The shortfall of doctors in general specialties in set to increase to about 10,000 in the next decade.
Before, it was primarily residents who went in search of extra work to supplement their income, but with increased demand for practicing physicians and the greater choice in the kind of work they’re able to do, many practicing physicians are making the most of moonlighting.
In recent years, of the thousands of physicians that were surveyed regarding why they were taking on additional work many cited supplementing their income as their biggest reason. Since it’s become easier to take on additional work – as clinics closer to home need extra pair of hands – doctors no longer need to travel to remote destinations to begin their shift.
So, whether you’re thinking of moonlighting to pay off debt, pay for your child’s college tuition or start saving for retirement, you need to consider the pros and cons involved.
Supplementing Your Income
The biggest benefit to becoming a moonlighter are the financial benefits you’ll experience from only a few hours of work. Many moonlighting physicians are easily able to supplement the shortfall in their full time job by taking on additional work after hours.
Networking For Future Positions
If you’re intending to make a change in your career soon, there’s really no better place to start networking than when you’re moonlighting. Firstly, you’ll get access to other a new working environment exposing you to a possible employers, references and even other physicians that could help you in your search. These networking opportunities may prove more valuable than the income aspect in the long run.
Although the financial benefits are touted as the most significant, many physicians mention the clinical experience they’re exposed to while moonlighting. Many of these experiences they would not have encountered in their full time role. And with the added experience they’ll find growth in their career far easier than their peers.
If you’re not intentional with the choices you make in regard to the position you’ll choose, you could become seriously overworked, very quickly. The added stress and pressure of a second job is one of the reasons moonlighting has been avoided by practicing physicians over time. However, as physicians are in demand the type of role they play and the nature of the work they’ll choose can be configured to suit their schedule.
Increased of Liability
As a moonlighting physician you’re not guaranteed protection against professional liability, as many secondary employers won’t take on the expense. In most cases you’ll need to purchase the correct liability insurance for yourself to safeguard you financially in the event you are liable or in the very least accused of being liable.
Less Free Time
You won’t have as much time on your hands as you did before, even if you only moonlight a few hours each week. That’s likely because you’ll need to recover after working a 12 hour shift in any facility and would need to sleep and recuperate for the day ahead. That burden on your schedule can make spending time with your family and friends a luxury when it once was a certainty.
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