Residents, what will your story be?

This post - originally published on the MEP Health blog on October 28 while MEP Health was exhibiting at the American College of Emergency Physicians Assembly - provides food for thought for all job-seeking residents.

It’s Day 2 of ACEP 2014, and, as I have in past years, I’m scrolling through the emergency medicine resident resumes of the young doctors who have visited our booth. And that’s when I decided I just had to look up the etymology of the term, CV.

The impulse came as I was looking at the dozenth list of lectures and papers that such and such candidate had delivered during medical school, the titles of which are too mind-numbing to look up again for reproduction here. Then I kept scrolling, down, down, until I got to the "Interests" section. This particular candidate had listed swimming, running, and improv comedy.

I’d just spent thirty seconds scanning a four-page Curriculum vitae - which part of it do you think I’d single out as a topic of conversation if I were stuck in an elevator with him?

A physician recruiter choosing colleagues

As the head of physician recruiting for an emergency physicians group, I have a pivotal role in getting to choose my colleagues. These are the people I will be pulling shifts with. They’re the people who could serve in leadership positions at one of our partner hospitals. They’re the people who I’ll work on change initiatives with, the people who will be leading teams of other medical providers to provide excellent care.

It sort of goes without saying that the fact that you were the fourth author on a particular paper delivered in medical school is the furthest thing from my mind when I think about who I want to take that journey with.

What does “curriculum vitae” mean?

Curriculum vitae is a latin phrase, I found, Googling the etymology, which means, loosely translated, "The course of my life." That really hit close to home, because I’ve found that recruiting physicians often comes down to sharing my story with them. It’s the story of how I was nervous about finding a job out of residency, the story about how I found people that I felt I could trust, that would become my future colleagues. At my job interview, I had on my CV that I’d worked as a concierge at a ski lodge - and that was what half the interview discussion was about.

I also want to hear the stories of the young doctors who are thinking about coming to work for us. Why do you want to be in a particular location? What drives you to want a leadership role? What kind of life do you want for yourself when you’re not at work? These are the things that CVs so rarely communicate, but that I want to know as I look for a colleague to help provide care in the Emergency Department.

It’s part of why we designed the display at our booth at ACEP the way we did. It doesn’t say, "Emergency Physicians: What paper will you deliver?" It reads: "Emergency Physicians: What will your story be?"


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By Jesse Irwin, M.D.

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