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Emergency Medicine News:
doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000342749.23323.7f
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Starting a New Job: Ready, Set … Not Yet!

Katz, Barbara

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Ms. Katz is the president of the Katz Company, an emergency medicine consulting firm dedicated to providing expert physician recruitment services and training emergency medicine residents in effective job searching.

Many 2009 graduates have just completed the interview process, chosen jobs, and signed contracts. If you fall into this category, you may think the hard work is over, and it's time to enjoy the holidays: Mission accomplished! That's fine, but then get ready to put your nose to the grindstone again because there are still a few things to be done, and they can be the toughest and most time-consuming elements of your job search.

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Licensing

The licensing process in states like Texas, Florida, New York, and even South Carolina can take six months or longer. Texas probably has the longest licensing time in the country. If you secured a position in one of these states and have yet to start the licensing process but expect to start a job in July, you best start moving immediately. No matter the state where you've secured employment, you need to know how the licensing process works and the average length of time from submission of your application to approval.

You can find the contact information for every state's medical board on EDPhysician.com. Contact the board, and ask it to send the application and instructions. The contact person also will be able to give you an estimated time for processing. If you run into any issues with the licensing process, ask your new employer for guidance and assistance.

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Credentials

The secret here is having all your ducks in a row. In this case, that refers to the paperwork your new hospital requires to provide you with privileges. That means your transcripts and paperwork from college, medical school, and residency, your medical board transcripts, and other test results that may be applicable.

Make it easy on yourself, and call Human Resources or Medical Affairs at the hospital where you will be working, and simply ask what items are needed to process credentials. If they require transcripts or paperwork you don't have at hand, you will want to arrange for copies to be sent to you and your new hospital. Create a file for these documents, and keep it safe and up-to-date, adding important documents as they accrue. They will be called for again and again as you change employers throughout your career.

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Selling Your Home

If you have a home to sell between now and starting your new job, good luck! If you haven't already, contact a real estate agent and listen to her advice about what you need to do and where you need to price your home for it to sell. If you are fortunate to live where the real estate crisis is not an issue, thank your lucky stars, but don't wait. Those of you in Florida, California, Arizona, and other hard-hit regions may want to consider alternatives to a sale if that seems problematic. Many homes in these areas have already been on the market for more than a year.

The point is, educate yourself, and make plans now. There's no time to waste in this highly depressed market. If this becomes a crucial issue in your relocation, ask your new employer for advice.

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Schools

Got a couple of little ones who will be attending school? Don't wait until you arrive to do your school research and registration. Many of you will be taking a trip to your new location to do a real estate tour. If that's the case, arrange to tour area schools as well.

A school tour can help you select the best neighborhood for house hunting. Many hospitals have relocation specialists who can help with this process. In addition, your new colleagues who are parents can be a great help with this. Don't hesitate to consult them.

Finding a Home

In most cases, your new employer will pick up the expenses for you to search for a place to live. A hospital relocation specialist can be helpful with this. National real estate companies also have relocation specialists if you decide you want to use an agent to buy a home. Don't expect to be able to complete this process in a whirlwind two-day trip.

Again, your new colleagues can assist here. You might find one of your new coworkers has a realtor in the family. You should have done a neighborhood tour during your interview process, and have an idea of where you want to live. Set the ground work by doing your research on the web. Realtor.com and even Craigslist.com can be really helpful in determining the cost per square foot in specific neighborhoods, and give you a good idea of what's on the market. Allow yourself enough time to see several housing options during your trip and, unless you have a relocation professional in the family, accept all the assistance your new employer can provide.

If you are going to be in this home for less than five years, you may want to consider renting. Although there are amazing deals available, you might have to sell more quickly than you could imagine. Most of you are already paying off a large school loan, and qualifying for a mortgage is a huge challenge these days. Several years of stable, high earnings make you a better mortgage candidate, and renting also gives you the opportunity to really investigate the local market, get to know the different neighborhoods, and make a more informed decision when it comes to buying a home. The fact is, some 50 percent of graduating residents leave their first job within two years. If there is even the slightest chance you might fall into this category, carefully consider that before adding a mortgage to your life.

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Experienced Physicians

If you are leaving one position to start a new one, everything I've said so far applies to you as well. Having gone through a credentialing process already, you should be prepared with your paperwork. The licensing process is the same for a boarded, experienced physician as it is for a new graduate except there is more background to report and have checked by the medical board, meaning the process could take a bit longer.

The relocation issues are the same for you as well, particularly if you are going to a new state where you have never lived. Ask for help from your new colleagues, and do your homework. When making a move from one job to another, your transition time is likely shorter than that of a new graduate, but don't rush into making important decisions too quickly.

I'm a big fan of lists. Create one list for the professional items that need to be accomplished and another for the lifestyle items such as housing and schools. Work on the project as a family. Let the youngsters be involved by making their own lists of what they want to accomplish before the move.

However you decide to go about the process of relocation, the key is to start now, pay attention to details, and leave yourself time to enjoy the anticipation and excitement that comes with a new job.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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