10 Things to Do When Your White Coat Gets the Pink Slip

Industry shifts and culture clashes mean some physicians are finding themselves getting pink-slipped by their health system employers. If that happens to you, follow these 10 tips.

US Physician salaries have plateaued and so has the number of employed physician placements, with more hospitals looking for advanced practice professionals. In addition, there is a culture clash for formerly independent doctors when they become employees. Finally, sick-care is right-sizing, so it should come as no surprise that doctors are being fired.

If you are an employed physician and are "made redundant", what should you do? Here are some tips:

1. Take a deep breath. Work through the stages of loss and get beyond denial and anger as quickly as possible.

2. Do a Plan B assessment. Depending on the stage of your career, you might want to pursue a non-clinical pathway.

3. Increasingly, it is likely that as a medical student and resident you had little or no exposure to the business of medicine and, as an employed physician, were immunized from the intricacies of practice management. If you decide to join an independent group, you will need to educate yourself and get up to speed quickly, particularly when it comes to revenue cycle management. Create value as soon as possible.

4. Familiarize yourself with your biocluster and network extensively to get a view of a landscape that you probably have ignored up to now.

5. Don't make these 7 common mistakes when looking for a job or working with a search consultant.

6. Learn your lesson and, even when you find your next job, always have Plan B. There is no job or corporate loyalty and you are always on the bubble.

7. Playing it safe can be the most dangerous thing you can do with your career.

8. Consult an employment law attorney if you feel you have been wronged or subjected to discrimination or wrongful discharge.

9. Forget the exit interview.

10. If you are at the later stages of your career, don't screw up the encore.

There are several reasons why more and more white coats are getting the pink slip. You might be next, so start planning and preparing your contingency plan should you need it.