Finding a Job in British Columbia jando.jpg

Victor T. Jando, M.D., CM, FRCSC
North Vancouver, BC

After completing my orthopaedic residency at the University of Toronto, I undertook two years of fellowship training in trauma as well as hip and knee reconstruction in Vancouver. Like many of my colleagues, I received countless notifications of job postings across the United States. However, I never seriously considered working anywhere other than in Canada. During my fellowship training, I did locum work at several hospitals in the Vancouver area. After a six month locum at Lions Gate Hospital (North Vancouver), I was fortunate enough to be offered my current job there. Finding the ideal job can be a daunting task. In retrospect, there were a number of constructive steps that I believe influenced the outcome of my job search.

The first step is to be proactive in your hunt for potential job opportunities. A number of resources are available including job postings in journals, at conferences, or on the Internet. Speak to your colleagues and programme directors. Word-of-mouth is often the way that information about a job is first disseminated. If you have a particular programme or hospital in mind, contact the chief of the department directly and forward him a letter of your interests accompanied by your curriculum vitae. At the very least, these documents may be kept on file for future reference.

Once you have obtained a list of job postings, the next step is to narrow down the playing field. As much as you may want to jump at the first opportunity that comes along, it is worthwhile devoting some time to introspection and careful contemplation of a number of factors. By the time you graduate, you undoubtedly will have chosen a subspecialty on which to focus your career. Make sure that any job you take will allow you to pursue your special interests and that your practice will be supported in terms of available operating time and specific equipment needs. The setting for your career is another critical factor. Some considerations include: 1) residing in Canada versus the United States; 2) working in an academic teaching centre versus a community hospital; 3) living in a large city versus a smaller town; and 4) your proximity to family and friends. On-call and after-hours workload varies significantly from one job to the next and is another important factor. Of course, you also need to consider the colleagues with whom you may be working for the next twenty to thirty years.

The final step to securing the job of your choice may involve performing locum work at the hospital where you hope to be hired. There is no better way to obtain first hand experience with working in a particular department while at the same time giving your (potential) future colleagues the opportunity to become acquainted with you both professionally and personally. The benefits are mutual and the importance of this sort of exposure cannot be overestimated. In addition, doing locum work is an excellent way to maintain your skills and earn a reasonable income while waiting for a more desirable permanent job opportunity.

Landing the right job is the culmination of your years of diligent work and training. Although the job search process may seem overwhelming at times, an encouraging fact is that the demand for orthopaedic surgeons will undoubtedly increase over the next decade. Following the steps outlined above will hopefully assist you in attaining your ultimate career goal. Good Luck.

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