How to Achieve Your Medical Career Goals
December 08, 2021
By the Merritt
What does it
take to achieve goals in your medical
career? It involves more than just having a vision and working as hard as you
possibly can. You’ll need to define specifically what you want to accomplish,
garner support and develop a multi-step plan for achieving those goals
Then you need to take those important first steps,
continually check your progress and make adjustments when necessary.
Ensure goals are clear and attainable
Assuming you have already assessed your current work
situation and decided that it is time to develop goals for your
physician career, the hard work begins as you set about
achieving those goals.
A good place to start is by verifying that your goals are "SMART
goals" that allow you to assess your progress and recognize true success
in your career. The SMART acronym refers to the fundamental practices needed to
achieve a set of goals. Each career goal should be:
An example of a career goal for physicians might be, “To grow
in my medical specialty to increase my salary.” It becomes a SMART goal when
you make statements that fulfill these five attributes, such as:
Specific: I will increase
my annual earnings by 20 percent.
Measurable: I will
work with my supervisor to ensure I am meeting expectations. I will also document
my progress and note any milestones throughout the year.
Achievable: I will confirm
that my physician salary goal
is within reason for my specialty, and can be achieved by becoming more valuable
to my current organization, or in the job market. I will talk to a physician recruiter for more
insights, if needed.
Relevant: I will
participate in professional development opportunities (name specific ones when
possible) to build my skills and demonstrate my contribution to the
Timely: I will
achieve this salary increase within 18 months.
These goals and statements should be written down, and
Develop a support system
Whether you are concentrating on the next step in your career
or have some long-term goals you are striving toward, it’s important to
remember that success is rarely a solo endeavor. You’ll want to share your career
goals with your family and loved ones, who can provide some perspective, input
You’ll also want to find some professional colleagues and/or
a mentor who can be a good sounding board and provide more specific guidance in
how to achieve your goals. If your goals are more immediate, your colleagues may
even know someone with a job opening, or can point you to a physician recruiter
or career consultant who has helped them in the past.
Physicians also need to engage in professional networking
beyond their current workplaces, which can occur in a variety of ways. It helps
to stay in touch with former classmates from med school or co-workers and
supervisors at previous jobs. You can also develop contacts through your
healthcare network, a medical association, professional conferences or
workshops, or through professional groups on social media like Doximity.
Take the necessary steps
Once you’ve affirmed that your goals are achievable and you
have shared them with your support team, you’ll need to take those first
proactive steps. Feeling hesitant? Just start with the basics, and progress
Let’s say your goal is to find a new physician job within the
next 6 to 12 months. If that’s the case, you’ll need to:
Each goal for your medical career can be broken down into a
series of steps and timelines. But don’t let the process overwhelm you. If you
have trouble keeping yourself on schedule, ask a colleague or family member to
help keep you accountable.
Hawkins is the nation’s leader in physician and advanced
practitioner recruitment, with expertise in every medical specialty.
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