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Interviewing with Kaiser (Northern California Permanente Group)

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by Measured_in_KG, Sep 11, 2017.

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  1. Measured_in_KG

    Measured_in_KG

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    I just endured an absolutely terrible interview at Kaiser Sacramento.

    If you are interested in working there, you might know that they are quite different from other groups. Their interview was formal, and uncomfortable.

    It was in a tiny office, with two anesthesiologists carrying clipboards interrogating me from the other side of the table. Neither of them wore scrubs. I felt under-dressed.

    On their clipboards were the list of questions. They read from it like a script. After each of my answers, they looked at each other, then graded my answers.

    Here are the questions I remember:

    Tell us a time when you went "above and beyond" for a patient:
    What do you look like when you are stressed?
    What do you consider Kaiser's strengths?
    How will you react when a nurse anesthetist and you disagree with a treatment plan?

    I guess I will say this: the interview was so stuffy and artificial that it did a good job of screening applicants. I wouldn't be caught dead working for a practice that subjected interviewees to such rigmarole, and didn't let them meet their would-be coworkers. I am sure that the interviewees who thought dressing up and putting on their best interview makeup would do very well in the Permanente model.

    Good luck to them, I say.
     
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  3. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Welcome to the corporate world! You are just a cog, and that's exactly how you are treated. If they have many candidates for a job, don't expect anything positive, neither at interview time nor as an employee. You know you don't want that job even if they offered it to you.

    This is the future of anesthesiology in many metropolitan areas. At least you were interviewed by doctors, not CRNAs, and what you saw is what you got. Imagine them being nice at interview time and then screwing you over later.

    I doubt this is just the Permanente model. They do it only because they can, meaning that the market in that area allows it, and many others are probably doing the same thing. You are an employee first, second and third, and a doctor only at the end of a long list (mostly just when about tort).
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  4. Psai

    Psai Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    This sounds really lame and I look forward to doing this in a few years

    "Tell us a time when you went "above and beyond" for a patient"

    I mean what is this, medical school interviews? Ridiculous.
     
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  5. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    One of these companies had a recruiter ask me "So, doctor, why did you choose anesthesiology?" :bang:
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  6. dr doze

    dr doze To be able to forget means to sanity Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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  7. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    If I may ask, how were you dressed?
     
  8. Measured_in_KG

    Measured_in_KG

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    I was dressed one step above business casual: dress slacks, dress shoes, button-down shirt, but no tie.
     
  9. Shimmy8

    Shimmy8 ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    I mean no offense but you should be in a suit for an interview. Bottom line imo.
     
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  10. GassmanMD

    GassmanMD ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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  11. Measured_in_KG

    Measured_in_KG

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    I take no offense. If a suit is required for the interview, I'm not interested in the job. That sounds flippant, of course, but it is really as simple as that.

    I didn't make the point as strongly as I should have, but I credit Kaiser for knowing what they are doing with a stuffy interview. They don't want free wheelers. They want good, obedient soldiers.

    Had I any notion of how formal the interview was going to be, I would have saved both parties the bother. That was message I was trying to deliver to the studentdoctor network. Of course, it is going to look like I am passing judgment, because I don't agree that playing dress up for an hour's bullsh*tting session is the way to evaluate how competent a physician is. I can think back to my residency and have a very easy time picturing some perfect tools being happy in the Kaiser model. But I would not be. Without exception, the good jobs I've interviewed for have stressed up front that I am not to dress up, because I'll be donning scrubs and hanging out in the OR for the bulk of the interview.
     
  12. BLADEMDA

    BLADEMDA ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Easy job. They will fill it without any problem whatsoever so my advice to the next guy/girl is dress up.
     
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  13. GaseousClay

    GaseousClay :) 2+ Year Member

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    I would not hire someone like you at all. You are not hot sh**. there are hundreds of grads dying to come to california with identical stats/experience as you. If you are not interested in a job because they expect you to wear a suit then you are as entitled as you are thin-skinned. They should be grilling you because they are forced to work with you for the next 30 years. Its impossible to get fired there after you make partner so they want to be sure of their hires. Welcome to the real world...
     
  14. AdmiralChz

    AdmiralChz Random-zilla 7+ Year Member

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    Wear a suit for a job interview, always. We are professionals - did you wear one for residency interviews? This is more important.
     
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  15. Man o War

    Man o War 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah, it's weird to me that you choose to die on this hill. It's a suit. So what.
    Sorry, but you scream high maintenance and we avoid that personality type like the plague.
    If you can't "play the game" you are going to struggle in anesthesiology as an attending.
     
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  16. Ezekiel2517

    Ezekiel2517 Anesthesiologist 10+ Year Member

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    Actually Kaiser Sacramento has had an ad up on gaswork for many weeks now. And Kaiser never advertises on gaswork for the vast majority of their locations. So clearly they are having some trouble finding the right person for it.
     
  17. Arch Guillotti

    Arch Guillotti Senior Member Lifetime Donor SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    No offense but this is idiotic.
     
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  18. anbuitachi

    anbuitachi ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    Some residencies straight out tell you to come in scrubs. It's retarded to go in a suit, so you can change into scrubs/bunny suit to tour the OR, then change back. I agree with OPs sentiment but then again sometimes you just have to play the game even if you dont agree with it. I wouldve worn a suit unless stated otherwise though

    The job posting didn't seem very informative. How are you able to tell that it's a good job? I see no salary, and 3 weeks paid vacation
     
  19. AdmiralChz

    AdmiralChz Random-zilla 7+ Year Member

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    If an employer tells you to come in some dress, then by all means! And yes there are stories of people rolling up to anesthesia groups in flip flops asking for the board runner who later got a job, but I bet the majority of people on this forum interviewed in a suit. I have no problem at all arriving looking nice and changing - you probably shouldn't wear outside scrubs into an OR anyway.
     
    Man o War likes this.
  20. GassmanMD

    GassmanMD ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    At a place I interviewed last year they told me to dress casual and specifically not to wear a suit. I still dressed up, but left the suit jacket in the car. It's just a matter of respecting the process. In hind sight, maybe I should have worn the suit jacket too. You can never be faulted for wearing a suit to any professional interview.
     
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  21. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Keeping the Forces of Entropy at Bay 10+ Year Member

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    I'm a surf bum that shaves about once every 10 days and I cut my hair like 4x/year - and guess what I wear to job interviews - a f*ckin' suit. You're interviewing for a position as a consultant physician, you need to act like it and look the part.

    The OP just screams narcissistic PD and has jumped out to the lead in the running for SDN's douchebag-iest post of the year.
     
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  22. aneftp

    aneftp 7+ Year Member

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    My friend at Kaiser So Cal said they had some bad hires from 2007-2010 era. So Even though Kaiser northern Cal is different entities. They probably want to screen out more applicants.

    Kaiser in a way is like a govt job but pays a lbetter. Once u are "partner". It's almost like being a federal employee after 2 years probation. Hard to get rid of someone in the system. Kaiser also has very good lawyers so hard to sue.

    I don't have an issue with the interview process. They want to see the serious side of you. They want to screen applicants out.
     
  23. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    3 weeks vacation. What's this, residency for life? What else is like residency?
     
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  24. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    How many decades of experience do you have?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  25. Southpaw

    Southpaw ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    You all are being a little harsh. Perhaps different strokes for different groups. I've interviewed for two private practice jobs (real MD-only private practice not the AMC nonsense). I was told to dress casually as I would immediately change into scrubs and be in the OR all day. That held true.

    When I've interviewed candidates for positions in my practice I've considered a few things (where they trained, what their recommenders say about them, if I believe I could work with them and depend on them as a partner, and whether or not they were a chief) but I certainly could not care less if they showed up in a suit or not.
     
  26. GravelRider

    GravelRider SDN Lifetime Donor Lifetime Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    3 weeks vacation? And we're making fun of the guy who wanted to be in NYC. I might go to that interview and not wear a suit on purpose.
     
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  27. Shimmy8

    Shimmy8 ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    I mean if they tell you to wear something, by all means wear it.

    If they don't say anything, then wear a damn suit.

    A poster above expressed it best, it's about respecting the process and being a professional. Bottom line.

    Their interview process does sound a bit weird, but that's a completely separate issue.
     
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  28. Crabbygas

    Crabbygas

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    Maybe we should get a couple dozen SDN members to go interview in shorts and flip flops and tell the interviewers thats all they get for 3 weeks vacation.
     
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  29. Gastrapathy

    Gastrapathy no longer apathetic Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    I don't work for TPMG and don't practice anesthesiology but I work for a similarly structured large multispecialty group and do some hiring. I can't recall someone wearing anything other than a suit. I also ditch the scrubs because its a visible sign that I'm taking this seriously and value their time.

    WRT the OP, its pretty clear you weren't really interested and equally clear that you'd be a terrible fit for that kind of group. Seems like a success that you were able to figure that out about each other.

    The interview sounds awkward but what they were trying to execute was a behavioral interview. It may be that they were looking at each other because they found your responses remarkable. There is some soft science that this type of interview is a better predictor of future performance. More importantly, asking and scoring standard questions from a question bank of all prospective candidates protects the group from liability in the hiring process. We take a similar approach but also have a couple less formal periods in the day when the partners who aren't interviewing get to meet the candidates and partake of adult beverages.

    Of the 4 questions you recalled, the "above and beyond" question is cheesy but the rest are all quite directly relevant and seem totally fine. They may have planned to walk you around and meet folks but the interview went so poorly that they didn't bother.

    The 3 weeks of vacation is pretty standard at the start for these types of groups. Ours basically doubles over a few years and then increases more slowly.
     
  30. GaseousClay

    GaseousClay :) 2+ Year Member

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    you end up accumulating vacation time there I believe as well as having education time. Senior partners can have up to 10-12 weeks of PAID vacation per year.
     
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  31. aneftp

    aneftp 7+ Year Member

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    Usap (won't disclose the actual location) was trying to offer my buddy $270k w2 with 2 weeks vacation!! And I saw the spread sheet. He was making around $380k 1099 as contractor for them with around 7 weeks off. And in their bogus spread sheet they claimed his 1099 estimated taxes was $111k!!! What a freaking joke. No one 1099 who makes 380k pays even close to 111k in taxes. More like 50-60k max after deductions.

    They will go as low as they think some sucker will take.
     
  32. Southpaw

    Southpaw ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    I agree the suit is customary, but I want you to understand there are plenty of groups out there where the interviewee will literally spend the entire interview day (including lunch) in scrubs as it's the only way to meet the partners (who are working in ORs.....).
     
  33. Gastrapathy

    Gastrapathy no longer apathetic Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Oh I get it. I just doubt a normal applicant would assume it.
     
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  34. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    I love this senior partner BS, especially in today's volatile markets. By the time one makes senior partner, the rules have changed. Same as in academia.

    This is not a world in which it's worth making a lot of sacrifices for the sake of promotion, as it used to be. There are no more guarantees for anything, unless one has a contract that specifically enumerates all the future things one is counting on. That's why millennials couldn't give a crap about all the promises, like we older suckers used to do. Carpe diem, and that applies first of all to one's income and/or lifestyle.

     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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  35. Gastrapathy

    Gastrapathy no longer apathetic Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

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    ^^hope you're wrong but time will tell.
     
  36. rakotomazoto

    rakotomazoto ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    Other than showing up under dressed, what's the worst faux pas someone has seen an applicant do? Or done yourself?
     
  37. teeva

    teeva 2+ Year Member

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    When I was looking for a job, the first questions out of my mouth were what's the pay, call requirement, avg hours per week, and vacation time. I really had no interest in gauging how good/bad a job was until those questions were answered directly and firstly before going into the details.

    It may be considered bad form but both parties shouldn't waste time unless they know what they're in for.

    The OP should have worn a suit unless told otherwise. It's standard practice, like not showing up naked, drunk, or high.

    That said, do new grads aspire to work for Kaiser? I know some grads in other specialties see Kaiser as their literal dream job (those are seriously their own words), but not sure if it's true for anesthesia as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017 at 12:06 AM
  38. Southpaw

    Southpaw ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Agree. If not told otherwise an applicant should wear a suit.
     
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  39. GassmanMD

    GassmanMD ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    The Kaiser dream job mentality is currently prevalent throughout SoCal residency programs because it's a stable job, with higher pay and better working conditions in comparison to academics. Also they offer partnership in a multi specialty group. It's obviously not as good as private practice (for some) but these past few years very few graduates have been offered reasonable partnership tracks in SoCal. And the application process for Kaiser is very similar to applying for residency or medical school, which CA3s can easily understand and grasp, therefore making the Kaiser jobs way more accessible.
     
  40. Big Swinging Doc

    Big Swinging Doc

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    Sigh.

    I'm old enough to remember when only the bottom two residents in each graduating class would work at Kaiser. It was either Kaiser or the VA for the unemployable in those days.

    I can fault the OP only for not knowing the ground rules. At Kaiser you aren't applying to be a consultant anesthesiologist or partner: you are applying to be an employee. Dress up, smile, bend a knee, and hope they will let you into their little secretary pool, where if you are careful to play by the rules and never stand up for yourself, you might claw your way up to middle management, whereupon they give you the clipboard and you get to administer structured interviews. Oh, joy.

    When we "interviewed" applicants, we knew before-hand that they were competent for the job. We considered the interview our opportunity to sell ourselves and our practice on the "applicant." We only interviewed the best, and we knew they had other options. We wanted them to be comfortable and to be themselves. Asking them to dress up, or keeping to scripted questions, would have worked directly against that goal.

    I don't fault our corporate overlords for the change. I fault the doctors who rolled over and accepted it. Shame on us.
     
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  41. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Keeping the Forces of Entropy at Bay 10+ Year Member

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    That's interesting, as SoCal is still home to a relatively large number of good old fashioned PP groups with real partnership opportunities. I'm familiar with only one group in my area that has gone a bit shady and cut out their track in favor of employment, but a lot of fair groups still remain. Our problem has been trouble finding high quality grads with good references these last 2 years - damn millenials :p.
     
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  42. doctalaughs

    doctalaughs Member 10+ Year Member

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    I used to be at kaiser (in a different specialty). There's no doubt you are an employee not a "partner" but I can see why many prefer it to the alternative today

    - no getting screwed by the "senior partners" wondering if they are going to sell the business in 6 months for their golden parachute.

    - no pandering to your referral base (surgeons or pcps or whatever)
    - no marketing, administrative or billing hassles.
    - decent pay for a pretty cush work schedule (you can make 400-500k early on without insane hours)
    - vacation at 3 weeks looks skimpy on surface but quickly goes to 5-6 weeks and usually ton of holidays, cme "paid time," more sick days than you know what to do, unpaid leave whenever etc. I used to vacation way more at kaiser (maybe 8 wks/yr) then I do in private practice now since it affects my bottom line more now.
    - usually a hefty govt insured pension that can often add 150-200k/yr after retirement on top of your 401k and other saving plans etc.

    Not for everyone but definitely no longer "bottom of the barrel" applicants fighting for these positions.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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  43. GassmanMD

    GassmanMD ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    $400-500 is not starting anesthesia salary at kaiser
     
  44. doctalaughs

    doctalaughs Member 10+ Year Member

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    I can't comment on California since I don't know that market, but in some other kaiser regions my friends in anesthesiology were making in that ballpark which I think is totally fair/reasonable given there is no later higher potential like a partner in PP. They did better than most in academics, VA or starting PP but less than a busy PP partner.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
  45. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    How is the KP patient population? That too can make or break a good job.
     
  46. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Keeping the Forces of Entropy at Bay 10+ Year Member

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    Making north of 4 in Kaiser CA is possible but will require taking a significant amount of extra call even once you max out your base pay. Starting base pay is in the 200's, and if you contribute maximally to the pension, some of that comes out of the salary.

    Starting base in Denver is more like 350.

    Kaiser makes some sense if you do it straight outta residency. The math doesn't add up if you're later in your career.

    When you realize that every single patient is insured (and what unit value that would equate to in the real world) they are grossly underpaying you even including the benefits. If your plan is to go to Kaiser and bust your ass to make up the pay difference then just go to PP and bust your ass and really make some $$$$
     
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  47. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Keeping the Forces of Entropy at Bay 10+ Year Member

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    Mostly blue collar type that have KP 'cuz it was the cheapest option for their employer.
     
  48. fakin' the funk

    fakin' the funk ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Love the idea of interviewing at a famously bureaucratic place and refusing to conform by adhering to the dress code. How big of a signing bonus did they offer you?
     
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  49. fakin' the funk

    fakin' the funk ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Kaiser (TPMG) Northern and Southern California are separate entities, with important differences. Individual hospitals within a region can vary significantly as well. The commenters here should clarify which region they are talking about when quoting salaries, work schedule, patient population etc.
     
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  50. GassmanMD

    GassmanMD ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    Correct, each individual department is run differently and there are some differences even in compensation and benefits amongst different hospitals in the same region.

    Starting pay in soCal Kaiser is close to $230k for 36-40 hours a week with 4-7 weeks vacation. Those ranges reflect some of the differences between locations.
     
  51. Measured_in_KG

    Measured_in_KG

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    This has been an entertaining read.

    Yes, I feel like a bit of a fool for even applying for the corporate anesthesia job. I will say that a while back I interviewed at Kaiser Hawaii, and it was not nearly as stuffy.

    In Oklahoma and Texas, you would have been seen as immature and untested if you showed up for an interview in a full suit, at least where I worked.
     

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