7 things physicians wish they'd done before residency

Congratulations, you matched! Now what? We have your to-do list.

Mar 17, 2016 - Production Blog Author

by Natasha Singh, Doximity

Match Day finally arrived. Congratulations, you matched! Now what are you supposed to do next? We talked with current residents and physicians to find out what they wish they’d done before residency started. Here are some tips we put together on a few items to check off your To-Do list before residency starts this summer.

_Click to Tweet _7 Life Hacks for Medical Students Before Residency Starts via @doximity

1. Connect with your new crew. Now that you know where you will be spending your residency, you probably have a thousand questions running through your head. Where will you live? Where will you find decent coffee in the middle of the night? Do residents ever have time to go for Happy Hour? To get answers, go to the source: current program residents and alums. They were in your shoes, and they probably have tips for navigating your new residency. To connect with your new colleagues, look up your program on Doximity and start scouting the answers to all those burning questions.

2. Goodbye school, hello debt. The average medical school graduate has $176,000 of student debt. Yikes, that’s a lot of dough. And since you are finally saying goodbye to med school, and hello to a real job with a (albeit small) paycheck, now is a good time to look at how you are going to repay your loans. You may have the option of deferring payment on those loans while you’re a resident. Or income-based repayment may make more sense, since you probably expect to earn a higher salary after residency. Take a look at the potential repayment options, and use the AAMC’s medical student loan calculator to figure out the best fit for your situation.

3. Spend wisely, young doctor. Now is a good time to spend your new income wisely. You may have mountains of debt, but extreme penny pinching probably isn’t going to impact that much one way or the other. So spend a little… just don’t go crazy with it. And by the way, this may not be the best time to buy a house. That’s a big debt to take on, plus a house may lock you into a location too soon. Plus, with your on-call hours, you’ll never be able to wait at home for the plumber to show up!**

**4. Don’t forget those textbooks! **Once you figure out where you are going to live during residency, you will need to get all your stuff from here to there… like all those super-heavy medical textbooks weighing down your bookshelf. One little-known option for moving all of your books is USPS Media Mail, which can help you save a lot on shipping educational materials. For example, those 30lb boxes of books that you need to ship across the country? Instead of spending at least $80 per box, you can use Media Mail to get them to your new home for around $17. 

5. Be the hospital hero with your pocket fax machine. You will have a brand new set of co-workers as a first-year resident, and you want to start off on the right foot, as you’ll probably be together for several years. With just one fax machine per floor that everyone has to share in order to send confidential patient information and orders, be the hospital hero with your HIPAA-secure fax app. Impress your colleagues and set yourself up for success by being ready on day one to exchange messages from your phone or tablet, instead of the shared fax machine.

6. Get your paperwork in order. ** Along with getting a digital fax line, it’s a good time to get the rest of your clerical life under control as well. Do that filing you’ve been putting off. Make copies of key documents, like your diploma. Pro tip: set up auto-forwarding from your medical school email address to your personal email address, so you don’t miss out on any important emails post graduation. Since you won’t be able to use your medical school email address for much longer, make sure you switch your login email addresses for important online accounts to a more permanent email address. Need to update your Doximity account? You can change it in your settings.

**7. Last call for a break. **Now that you matched, you may be coming down with a case of “senioritis”. This is perfectly normal, and the symptoms should subside by the time your residency starts! This may be the last hurrah for a little while, so take advantage of the next couple of months to just cruise and have a little fun. Travel. Catch up with family & friends. Pick up a hobby. Take care of yourself -- before you start your residency to do the real work of taking care of others.

If all of this is too overwhelming, just take the advice of Dr. Akshay Sanan, third-year resident in the Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He says, “spend time with your family and friends, sleep a ton, and travel somewhere new if you can. Once residency starts, your life will change forever (for the better, I promise). To date, the time between Match Day and the start of residency was some of my best experiences.”

Photo credit: Scrubs, NBC, http://i.imgur.com/BcL9ECc.gif

The Millennials Myth - Young Doctors Are Not the Only Ones Using Technology

It begs the question, exactly how are doctors are using this technology on the job?

Mar 09, 2016 - Production Blog Author

By Sarah-Richelle Lemas, Doximity

One thing we know at Doximity is that digital devices and apps have given doctors a whole new black bag of tools.  Everyone carries a smartphone these days, but we wondered exactly how doctors are using this technology on the job, and whether any generational differences exist.  To shed some light on this topic, we dug into how physicians across the age spectrum use Doximity products and other apps, and discovered some interesting findings.

You Are What You Read

One thing millennial and non-millennial physicians can agree on is that there is a lot of medical research and news to keep up with. That’s why DocNews is one of the top three Doximity features used by physicians over age 35. DocNews lets doctors see what their colleagues are recommending and commenting on and uses machine learning to suggest new articles to read based on the doctor’s own CV and interests. For one doctor out of Buffalo, NY, DocNews saves precious time. “Doximity's DocNews has kept me up to date in both of my specialties… without having to inefficiently skim through multiple journals each month”.

As you may guess, different DocNews articles appeal to different generations. While doctors of all ages are catching up on the latest clinical research, here are some of the more mainstream headlines that engaged different age groups in the last year:

Popular with Doctors Under 40

  • For the Young Doctor About to Burn Out
  • "Zombie Apocalypse" Drug Reaches US
  • Are Surgeons More Aggressive than Internal Medicine Physicians?
  • Study of Highly-Motivated GenX Physicians Shows Disparity Between Men and Women in Parenting
  • What Hospitals Could Learn from Starbucks

Popular with Doctors Over 55

  • How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?
  • Blood Pressure Ruckus Reveals Big Secret In Medicine
  • Biceps Curls And Down Dogs May Help Lower Diabetes Risk
  • Cardiologists Chronically Fail to Recognize One Problem in Older Heart Patients
  • Screening for Alzheimer’s Gene Tests the Desire to Know

And not surprisingly, doctors tend to grab a few moments to read the news at different times of day. While the most common time to read DocNews is early in the morning, the millennials own the midnight to 4AM graveyard shift. By contrast, many of the over-35s prefer to read their news in the more sane evening timeslots -- 8PM to midnight -- before hitting the hay.

Are you talking to me?

We also took a look at how our half a million physicians are using Doximity to interact with one another. More seasoned physicians are really loving the ability to connect with colleagues and classmates on Doximity. “One fun way Doximity made my life easier was when my classmates and I gathered for our 30 year reunion in Shreveport, Louisiana,” said Dr. Lori Barr, Partner at Austin Radiological Association. “It was the fastest way to get in touch with each other and make plans to get together.”

The younger set is taking advantage of digital fax and messaging at a faster pace than their more senior peers. According to Dr. Amit Ayer, a Neurosurgery Resident in Chicago, “The personal fax is a junior resident's best friend.”

Loving the fruit (or not?)

When we analyze what mobile devices physicians are using, we see that 90% of Doximity mobile users are on Apple products. Interestingly, doctors under age 40 are actually substantially more likely to use Android devices than their older counterparts. And while our data shows millennials use mobile devices more than 35-45 year olds and the 55+ cohort, the 45-55 age group was actually the most likely to use Doximity’s mobile features vs. the desktop version.

An App(le) a Day Keeps the Doc in Play

You almost never see a millennial without their phone in hand. Not surprisingly, nearly all younger physicians are using their smartphones on the job as well. According to the Sources & Interactions Study by Kantar Media, 92% of physicians under 35 use at least one app for professional purposes. In this group, 88% use a smartphone app for diagnostic tools/clinical reference and 76% use apps for drug and coding references. Their older colleagues are also adopting these devices, although somewhat less. For physicians ages 45-59, 55% use the first and 46% use the latter.

Ready or not

No matter how you are using smartphones and tablets on the job, technology has changed how the medical world works. Different age groups emphasize various platforms to varying degrees. But no matter what, technology that can help physicians be better at their jobs will continue to have a position in the workplace. See how Doximity can help you work more efficiently and download the app (Apple and Android).

Doctors’ Headshots: 5 Striking Lessons From 500,000 Physician Profiles

Why you're one professional headshot away from growing your referral base

Mar 01, 2016 - Production Blog Author

By Natasha Singh, Doximity

After digging through more than half a million profiles on Doximity, you learn a thing or two about how to represent yourself online. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this turns out to be true, even for physicians. We analyzed 500,000 physician profiles to reveal five key lessons on why professional headshots are critical for today’s physicians. Whether it’s a prospective employer looking you up online, or a fellow physician reaching out for a referral, your profile photo helps build your practice, your reputation, and ultimately your digital brand.  **

1. You’re one professional headshot away from growing your referral base (seriously)

We found that doctors with profile photos are viewed TWICE as often as doctors without photos. So, why does this matter? Well, physicians with profile pictures get preferential search ranking. By not having a profile photo, you may miss out on opportunities to expand your network among local physicians or position yourself for your next career move. We even discovered a correlation between doctors with and without photos and the salaries they earn: doctors with profile photos earn, on average, 8% more than their camera-shy counterparts.

2. Looking for the right job match? Don’t treat it like a blind date

For young residents beginning their careers, the lack of a profile photo is actually hurting their chances of landing their dream job. In fact, our data reveals that employers are 21% more likely to view candidates with profile photos than those without. In fact, Dr. Armand Krikorian from Advocate Christ Medical Center encourages all of his residents to take professional headshots before they graduate. “As a Program Director, one of my responsibilities is to help our graduating residents find jobs. Paper CVs have been effective, but I encourage them to create online profiles. I even tell them to add photos to help bring their CVs to life.”

3. The one photo med students shouldn’t hide in residency application season

It’s a well known fact that medical students go to great lengths to hide or disable their social media profiles when they’re applying for residency. For some program directors, examining applicants’ social media profiles is the norm when screening residency candidates. American Medical Association reports, “A survey of surgical program directors in the Journal of Emergency Medicine found that 17 percent screened applicants by using social media networking sites, and 33 percent of that group gave lower rankings to applicants based on the online content they found.”

While it’s smart to hide the photos that might potentially hurt your application (no program director needs to see what a champ you were on Thirsty Thursdays), we found there is one photo that 4th year medical students absolutely DO want people to see: their professional headshot. Our data reveals that graduating medical students are 57% more likely to have a professional headshots on their CVs than 3rd year medical students. And it makes sense. They know that their profile pictures are a key part of building their professional reputation.

4. Older physicians are putting their best face forward

Now that we’ve established how a profile picture can help you build connections online, let’s look at who else has one. In our analysis, we found that some age groups are showing better photo-awareness than others. Surprisingly, our younger doctors (in their 20s, 30s and 40s) were lagging a bit behind their older counterparts (ages 50+). Out of the headshots we analyzed, a little over half 53% of them belong to doctors over 50

5. Follow the lead of the more photo-savvy specialists

We also discovered certain specialities are more likely to have profile photos than others.  Surgeons and highly specialized doctors lead the way in profile photo saturation, perhaps due to a greater need to market themselves and their skills to their peers. For example, nearly 2 in 3 plastic surgeons, colorectal surgeons and pediatric cardiologists have photos to supplement their online CVs, while more emergency medicine and internal medicine doctors tend to be camera-shy.

Ready for your closeup? Get a free professional headshot.
We’re on a mission to help every Doximity member put their best face forward by taking free professional headshots at a variety of medical conferences all year long. Check the list, and reserve your appointment today: doximity.com/conferences

Already have a great headshot?
You’re ahead of the curve! Make sure you added your photo to your Doximity profile. Visit your profile on Doximity and easily add or edit your profile photo.

*Have a headshot but need some feedback on it? *
Our professional photo experts can give you feedback and tips on your photo -- send your photo to: headshots@doximity.com.

More ROI on your medical degree

Now more than ever, doctors than ever are tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit

Feb 26, 2016 - Production Blog Author

Physicians are increasingly seeking ways to cash in their hard-earned medical expertise outside of their daily clinics. At a time when the practice of medicine is fraught with administrative, financial, and regulatory challenges, supplemental sources of income have become more attractive. More doctors than ever are tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit and looking to make additional income through telemedicine and locums tenens. For those interested in getting a greater return on their investment in medicine, we put together the following starter guide.

Believe The Telemedicine Hype

The telemedicine boom is upon us. While often cited as a tech-y buzzword, telemedicine is having a tangible effect on the healthcare landscape, and its impact is only expected to grow. According to a recent industry article, the telemedicine market is projected to reach $13 billion in size by 2021 (source: Pharmion 2016) . As U.S. legislation continues to encourage efficiency and cost-cutting in medicine, telemedicine is primed to take a front row seat.

*28 states and the District of Columbia have enacted parity laws requiring insurers to cover telehealth services. *


(Source: American Telemedicine Association 2016)

The incentives also exist for medical providers. Telemedicine takes many forms and gives physicians the flexibility to choose a telehealth service that works best for them. For example, one of the largest national providers of telemedicine, American Well, allows physicians to see patients on their platform based on their schedules and preferences. Physicians wishing to build out their practice can also follow up with patients in person. The relative ease of on-boarding makes the technology an excellent choice for doctors who want to supplement their practices while deciding when and how they want to see patients.

Is Locum Tenens for You?

Similar to opportunities in telemedicine, physicians can earn extra income and enjoy diverse employment experiences practicing locum tenens. While historically locums tenens may have catered to a niche market of healthcare providers, today, physicians from a variety of backgrounds are choosing to work locums. A recent study based on Doximity data found that interest in locums tenens remains high among both young and middle-aged physicians.


Consider the story of Dr. Bassam Rimawi, a young physician in fellowship training trying to earn extra wages in addition to his meager academic stipend. “Doing locum tenens work at the same time helps to get that extra paycheck under your belt. One paycheck of locum work is more than I made in three months of fellowship!” (source: Physician’s Weekly 2015) Locums tenens gives physicians the opportunity to work a few more shifts, on their terms, while earning substantial compensation.

Interested in telemedicine or locum positions?

If you find yourself interested in telemedicine and locum tenens roles, there a few ways to stand out.

  1. Update your “Clinical Interests” (including telemedicine) on your Doximity profile as this will ensure you are only contacted about relevant opportunities.

2. Edit your job alerts to receive information about part-time and locum tenens positions, in addition to more options regarding your preferences.

  1. Finally, don’t be afraid to connect with other physicians with similar interests. These colleagues may be a valuable source of information and could potentially help you find the right job, be it for your next part- or full-time gig.

This is now the most popular last name in medicine.

What does the future hold for the state of the nation, or shall we say, state of the names?

Feb 19, 2016 - Doximity Blog

By Sarah-Richelle Lemas, Doximity

If a healthy dose of Valentine’s Day amore has you dreaming of your future offspring, prep your tiny tikes for a future career in medicine by choosing their name wisely. While there’s no way of knowing who the future doctors of America will be, we’ve seen commonalities in our care teams over the past few decades. Just for fun we analyzed the names of all U.S. physicians by first name, last name and the state in which they practice.

Minority Report: Popular last names point to the increase in diversity in medicine over time

Physicians born anytime in the 1930s - 1950s are more likely to have the surname Smith, but starting in the 1960s the U.S. saw an uptick in diversity, and in both the 1970s and 1980s, Patel topped this list as the most common last name among all physicians. Patel is now officially the last name most frequently preceded by “Dr.”


This trend is likely to continue. Since the 1980s, the number of Asian American med school graduates has increased from almost none to making up approximately a fifth of all graduates (source: AAMC Data Warehouse). According to the 2014 census, foreign born doctors now make up approximately 25 percent of all physicians practicing in the U.S.

Most popular first names, nationwide (doctors born in 1930s-1990s):


Dr. John will see you in the south

The leading male physician name over the past 60 years has been John, topping the list in 25 states, including most southeastern states. John was consistently in the first three slots until the 1980s, when it dropped to seventh place. David was the overall runner up, reigning in 11 states. David’s popularity peaked in the 1950s and 1960s with the number one spot, and was later dethroned by Michael and Matthew in the 70s and 80s.

Map of Female Physicians Name

Paging Dr. Jenny from all the blocks

When it comes to female physician names, Jennifer was far and above the most popular - the moniker won out in 36 states. This could correlate to the name’s overall surge in popularity in the 70s and 80s, when it was also the most popular U.S. baby name. Around this time the nation also saw an increase in female physicians joining the field, with their numbers increasing from 25,000 in 1970 to more than 235,000 in 2004 (source: Federation of State Medical Boards 2015).

Map of Female Physicians Name

What’s in a name?

What does the future hold for the state of the nation, or shall we say, state of the names? While a zany alias like Blue Ivy or Apple may garner press for today’s stars and their babies, a more common name may be the safer pick for the next generation of doctors in your family. If the past is any indication, the most common doctor names have traditionally been aligned with the census - take a look at our the comparison below.



Either way, here’s to the future physicians of America, and to those who raise them! Is your Doximity profile up-to-date?

Send us your CV today and we’ll upload it for you for free: cvupload@doximity.com

We analyzed 35,000 physician salaries. Here's what we found.

Here are the latest insights our data scientists have gleaned from our compensation map

Jan 27, 2016 - Production Blog Author

By Joel Davis, VP of Hiring Solutions at Doximity

Last year we unveiled Career Navigator, the first-ever comprehensive career resource that includes physician compensation estimates and open job opportunities. Now, more than 35,000 Doximity members have anonymously shared their annual income with the greater physician community in an effort to bring more transparency to medical careers. For some, this insight has helped them better prepare for career moves and salary negotiations.

Sports medicine physician Dr. Rowan Paul said, “when I was negotiating for partnership, I used Doximity and had more confidence negotiating a very competitive compensation package.”

Others have discovered new opportunities -- either full-time clinical positions, or to supplement their current practice. For example, 50% of all physicians practicing in American Well’s telehealth group discovered the opportunity through Doximity.

map of general surgery salaries for doctors

General Surgery jobs and physician compensation survey map. Physicians can access all maps at www.doximity.com/careers.

As physicians finalize their resolutions for the new year and plan the next steps for their careers, we want to share the latest insights our data scientists have gleaned from our compensation map. In this latest round of analysis we examined the balances (or imbalances) between locations, academic versus clinical positions, and genders.


If you are looking for the maximum return on your extra decade of education, then where you practice matters. It turns out, cities where our data shows physicians are most interested in working — Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — have average salaries significantly lower than the rest of the country. Physicians living in our nation’s capital, for example, had the lowest average salary across all specialties — making a full 17% less than the national average for all specialties.

Doctors in these metropolitan areas are most in-demand by employers based on recruitment activity on Doximity:

1. Denver, Colorado
2. Louisville, Kentucky
3. Spokane, Washington
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
5. Colorado Springs, Colorado

When it comes to average annual income, Minnesota and Indiana seem to fare the best -- both are 13% over national average for all specialties. So, if you really want get the most return on your medical school investment, head to the heartland.

Highest paying states for primary care physicians (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN):

1. Arkansas - $330,000
2. South Dakota - $305,000
3. Iowa - $305,000

Lowest paying states for primary care physicians (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN):

49. Delaware - $218,000
50. West Virginia - $205,000
51. District of Columbia - $192,000

Highest paying states for specialists:

1. North Dakota - $472,000
2. Wyoming - $433,000
3. Idaho - $429,000

Lowest paying states for specialists:

49. Vermont - $299,000
50. District of Columbia - $298,000
51. Rhode Island - $291,000


Academic medicine has always been one of the most important callings in healthcare. Not only do these physicians continue to mold the future of medicine with each class, but the with the impending physician shortage, they are responsible for making sure their cohorts are prepared to carry the growing caseload. And we have academic physicians to thank for making great strides in medical research.

However, devotion to teaching and research comes at a price. As a whole, academic physicians make on average 13% less than their non-academic counterparts, and this varies significantly by specialty. For example, academic cardiologists make on average 52% (or $150,000; p < .05 ) less than their non-academic counterpoints. Similarly, non-academic gastroenterologists make 41% (or $124,000; p < .05) more than academics in the specialty. Similar to the pay gap findings in gender, the procedural specialties tend to make significantly more in non-academic careers.

Additionally, while we don’t account for tenure or geography, it appears that academic physician earnings cluster around $250,000 and have less variability:

average compensation densities for academic and non-academic physicians


Women now make up 34% of the physician workforce and half of this year’s medical school graduating class, yet inequalities persist in their careers. In September 2015, a study by Dr. Anupam Jena revealed women in academic medicine were 13 percent less likely to be promoted to full professor than men with the same qualifications. Another study suggested women are less likely to get research funding. Our data tells a similar story: overall, male physicians tend to make an average of 21% more than female.

Specialties with some of the largest gender pay gaps:

  • Ophthalmology: males earn 36% more than their female counterparts (~$95,000 more per year; p < .05)

  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: males earn 24% more than females (~$80,000 more; p < .05)

  • Cardiology: males earn 29% more than female cardiologists (~$97,000 more; p < .05)

Specialties with some of the smallest gender pay gaps:

  • Anesthesiology: males earn 12% more than female anesthesiologists (~$43,000 more; p < .05)

  • Radiology: males earn 13% more than females (~$49,000 more; p < .05)

  • Family Medicine: males earn 14% more than females (~$30,000 more; p < .05)

*This analysis does not account for any disproportionate subspecialization (e.g. more men pursuing a higher paying subspecialty such as interventional cardiology).

At what point in their careers are men and women equally compensated?

The difference in earnings between men and women seems to persist across the career timeline -- the gap closing only slightly as physicians approach retirement.

average physician compensation by gender and age

While there are movements in the industry to close the gender gap in both academic and non-academic careers, the gender pay gap remains an issue.

*For other Doximity gender studies, check out blog posts about resident happiness and women surgeons using social networking.


Compensation is nowhere near the primary motivating factor for many in medicine. However, the employment landscape is shifting: more physicians are selling their private practices to become employees of hospitals and large groups. Therefore, it is important that physicians prepare for salary negotiations. We hope that by adding a bit of transparency to compensation trends with Career Navigator and pairing it with job opportunities in areas with unmet needs, physicians will be empowered to take control of their careers and get compensated fairly for keeping the country healthy.

Physicians can explore the interactive compensation map at www.doximity.com/careers.

**Note: all salary estimates are based on self-reported annual income, not per unit of work. They were not controlled for part time vs full time work. Other than the academic vs. non-academic comparison, all figures include both academic vs. non-academic salaries. Gender pay by specialty is not weighted by subspecialty.

3 job-hunting strategies to help today's residents

With the advent of the Information Age, the role of the CV has evolved

Dec 10, 2015 - Production Blog Author


1. Make sure your online identity is as up-to-date as your paper CV.

The first step of any job search is to update your Curriculum Vitae. With the advent of the Information Age, the role of the CV has evolved, and positioning yourself for top career opportunities goes beyond merely maintaining your paper CV. Today, employers are using the internet to assess potential candidates, and the best way to build your reputation outside of your wards is to control your online persona. According to a Jobvite survey, 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts, and 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social media. 

On Doximity there are thousands of hospitals and physician groups who are currently looking for top candidates. An up-to-date Doximity profile will not only make you stand out to potential employers, but also give you a boost in Google search results. 85% of physicians appear on the first page of Google because of their Doximity/U.S. News profile. Public information from your Doximity profile syncs to your U.S. News profile instantly, and a completed Doximity profile can rise above doctor rating sites and stand out to potential employers.

2. The power of social capital

Since the day you applied to medical school, unbeknownst to you, you have been building social capital -- your classmates and professors in medical school, co-residents and attendings during training and all your professional contacts in between. Social capital is especially handy while job hunting. In fact, 88% of employers rate employee referrals above all other sources for generating quality new hires. While evaluating your career options, you can easily tap into your network to help discover opportunities.

To get a better idea of the career opportunities available for physicians with your background, take a look at the alumni from your program with Residency Navigator. You can leverage program alumni at a specific hospital or in a certain geographic location to help get your foot in the door.

3. Understand the market

Whether you have to pay off student loans or are (understandably) eager to finally earn a doctor level salary, compensation will probably play a large hand in selecting the right job for you. In Finding the Right Job: Two Key Issues, Dr. Arnold E. Cuenca, Clinical Assistant Professor at Western University of Health Sciences, advises job-seekers to “do some research and find out what the salary averages are in your area. [Doximity]’s career section includes a “Salary Map” that shows salaries reported by members by region.”

With Doximity’s Career Navigator, you can see what other physicians in your specialty earn across the country. Experienced physicians contribute anonymous salary reports to their community of peers in exchange for insights and trends in the job market. With over 30,000 salary submissions, Career Navigator has become the largest repository of physician-reported salary data in the U.S.

Residency Programs: Is There A Personalized Prescription?

Choosing a medical residency program is one of the biggest decisions of a physician’s career.

Aug 25, 2015 - Production Blog Author


By Shari Buck, VP Product at Doximity

Choosing a medical residency program is one of the biggest decisions of a physician’s career. With hundreds of programs to choose from and a paucity of historical comparative data available, the process can be overwhelming. It’s also expensive: A 2012 survey of graduating medical students at the University of Missouri found the interview trail cost students $6,600 on average, and expenses can be significantly higher for competitive specialties such as ophthalmology.

As medical students face increasing competition for a limited number of residency positions, discovering and investing time into programs that may be a tailored fit becomes increasingly important. Yet “fit” is not one size fits all. While nothing trumps an applicant’s perception of a program’s “gestalt” after spending a few days on campus, few resources exist to help students discover and compare options throughout the application process.

An unprecedented look into resident satisfaction

With that in mind, we’re excited to introduce the 2015-2016 Residency Navigator. Over the summer, Doximity members have contributed over 94,000 anonymized ratings and hand-written reviews on important aspects of their residency experience, such as career guidance, schedule flexibility for pregnancy and other life events, program culture and clinical diversity.

Where are residents happiest?

While there’s no way to know for sure today if geography, climate, extracurricular activities or have an effect on clinical training satisfaction, it’s interesting to note that satisfaction data from current residents and recent alumni have varied by state.

Oregon residents, for example, were the most satisfied by their training. Who knows — maybe it’s because of Portland’s high density of micro-breweries. Residents in Nevada, on the other hand, perhaps have too much student debt to enjoy the casinos.

Happiest residents:

  1. Oregon - 100%
  2. Vermont - 97.5%
  3. Utah - 97%
  4. Minnesota - 96.5%
  5. North Carolina - 96%

Unhappiest residents:

  1. Oklahoma - 81.5%
  2. South Dakota - 80%
  3. Mississippi - 79%
  4. Arkansas - 78%
  5. Nevada - 75%

Male vs female residents: Who’s happier?

Residency can be extremely stressful, but that doesn’t mean life as a resident is miserable. However, female residents in general appear to be less satisfied. Only 91% of women rated their programs at least 4 out of 5 stars in “Overall rating: willingness to recommend this program to others” compared to 94% of men.

As U.S. News reports: “The gender gap was wider in certain historically male-dominated specialties, including orthopedic surgery (83.7 percent for women vs. 95.9 percent for men; p<.05), general surgery (84.9 percent vs. 92.4 percent; p<.05) and anesthesiology (88.6 percent vs. 92.9 percent; p<.05).

Thankfully, the world is changing, and right before our eyes. Efforts such as the #ILookLikeASurgeon movement help ensure that today’s surgical specialties will not discourage prospective female applicants.

Work/life balance, in the eye of the beholder?

Duty hour standards, such as the capped 80 hour work week, are designed to protect newly-minted physicians (and their patients, although the jury’s still out on whether it helps) from sleep deprivation and decreased performance. However, as some residents have noted, reality differs from what is documented. In this year’s Residency Navigator, physicians rated their residency programs on “Work hours: tolerability of shift and call schedules” and “Schedule flexibility: accommodation for weddings, pregnancy, deaths, etc”, providing a glimpse into which programs and specialties have the best work/life balance.

Specialties with highest average of Work Hours & Schedule Flexibility ratings:

  1. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  2. Dermatology
  3. Radiation Oncology
  4. Orthopedic Surgery
  5. Emergency Medicine


  1. Anesthesiology
  2. Neurology
  3. OB/GYN

Perhaps not surprisingly, physical medicine & rehabilitation, dermatology, and radiation oncology were amongst the top 3 in the list. What may be surprising is that the rest of the list did not necessarily sort just by “easy” or “tough” stereotypical schedules. For example, radiology (generally thought to have more flexibility) and neurological surgery (generally thought to have less flexibility) both ranked near the middle of the pack. To understand this, we should keep in mind that survey respondents rated their own residency program, thus creating a measure of expected flexibility vs actual flexibility. Both dermatology and radiology are perceived to offer better hours than neurosurgery, but that is expected. The difference may be that dermatology programs meet or exceed expectations at a higher rate than radiology and neurosurgery programs. We’ll return to this analysis in greater detail as more physicians contribute feedback on their residency experience.

Physicians empowering physicians

There are thousands of incredible clinical residency programs — all of which should be applauded for their efforts training young doctors. However, not all programs are created equal, and choosing a program is a highly personal process. Residency Navigator helps students begin that journey. We’d like to thank our Doximity members for sharing their training experiences, it’s an inspirational example of what the world’s largest body of physicians can achieve together, and we hope it will prove valuable to the next generation of physicians.

Visit Residency Navigator: https://residency.doximity.com/

Shari Buck is Vice President of Product Management at Doximity

Zebras and oxpeckers: Why resident physicians and social media need each other

Why does social media need resident physicians?

Jan 07, 2015 - Guest Author

By Dr. Steven M. Christiansen

Do you remember learning about mutualistic symbiotic relationships in fifth grade biology? The zebra and the oxpecker bird, the bee and the flower, and the bacteria in the human digestive tract, wherein two distinct groups mutually benefit from the relationship in a way not possible on their own.

In today’s complex healthcare jungle, a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship is beginning to form between resident physicians and social media platforms such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Doximity, and LinkedIn.

Why does social media need resident physicians?

  1. Enthusiasm for change. Today’s residents opted to pursue careers in medicine knowing that the healthcare climate would be changing. I will never forget my first medical school interview just days after the Obama-McCain Presidential election, which lasted three hours and included such questions as, “What are you doing?” and “Do you realize the government will soon run your practice?” I calmly-nervously-sweatingly responded that, yes, I realized healthcare was changing, but that I wanted to be part of the solution. Residents like me began medical school knowing change was on the horizon and we, perhaps in youthful naiveté, remain hopeful for a brighter tomorrow. Social media needs doctors who can maintain enthusiasm about healthcare in the face of constant changes, doctors who want to be involved in the debate about the future of healthcare.> Social media needs doctors who can maintain enthusiasm about healthcare in the face of constant changes. Tweet this. 

  2. Resident oxpeckers to sound the alarm. With a literal bird’s-eye view over the terrain, the oxpecker is often aware of danger far in advance of the zebra. When the oxpecker senses danger, she flies up near the zebra’s head, tweeting a distinct warning that danger is imminent. With the drastic changes occurring throughout the healthcare landscape, social media savvy residents have the means of verbalizing timely and distinct warnings that will be heard by local and national policy makers, legislators, and hospital administrators. In a separate post, I compared effective use of social media in healthcare to using a megaphone at a football game, where a message, if timely and qualified, can be heard by thousands, both on and off the field. Oxpeckers are needed in healthcare social media, publishing timely, qualified, distinct messages, to clearly reach the ears of the zebras, rhinos, and oxen of today’s policymakers.

Why do resident physicians need healthcare social media?

  1. Today’s residents get social media. What they need to learn is how to use social media professionally. Residents today grew up in the era of social media. Most residents have a Facebook profile with hundreds of friends from college, an Instagram feed and even a blog to share photos and autobiographical stories with close friends and family. Today’s resident physicians get social media.  What we resident physicians don’t get, however, is how to use social media professionally. Translating our innate understanding of social media into a professional, practice-building tool, requires learning branding, marketing, and advertising - tools we will need once we begin practicing. Learning these important practical lessons while a resident will help ease the transition once we finish training.> Resident physicians get social media, but do they know how to use it professionally? Tweet this.

  2. **The White Pages of yesterday is the Google of tomorrow. **I know several very successful physicians nearing retirement who have never advertised beyond simply including their name, practice address, and phone number in the White Pages. For these physicians, practice survival in the former healthcare industry required little more than a White Pages listing. In the healthcare of tomorrow, physicians in almost all specialties will need to have an online presence as well as a professional website which ranks highly on Google searches. This professional website, combined with a targeted social media strategy will be the White Pages of the future. Establishing this online presence during residency will provide a simple transition into practice with a quick physical address update on a blog, website, or social media platforms such as Doximity, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Just as the oxpecker physician needs the social media zebra, the zebra also needs the oxpecker. Social media is causing a revolution within medicine, or rather, an evolution. Don’t be slow to change and prone to gradual extinction, be like the oxpecker bird and just start tweeting!

Steven M. Christiansen, MD is a resident ophthalmologist at the University of Iowa, a physician blogger at EyeSteve.comand can be found on Twitter @eyesteve

Interested in learning more about medical and surgical residency programs? Check out Doximity's free Residency Navigator tool with information on 3,600+ MedEd options. 

*The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent the views of Doximity.

Bush medicine to broadband: Talking with Dr. Eric Strong about a physician career focused on international aid and education

All four years of medical school should be considered 'clinical.'

Nov 05, 2014 - Doximity Blog

Before becoming a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University and a YouTube sensation, Eric Strong, MD practiced on the pacific island of Papua New Guinea. It was a medical aid experience far from the description of “tropical paradise” but one that helped shape his global perspective. In this interview, Dr. Strong and Doximity’s Medical Director, Dr. Alex Blau, discuss medical professionals expanding the reach of their professional knowledge outside the United States—through international aid work and new technology.

Alex Blau, MD: Dr. Strong, you spent 6 months working in Goroka, Papua New Guinea—tell us about your experience in global health.

Eric Strong, MD: My wife and I worked at a government-administered, rural secondary care hospital. We hoped to both provide as much individual care as possible, as well as learn how to diagnose and treat patients in a resource-poor environment. Overall, the hospital was very poorly equipped. There were only a handful of different meds available, inadequate space for TB isolation, and no provided linens for patients. During the dry season, the hospital could go all afternoon without running water.

In addition to the lack of resources, there were major language barriers given Papua New Guinea (PNG)'s phenomenal linguistic diversity—there are approximately 700 distinct languages. This setting made acute medical care and even basic patient education extremely challenging. We also conducted an epidemiological survey and informal anthropological study of intimate partner violence, which is extremely prevalent in PNG.

AB: Was there something that they did well in New Guinea that you wish were more mainstream in US practice today?

ES: The entire care team for the medical ward went on walk rounds together every morning. Doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and the students were all present for a discussion of the day's plan for each patient, which was done at the bedside. This was in part a matter of necessity as the scant documentation made face-to-face communication critical. But, regardless of the reason, by the end of the morning, everyone was on the same page as to each patient's status and treatment plan. I've never seen such rounds occur in the US, outside of the ICU.

AB: What surprised you about medical care in Papua New Guinea?

ES: I expected that the biggest impediment to adequate care would be lack of resources. While resources were definitely few, the major limiting factor was a lack of accountability of the doctors. Medical errors and iatrogenic complications were described in only the vaguest of terms to the patients. Without formal documentation, there wasn't even a record of what had happened to be reviewed later. In addition, doctors would not show up to work for days at a time, without explanation or consequences. Once we encountered the hospital's on-call doctor joy-riding through town in an ambulance, intoxicated—while on duty. When we discussed the joy-riding incident with staff the following day, they shrugged it off, explaining that it was not an uncommon occurrence. That was by far the most shocking, and disappointing, aspect of our experience.

“We encountered the hospital's on-call doctor joy-riding through town in an ambulance, intoxicated—while on duty” Tweet this

AB: What advice would you offer physicians considering international medical relief work?

ES: Pick a goal for the project that is specific and realistic. If you are completely inexperienced in international health, and lacking a strong infectious disease background, you shouldn’t go over with the primary goal of "making a difference." If you get to perform a critical surgery that could otherwise not have been performed, or complete a sustainable public health project, then of course that's absolutely fantastic. But for an inexperienced physician's first trip, I would recommend making your primary goal about gaining the experience and perspective necessary to make your second trip successful. [Editor’s note: Doximity recently partnered with Doctors Without Borders to assist with their physician recruiting. You can learn more about medical aid opportunities here.]

AB: Now that you're back in the US, you've become an advocate for open online medical education. Your YouTube channel has over 35,000 subscribers. How did you start this campaign? How has it grown?

ES: Our residency program (Stanford University) asks faculty to submit the PowerPoint slides for any presentation given during noon conference, so residents can see what was missed if they were unable to attend in person. I felt that reading slides from home was an inadequate substitute for being physically present, so instead, I began creating videos, narrating over the slides, and posting them to YouTube.

I didn't initially think too much about others outside of our program watching the videos. However, I began to receive emails with amazingly thoughtful questions and comments from all over the world. And requests for specific topics as well. A few schools and training programs now use the channel in a flipped classroom model, in which students watch the didactic videos at home, preserving in-class time for small group discussion. There's no need for every institution to create their own, individual set of videos for their courses, if the medical community can create a shared library of resources.

Probably the most satisfying aspect of my channel has been the ability to reach students in parts of the world where formal medical training is less available or robust. Once my children are a little older, I would love to travel abroad again and meet some of the wonderful people I've spoken with through my channel.

AB: If you could change one thing about medical training in the US, what would it be?

ES: I would love to make the distinction between preclinical and clinical years more fuzzy. All four years of medical school should be considered "clinical." We should get more practicing clinicians teaching in the basic science courses to keep the curriculum clinically relevant, and basic science should be better integrated into clerkships in order to help students retain that knowledge long-term. Related to this, I think medical school curricula should also be more reflective of how medicine is practiced in the 21st century. As just one example, schools could replace teaching obsolete components of physical diagnosis with point-of-care ultrasound.

I would also love to replace scheduled tests with pop quizzes in order to end the ubiquitous cramming/purging studying behavior that is the antithesis of what's needed for true learning, but I suspect this last suggestion would be poorly received by just about everyone.

All four years of medical school should be considered 'clinical.' @Doximity talks with Dr. Strong from @StanfordMed Tweet this