I have good news. There are not enough EM docs. Jobs are plentiful. Although this abundance of options slightly complicate your search, any complication is in your favor. With a little hard work in your day-to-day networking, you can (and should) really be in the driver’s seat. My tip to you – The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Annual Scientific Assembly in the fall is when things should really accelerate in your job search.

That’s when I learned about the details regarding my current position as a Firefighter – Traveling Physician. But I am getting ahead of the story.

Leading up to the conference, I worked the list of New York-area directors handed down by my attendings. Your attendings are a great resource. I guarantee that they have some emails that they used as a job search template, and if asked, will pass down to you. I already had five or six interviews prior to ACEP, and I was thoroughly enjoying it. Tip No. 2: I highly recommend stacking interviews close and really working the road. You need to get out and walk through and dissect the different work options.

My original plan was to get out and do four to five years in a community setting, retain procedural skills, get thrown in some hot pots, and maybe return to academics at another point. So, I steered clear of academic centers. I interviewed at smaller sites, RVU-based behemoth departments, some private kush centers and some EDs in a state of flux with new directors (Tip No. 3: Always find out why!).

Basically, by the time I was at ACEP, I was well-schooled about the process. ACEP is really where I formulated my plan to head West. I’ll save the reasons why I headed West, but it involves a love for the mountains, new challenges and a break from the density of the East Coast.

While at the Job Fair at ACEP, I ran into a buddy who had just spoken with the travel division of one of a large group. My buddy was planning to live in L.A. and fly to his positions. Locums? Not really. No independent contractor status, full benefits paid and 401K, with an amazing pay rate from most groups.

Variable work environments were enticing. Being a lover of travel, I considered doing that. At that same time, I also looked at some of the big group options, and I was referred to Travis Ulmer. One day I called Travis, which led to a conversation that eventually led to an interview and my current position as a Firefighter – Traveling Physician. 

Why did I choose US Acute Care Solutions (USACS)? Yes, the benefits offered by USACS are very competitive and the pay rate and site dynamics are on par with what I wanted. (Remember, I had already done my homework early on.) But in the end, it was the people during the interview process that made the difference. I felt an immediate sense of energy and camaraderie starting with that first phone call. All of my questions were answered with honesty and with my best interests in mind. It was very “this is who we are and we are very proud of our product” from the beginning. 

Other groups are great too, but this group of people seemed to really fit my personality. The dollars and cents discussions will come later. I urge you to first search until you get that good feeling with a certain group. It will happen.