15 Mar 3 Things to Consider Before Accepting a Fellowship Opportunity
Pursuing a fellowship means gaining medical independence and at the same time, responsibility. You get to practice your own style and way of medicine, but you’ll have to fully take responsibility of treating your patients. So should you pursue a fellowship?
Here are three aspects to consider before applying:
1. Prioritize Your Career Goals
A lot of medical professionals willing to pursue a fellowship fail to consider the demands of it. The accomplishment of surviving residency might lead young doctors to think nothing could be more hectic than what they’ve just gone through.
But pursuing a fellowship means digging deeper into the academic side of medicine. From your career perspective, will taking a fellowship help you advance when it comes to your specialty? Or will it lead you away from it?
The bottom line is that it’s crucial to understand the demands that go with pursuing a fellowship in terms of time – and how it will or won’t fit with a family and personal life. When you choose to pursue a fellowship, everything in your life must be flexible enough to accommodate the additional responsibilities you’ve signed up for.
2. Decide On Your Subspecialty
It may sound obvious, but having a concrete idea of what your subspecialty is should be step one when diving into the fellowship process. You may be someone who knew you wanted to be a cardiologist when you applied to medical school. However, you may still be undecided about specialties, which means finding clinical experiences in a subspecialty during your elective period, ambulatory block (for outpatient-focused specialties), or inpatient rotations in specialties that you’re considering (for specialties with a heavy inpatient load, such as cardiology and oncology).
A good way to facilitate your decision-making process is to discuss what life is like with fellows or faculty in the specialty. You can also solicit feedback from your residency program director.
3. Consider Your Finances
Deferring income to pursue your fellowship means that you’ll have to wait on paying down your loans in any significant fashion. Professional fellowships typically provide a stipend or grant for living expenses during the fellowship period, but in many cases, it will be lower than what you would make in a permanent job in the public or private sector. The main reason is that many fellowships are funded by foundations and nonprofits that have limited resources.
Most students receive $10,000 to $25,000 for a 9–12-month program. However, it can be difficult or impossible to pay down debt, support dependents or save for retirement while on a fellowship. Also, most professional fellowships are full-time, so it may not be possible to have a part-time job or take other grant funding at the same time. So, consider carefully if the funding and benefits the fellowship provides are adequate for your needs and lifestyle.
If you’re not sure about your course of action, seek out physicians and mentors whose opinions you value and get their input on what additional value a fellowship could offer.
Contact Our Team at Annashae Today
At Annashae, we’re dedicated to the placement of highly-skilled clinical practitioners in short and long-term positions. As a nationwide medical staffing and consulting firm, we provide a range of services that enable our candidates to quickly find the career opportunity that fits their needs. For information on how you can further your clinical career, contact us today.