Urgent Care Jobs – They Come in All Sorts of Flavors
Where to start? How about patient volumes… there are urgent cares that see less than a patient an hour. There are urgent cares open 8 hours per day but only see 4 patients in a day. Are they sustainable models? Well, that’s really not the topic of discussion here but yes, they can make money because the clinic is either a new urgent care or a satellite clinic of a large medical group that needs to have a presence in a certain location. Some of these urgent cares are more walk-in clinics for posh clientele, call them boutique clinics or concierge offices.
How about zero patients? You are generally hired in such clinics to be a supervising physician. You may be supervising multiple PA’s or NP’s or you may be hired to be on site for a cosmetic clinic where the RN does all the procedures. You may be a faculty member where you only precept residents and provide guidance but don’t actually interact with patients directly.
OK, you actually want to use your medical skills?… well have no fear, got a little something for you too. Let’s go to the other end of the spectrum, ER’s. You are hired essentially by a an ER group or a group of docs that hold the contract for staffing the ED and they will naturally hire ER docs and pay them their fare salary but they will also hire family docs and even internists and pay them just a touch less. Of course the pay in these settings tend to be a bit more competitive because of the higher acuity. The numbers will vary but you likely will still see some of the higher volumes in this type of setting. You will sometimes have amazing nursing staff but often times you will work with the not-so-hot burn-out crowd. You probably will do a good amount of direct admit work, you won’t have easy access to specialists and will get a lot of your direction from the hospitalist that will admit the patient.
Alright, that was a bit freaky maybe? Here is a nice community stand-alone urgent care. Walk-in open from 8a-10p. Great reputation in the community, privately owned and the owner still puts in his/her dues. You have awesome staff because there are no unions here, if you can’t hang then you get the pink slip. The pay is competitive, no benefits, pay usually in a 1099 form. You may start here from the direction of a recruiter but the clinic will start scheduling you directly after a short period of time. Things are well run, efficient, effective. There are usually 80-100 patients a day in such urgent cares. Most are minor traumas and then a good amount of cold and flu’s and work note requests and then our favorite, drug seekers.
The primary care clinic needing coverage. Right, this website is about urgent care. But even a primary clinic will need cross coverage at times. A physician may be off on maternity/paternity leave. They may have had a sick-call. Often times you are expected to just manage the patient’s acute needs and are not expected to make major management changes. Though, you are always welcome to step up and take over the care of these patients, you will be appreciated for that. Sometimes your patient schedule will be booked way ahead of time (especially when the doc has called out sick for that day) or you are just an overflow doc and may end up seeing very few patients. Otherwise expect to see 8-12 patients in the morning and about the same in the afternoon.
The next practice setting is working in an urgent care at a large medical group. These are either teaching hospital affiliated programs or HMO’s or private groups with multiple locations. The main purpose of these urgent cares is to decrease the burden on their ER’s and also create some satisfaction for the patients by being able to be seen right away. Many of these start in the evening and operate on weekends as well. Some will be all day walk-in urgent cares and apparently these are becoming more popular. The pay here is usually quite competitive, the level of work is often appropriate… meaning you will see higher acuity than a primary care physician would but you won’t quite have the acuity of an ER. You will have great support and often times access to specialists by phone.
Finally, there are the jobs in the city jails, the prisons, the cruise ships, the far off locations in a migrant worker community, job site physician coverage and workman’s comp clinics. There are a lot of different settings and you may have to try them to see what fits. Some pay excessively more than others, often times there is a good reason for it so don’t follow the dollar, instead ask around, shadow the doc hiring you before you commit.
What other settings can you think of?
How do you chose your work setting?