September 13, 2021

RLI Kickstart Your Career: Reflections

By Nick Ferguson, MD

Headshot of Nick FergusonAs a relatively fresh fourth-year resident in my early 30s just starting to envision a life outside of the grind of training, I began to think about “getting a job,” which, surprisingly, no one had ever formally taught me (after all, it’s not on the boards). When I serendipitously came across the Radiology Leadership Institute®, I discovered the (virtual) Kickstart Your Career course, looked at the speakers/subjects and decided it would be worth a Saturday morning. It was definitely worth every second I spent on it!

I enjoyed the expected talks about private practice vs. academics as well as which things to consider when looking for a job, but what taught me the most (and what drew me to the workshop initially) were the topics you don’t hear much about during residency.

For example, the eye-opening lecture about the common clauses in most job contracts helped me understand why job contracts exist and the reasoning behind all that legal jargon. I also learned about the things that often aren’t in a job contract that you must ask about when considering/interviewing for a job — recommendations I never would have considered!

Other lectures focused on red flags to watch out for when considering a job, as well as how to succeed in the first year as a freshly-minted attending (including how to avoid imposter syndrome). I know those lectures will be useful down the line, and all of these subjects were addressed by leaders in our field.

Perhaps my favorite lectures, though, covered the business of radiology. We learned about how the business side of a practice functions and the intricacies of hospital contracts (the literal lifeblood of practices). We also identified market forces currently at play in the era of corporate radiology. One of the talks focused quite a bit on this and answered questions that I’d had for years, such as:

  • What actually happens when a practice gets “bought out”?
  • What circumstances push a practice towards or away from “selling out”?
  • How do I broach this subject during the interview process?
  • How can I protect myself from a potential sellout in advance before I make partner?

Lastly, to round out the discussion, students received practical pointers on how to start looking for a job, how to interview (and not interview) and how to use the many free resources that are available to every resident to find that perfect job.

All in all, I found the workshop to be extremely beneficial in my future job search. As they say, “knowledge is power,” and now I feel much more confident and capable to find the right job. After all, isn’t that the point of our 15 years of training? Why short yourself at the finish line!?