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Overcoming Relocation Shock For Your Family

Overcoming Relocation Shock For Your Family

September 16, 2015

When you accept an out-of-town job offer, the employer typically pays moving expenses and refers you to a real estate agent. But what if your family needs more help? Increasingly, groups, hospitals, and HMOs that really want physicians are bending over backward to accommodate them.

Take your spouse’s employment. The chances that a doctor is married to a working professional are greater than ever. And a relocated spouse who can’t find a job will be unhappy. So help in finding your spouse suitable employment should be part of the deal. After all, doctors are influential in their communities. That influence can be a resource for your spouse, opening doors closed to others.

For instance, we once placed a Providence, R.I., orthopedic surgeon with a 200-physician group in Houston. His wife was a literature professor at Brown. The group was able to find a faculty appointment for her at academically excellent Rice.

Recently, we moved a doctor from Detroit to Boston. His wife, a lawyer, was a partner in a firm that specialized in consumer-products liability. She knew that her chances of finding a job in Boston like the one she had in Detroit were remote. But her husband’s new employer arranged interviews that helped her size up the local opportunities. With that knowledge, they moved, even though she had no job. She now runs a state agency overseeing consumer-product safety. While she took a pay cut, the job is in her field, prestigious, and loaded with advancement potential.

Some time ago, we moved a psychiatrist from Michigan to Alabama. His wife, who was blind, wanted to be his office manager. The employer purchased Braille equipment and found child care so she could handle the job. As a rule, asking an employer to pay for child care is pushing it. But a request to screen local facilities-so you don’t have to interview 70 people-is reasonable.

You can also make requests on behalf of older children. We’re sending a Chicago doctor and his attorney wife to interview for a job in Albuquerque. The doctor asked the group to set up interviews at the best local schools for the couple’s 14-year-old daughter, who’s a brilliant student.

We moved a candidate with a grade-school child from Madison, Wis., which has a first-rate public-school system, to Honolulu, where the doctor felt that public schools were less than best. What’s more, it can take years to get a kid into a decent private school in Honolulu if you go through the usual channels. The employer, a large health-care organization, pulled the necessary strings.

Employers have agreed to more-unusual requests, as well. A female Ob/Gyn who moved to Des Moines had strong ties to relatives in Manhattan. Because female Ob/Gyns are in high demand, we were able to get her a package that included four first-class plane tickets to New York.

A St. Louis internist was concerned about taking a job with a group in Omaha. His wife had lupus, but the group’s insurance policy didn’t cover pre-existing conditions for the first two years. To snare the internist, the group agreed to pay for his wife’s care during the waiting period.

So if you’re contemplating relocation, sit down with your whole family, and ask each member to draw up a list of personal needs. Decide which are musts, and make them known to a physician recruiter or employer representative before arranging an interview. Also let the recruiter know that your spouse and perhaps older children will need to accompany you on the trip to scout out the new locale. It might also be a good idea for them to join you for some interviews and social occasions.

This article was published by Cejka Search and originally appeared in Medical Economics Magazine. Copyright by Medical Economics Company Inc. at Montvale, NJ 07645. All rights reserved.