Academic versus private, tips on job search

MSKenthusiast

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5+ Year Member
Nov 18, 2015
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  1. Medical Student
    Could people please comment on how they chose academic vs private practice within the realm of sports med? What is the job market like for academic vs private, specifically for someone who does *not* want to do spine or see chronic pain? Lastly, are there better ways to approach the job search than emailing physician recruiters? This has been frustrating for me, as I craft thoughtful emails and get zero response. Thank you for any insights.
     

    timisdaman

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    15+ Year Member
    Aug 14, 2006
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    1. Attending Physician
      Pure sports jobs are rare. Most are a combination of sports and your primary specialty. Obviously, the more niche, the more difficult it will be to find a job.

      For example, I am PM&R, but did NOT want any spine or EMGs. It was doable (have had 2 such academic jobs and several interviews at private and academic), but the pool was smaller.

      The best thing is to work connections. Reach out directly to whoever would be in charge of (or have significant pull) in hiring.
       

      runfastnow

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      10+ Year Member
      Jan 27, 2010
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        Could people please comment on how they chose academic vs private practice within the realm of sports med? What is the job market like for academic vs private, specifically for someone who does *not* want to do spine or see chronic pain? Lastly, are there better ways to approach the job search than emailing physician recruiters? This has been frustrating for me, as I craft thoughtful emails and get zero response. Thank you for any insights.
        I echo the above poster - pure sports jobs can be very hard to find and early career you must be flexible and then mold your practice into what you really want over the course of a few years. Also defining what a sports job is can be very difficult. Only seeing young people/athletes? Hopefully you're FM and can find a university based job and like student health to add to your sports practice seeing athletes. I was head physician of a large D1 program through COVID times - that took up 50+% of my time in comparison to my private practice work and brought in maybe 5% of my revenues in a good month.

        A lot of people start 50/50 with stuff they love/hate then slowly have to build up the diagnoses they like taking care of by building reputation and reliable referral sources (academic and private). I am PM&R trained and was hesitant to do a lot of spine and EMG but now I am probably 60% spine, 35% sports, 5% EMG/amputee now that my college team doc stuff is behind me. I love the mix and looking to expand into more spine. Doing procedures, being busy and in demand, and helping people who have gotten crappy spine care in the community is very rewarding to me compared to doing primary care stuff for college kids.

        Very early in fellowship I was reaching out (i.e. cold call/e-mailing) to department chairs at academic departments and trolling the AMSSM and AAPM&R job boards and contacting anything that seemed interesting. It worked out well for me and locked down a job by Christmas of fellowship year.

        I decided to go the private practice route because I wanted flexibility in my job and to be valued by the practice that employees me. I was burned out on large academic centers, doing meaningless research just for "academic points", and academic politics ultimately for less pay and less admin support compared to what I get.

        Will I be considered a "dumb community doctor" if I refer someone to the local medical school? Probably; but that's ok - I have a good reputation in my community and region, provide good care to my patients, and know where our practice and local health system limitations are ... that's why tertiary and quaternary referral centers exist.
         
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