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Wanted - seasoned veterans: diamonds in the rough need not apply.

So you've decided that you are ready for the move from clinician to physician executive. And you've carefully read the preceding article and know exactly what it is that hiring organizations are looking for in their medical managers. You do not have any job-specific experience, but you're ready to seek a management position. How do you approach the task?

First, put your curriculum vitae back in your file cabinet (unless you are looking for an academic position), and develop a two-to three-page resume that highlights your management and leadership accomplishments in part-time positions, in elected or volunteer positions in health care organizations, and in community affairs and professional societies. ACPE and other professional organizations provide help with resume preparation for modest fees.

Network, network, network. Expanding your network can help you find out about what jobs are available, what physician executives in those jobs do, and what you need to do to prepare to position yourself to get that desired job. You can also use your network to let people know what you want to do. I got my first full-time management job because someone who knew me through two national organizations believed I could do the job. I had no track record at that point.

Demonstrate to the marketplace that you are a life-long learner. If you do not choose to go into a master's degree program, take courses and management seminars that are specific to the kind of work you want to do. Find out what knowledge base your desired job requires and enroll in courses that fill in your knowledge gaps.

Get valuable experience by volunteering to serve on and lead medical staff committees. Respond to opportunities to become a department chair or a member of the medical staff executive committee. Look for part-time work with an insurance company or managed care company doing utilization review, quality assurance, or credentialing. Some hospitals are also in need of physicians to do similar part-time functions.

If you are interested in a management position that requires certain communication skills, find out how good you really are at speaking, writing, or interviewing. Get feedback and coaching from a professional. Prepare extensively for job interviews. A poor interview can negate all other preparation and positioning that you have done.

Read advertisements and information that comes to you from search firms. This will give you an idea of what organizations are looking for. Here is an example of what a hospital is looking for in vice president of medical affairs candidates:

* Experience in a similar position or considerable experience in elected or appointed medical staff positions in a hospital setting.

* At least five years' practice experience and board certification in a clinical specialty.

* Continuing education in appropriate areas of health care management. A master's degree is desirable but not mandatory.

* A working knowledge of medical staff leadership development, clinical outcomes standards, medicolegal issues, quality improvement, hospital finances, and managed care.

* Strong interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills.

Here is an account of how one physician prepared and positioned himself to become a hospital medical director. Three years ago, he participated in "Career Choices," the career planning seminar sponsored by ACPE. He made the commitment to prepare for hospital management. He networked. He talked to hospital vice presidents of medical affairs to find out what they did so he would know what he needed to learn. He enrolled in an MBA program from which he graduated this year. He volunteered for everything he could do in his hospital, and eventually volunteered to be the hospital medical director. This gave him the opportunity to lead the hospital through the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' accreditation process. Earlier this year, one of his networking contacts recommended him for a vice president of medical affairs position in another hospital. He was a serious candidate but was not selected. He will get such a position soon.


Health care organizations looking for physician executives prefer seasoned veterans - doctors who have already done the job. They want job-specific experience. Most organizations do not provide training grounds and orderly career ladders for aspiring physician executives. The Permanente Medical Groups, Family Health Plans, and some very large group practices are exceptions, but, for the most part, rising medical directors in these organizations stay with them. Most hospitals are not large enough to have associate or assistant medical directors or an environment that could provide a training ground for rising physician executives. On the other hand, hospitals, larger group practices, health insurance companies, and managed care organizations provide ample opportunities for nonphysician managers to train, gain experience, and climb the ladders. How can the novice physician executive break into the world of management and begin establishing management credentials? The author provides some key steps that can lead to success.

George E. Linney Jr., MD, FACPE, is Vice President of Tyler & Company, an executive recruitment firm in Atlanta, GA.
COPYRIGHT 1995 American College of Physician Executives
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Career Management
Author:Linney, George E., Jr.
Publication:Physician Executive
Date:Sep 1, 1995
Previous Article:Making a match: inexperienced physician executives and the job market.
Next Article:In-house recruiters: on the inside looking out.

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