As the demographics of the physician workforce evolves over the years, one growing segment of the workforce includes physicians who are married or partnered with other physicians. There is not great amount of available research on the topic, but one study from 2008 revealed that about 16% of physicians are married to or partnered with other physicians. Today, ten years later, that percentage is likely even higher.
How does being part of a dual physician household impact your life and career? The study revealed that dual physician relationships were more likely to have experienced a recent career conflict with their partner, or a work/home conflict than single-physician couples. Not surprisingly, the study concluded overall that surgeons whose partner is also a physician appear to experience greater challenges balancing personal and professional life than surgeons whose partner/spouse is not a physician.
The challenges can begin to compound as early as your job search as a dual-physician couple. Finding the best practice for one physician is challenging enough, and a dual-physician job search compounds the issues at hand. It's not impossible to find a great practice for both physicians in a relationship, but definitely creates additional challenges to overcome. Below are a few tips for finding the best career opportunities as a dual physician couple.
1.) Prioritize - It helps to focus on one search first, as the primary search, and then the other as a secondary search. This could be based on earning potential, long-term career or family/childcare plans, etc. It can be very overwhelming conducting two practice searches simultaneously - you may find yourselves going in too many difference directions, literally and figuratively. This is not to de-value or undermine one partner's search compared to the other, but just to help streamline the search process by determining a primary focus among the two separate searches.
2.) Be flexible - Currently the job market is somewhat of a candidate's market right now in terms of supply and demand, especially for certain specialties for which there is the greatest need, such as primary care, psychiatry, etc. Depening on the specialty and location, there are more open opportunities than there are physicians to fill them. So you do have many options when seeking practices. However, one spouse may need to concede on some of his or her “ideal” deciding factors on the practice wish list, in order to secure good opportunities for BOTH physicians.
3.) Set Goals - List out your career goals and objectives for both physicians. Be sure to focus on your needs vs. wants - what must you have, and what would be nice to have in a practice opportunity? Be sure to include goals for your quality of practice, your income, as well as long-term goals, and quality of life goals. Be sure to think about these and discuss with one another ahead of your job search activities, before you get too entrenched in the process without clear goals agreed upon by both physicians in the relationship.
4.) Communicate: When in doubt, over-communicate! Be sure you are keeping one another in the loop of any interviews scheduled, any conversations with recruiters, and any ideas you have regarding the focus of the search. Dual physician teams have been known to unwittingly schedule interviews in separate states for the same date, if communication is lacking. Unless you and your spouse want to end up practicing in different states, frequent communication is KEY!
The above are just a few guidelines to help sort out the many intricacies involved in finding two physician practices at once, in the same area. If you'd like to discuss your practice search needs, as a single- or dual physician team, we are here to help!