding my application immediately after I left. The groups are generally making a decision on yes/no within a few hours to days after you have interviewed so anything that helps to leave a positive impact is beneficial for you.
Also, set up a schedule to keep in contact with the groups; every 2 weeks or sooner to just make sure you are still in the forefront of their minds if they are in the process of making a decision on you as an applicant. It could be a phone call or a follow up email telling the group how much you enjoyed the opportunity to meet with them and that if there is anything else they would need to not hesitate to contact you.
4. Partnership track?
Does this group offer a partnership track and if so what are the requirements (year employed, board certified, serving on committees, etc) to become partnered. Ask how many anesthesiologist have been employed but NOT been partnered or how many have been let go before their partnership became available? Also, you want to know how one becomes a partner. Is it via majority vote of partners, maybe a 100% vote of “yes” by partners, or is it just completing your 1-3 year time commitment and then partnership is automatic?
If the group offers partnership track of 1-3 years what are the similar anesthesia groups in that area requiring in terms of time for partnership (ie does the group you are meeting with require 3 years and the group 10 min away require 1 year…why the difference). What are the benefits after partnership is established…pay increase, increase in vacation, safety in job security?
6. What to expect from an interview?
This can obviously vary but the interview days were actually quite exhaustive. I actually had little mini interviews with almost every partner at every group (15-30 min apiece) taking up almost 9 hours. You end up repeating much of what was said in each mini interview but they are essentially trying to find out if you are someone that would get along with the group and bring something to the table they consider positive. It is also you time to ask specifics about the group…pay/vacation/call schedule/weekend call/coverage of other hospitals/holiday call schedule/non-partners vs partners vs SUPER-partners (ie what is the hierarchy and how are decisions made? Is it democratic or more like an elected board making the big decisions? Does everyone have an equal voice or say on important decisions?) They may or may not elect to take you to dinner that evening or the night before which is just a more informal extension of the interview.
Dr. Parker Tuley
Class of 2014