ACC.14: Finding a cardiology job requires a broad network

WASHINGTON, D.C.—For young cardiologists looking to move from fellowship to a contract, casting a wide net of contacts is key to landing a job, according to a March 29 presentation at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) scientific session.

Networking with people in your program and colleagues at cardiology conferences is an obvious strategy, but jobs could come from sources you might not expect, said Andrew Freeman, MD, of National Jewish Health in Denver.

These unexpected job sources include drug and device company representatives, who may have heard about openings in other hospitals. Nurses and staff in the cath and echo labs may also have a line on an opening they could share with job seekers. If a recruiter calls to talk about an unwanted opportunity, be nice in declining and inquire about other openings or suggestions.

As with career searches in other fields, Freeman stressed that your CV must be top-notch. “If English is not your first language, I highly recommend giving your CV to the most academic English teacher you can find and say, ‘Grill this for grammar and punctuation and make sure it is correct.’”

Hospital jobs can be tough to come by in recent years, as those planning to retire have delayed those plans due to the recession or other financial considerations. In spite of a need for cardiologists, Freeman explained that many organizations are reducing staff or increasingly employing non-physician clinicians. “Nothing wrong with a non-physician clinician, but when it’s you trying to get a job, it’s a big deal if you’re competing against a nurse practitioner or a PA [physician assistant].”

Employment at hospitals also means more red tape, and staff changes—if, for instance, replacing a nurse who is not doing quality work—can proceed at a “glacial” pace, warned Freeman.

That said, there are a number of perks that accompany hospital employment. Hospitals tend to have more organized infrastructure and are likely to have better benefits. Human resource departments are more likely to offer maternity or paternity leave, and links to other large hospitals, especially if associated a large network, could come in handy if considering a move.

Freeman advised professionals in their early career to push themselves to be the best they can be, even if a fellow may groan at having to take a 5 p.m. consult. These young cardiologists should get used to the work and want to take on patients. “You want every last one. Midnight on New Year’s Day you’re ready for a consult because you need to build your name and your practice.”