Final-year residents: How to pick a practice setting that fits you


As all-consuming as residency training can be at times, it is still the run-up to acting on fundamental decisions that may greatly determine a physician’s satisfaction with medicine as a career. A learning module for residents provides the keys to assess, decide and seamlessly transition to the right practice setting when training ends.

Making the Rounds

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The choice of private practice or other workplace options should be guided foremost by a physician’s values and goals. The module makes it possible for residents to consider those critical factors in light of a frank, well-informed discussion of the realities of medical practice in a variety of settings. It examines the pros, cons and trade-offs of all the main practice choices.

The module from the AMA takes a point-by-point approach to planning a satisfying and sustainable medical career. “Choosing the Practice That’s Right for You” is one of the AMA GME Competency Education Program offerings, which include dozens of courses that residents can access online, on their own schedule. The modules are available to residency institutions that have subscribed to the AMA’s program.

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Among the program’s experts are several who contributed to the AMA’s Health Systems Science textbook, which draws insights from faculty at medical schools that are part of the Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium. 

Modules cover five of the six topics—patient care, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and system-based practice—within the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s core competency requirements. The sixth requirement, medical knowledge, is one that is typically addressed during clinical education.

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Six key factors to understand

Once the module is completed, medical residents will be able to create their own personal checklist to investigate, analyze and act on practice choices. They will learn to:

  • Identify lifestyle and work-life balance factors to consider in evaluating the suitability of a practice.
  • Examine the different practice options available for consideration after residency.
  • Describe the business needs of a practice.
  • Recognize who to engage from other disciplines to make a practice successful.
  • Discover the necessary steps and timeframe it takes to become “practice ready.”
  • List the key components to look for in an employment contract.

That last item is such a critically important topic that the GME competency program also has a module solely devoted directly to it, “Physician Employment Contracts.”

The “Choosing the Practice That’s Right for You” module also includes more than half a dozen additional resources.

Visit the AMA GME Competency Education Program for more information on this and other offerings or to request a demo.