Continuing Medical Education money has become a bargaining tool for companies. How much money is the company offering? Is it consistent with similar companies in the area? If you are willing to search, there are a lot of options for free CME credits through online resources and even in the medical community. However, depending on the company, CME money can also be used towards membership fees, DEA renewals, and equipment costs – all of which can start to add up quickly. Some companies will even give you a week of paid vacation specifically for CME conferences in addition to regular paid vacation time.
It is important to know if your company offers retention benefits. How many years do you have to work before you get a raise? Is there a set raise schedule in effect? Do you receive any perks after working a certain amount of years? At my current job, the amount of hours you have to work to be considered full time are reduced based on how many years you’ve worked there. Night shifts are also reduced; after you work there for 20 years, you don’t have to work overnight shifts at all. I see this as a huge perk, so this was something that weighed positively for me when considering the job.
Finally, I want to talk about job security. In my first position, I worked for a staffing agency. They were a great company, and I enjoyed working for them. However, staffing agencies can pull out of wherever you are working for at a moment’s notice. This was what happened where I worked – one day we had a job, the next day we didn’t. What’s more is that if you were recently hired and had not worked the required amount of time, you had to pay back your sign-on bonuses and any prorated CME money that you had already spent. It surprised everyone. Luckily, the hospital offered jobs to us, and the transition was seamless. This was a very important first job lesson and something that I now take into account for the future.
There are so many different things that you must think about while considering a job. I could talk all day about them, but I wanted to highlight a few that I felt were more specific to the PA and NP professions. Congratulations and good luck!
To all you old hats out there – what else do you think is important when considering a job in the medical profession?
Jillian Knowles, MMS, PA-C, is an emergency medicine physician assistant in the Philadelphia area.