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Five leading dermatologists share their advice for residents just starting their careers

We asked five leading dermatologists: what advice do you have for residents just starting their careers? Dermatologists Neal Bhatia, Omar Noor, Lindsay Strowd, Dhavil Bhanusali and Aaron Farberg offer their perspectives on how to get the most out of your first position. Finding balance is a recurring theme.

This discussion is part of the Galderma Experts Series in which we speak to world-renowned leaders in dermatology about patient care, practice management and life as a health care provider.

INTERVIEWER: Let’s talk about what advice would you give to a resident choosing their first job?

DR. BHATIA: So some of the advice I would give to a resident choosing their first job is that your first job is rarely your last job.

DR. STROWD: most of us when we go to our first job, we may not stay there for our whole life, and that's okay. It's a chance for you to kind of get your feet wet a little bit, kind of get out into dermatology and practice on your own and learn what works for you and what doesn't work for you.

DR. NOOR: So, you know, residents and dermatology residents are really our future, just like I was at one time. Now I'm old, hence all the gray hair. So when looking for your first job, especially the first job, you really – I mean, everyone's situation is very different, and every person is different on where they are in their life, what they need, and from a financial perspective, from an education perspective.

DR. BHATIA: … the number one lesson I would teach anybody is learn what not to do before you learn what to do. Learn from other people's errors, other people's ways of doing things that you don't like.

DR. FARBERG: My advice to a resident that's looking for their first job is to really consider all of the factors that are important to them, and it may not be the bottom line or salary. Consider all factors of the job. How much time you have for vacation, how many medical assistants you have, what your commute time is, those factors are usually far more important than any salary you'll get.

DR. STROWD: … when I was a resident looking for my first job coming out of training, I was really nervous. I felt like I had to find the perfect fit, you know, the perfect job that filled kind of everything that I was looking for in my career, and I think the reality is you sometimes don't really know what exactly you want to do when you finish training.

DR. BHANUSALIL: Figure out what you don't want to do, what you want to do, learn the business side of medicine a little bit too, because you, unfortunately you do need that to sustain a practice. I'm pretty sure I didn't get paid for the first six months because I didn't know how to submit claims or something like that.

DR. STROWD: … I think going into that job search with a little bit of an open mind. I really think that it's good to meet all the providers in the practice that you're interviewing with or the institution that you're looking to join and see if you would just be a good fit.

DR. NOOR: … everyone doesn't always start from the same playing field coming out of residency, which is fine, but at that point, after three years of dermatology, you should have a better appreciation or understanding of what type of dermatologist you're going to be.

DR. STROWD: Do you kind of mesh well with those providers? Is it environment that's really going to support a young dermatologist who's starting their career? Because when you first start out, you're a little bit unsure sometimes of exactly what the right thing to do is with some patients.

DR. BHANUSALI: I lean on my friends a ton. We talk. We have group texts and WhatsApp groups and everything, and it's okay to communicate and say you need help, and we do. And I think we're lucky with our generation of dermatologists. We're all friends. We're hoping everybody succeeds. We're rooting for each other. So that's the most important part.

DR. BHATIA: So some of the advice I would give to a resident choosing their first job is that your first job is rarely your last job. You should always think about where you want to work before you think about where you want to live, because you'll be so busy you won't have time to probably enjoy a lot of the things that you think about that would be somewhere glamorous, and go to where the needs are rather than where you think you want to be that's somewhere posh. You know, go to where patients will come to you rather than you have to go find them.

DR. BHANUSALI: But after that I'm a dreamer. Right? So I always tell people go create your own destiny. Don't sit there and wait to work for people forever. So take that first mini step and the big step, but you'll get to where you need to be.

*Expert author(s), speaker(s) or contributor(s) where indicated are paid Galderma consultants.

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