Leap of Faith Pays Off for Medical Couple

Published April 18, 2019

couple jumping over a wave at the beach at sunset

For a medical resident making the leap to attending, getting a job in your hometown may seem like an impossible dream — especially if your hometown happens to be a coastal town in California. But here's reason for hope.

Senior residents Heidi and Brook Goddard (MDs both) each landed full-time emergency physician jobs near Brook's hometown of Santa Cruz. Even more amazingly, they did it while living in Maine.

In today's post, they share how they triumphed through perseverance, flexibility, and a little help from Vituity's Senior Residents' Weekend.

I understand that from the start of your job search, you were determined to settle in Santa Cruz. Does that area have a special meaning for you?

HG: Most definitely. Brook is from Santa Cruz, and I grew up in Portland (Ore.). We got married in Santa Cruz, and we knew early in our relationship that we wanted to end up there. But then we had an opportunity to do our residencies together in Maine, so we put that dream on hold for a few years.

How did you start your job search from across the country?

BG: As you can imagine, it was complicated to find not just one emergency physician job within driving distance of Santa Cruz, but two. We weren't sure at first what was possible or what questions to ask. But we tried to go into it with open minds.

HG: About a year ago, we started reaching out to emergency physicians we knew who worked in the Santa Cruz area to see if anyone had any leads. And the theme among them was that many of the local hospitals used a physician partnership management group called Vituity. We'd heard good things about CEP America (now Vituity) during medical school, but we didn't know much about them.

BG: We were fortunate enough to get a few interviews in the Santa Cruz area, but we started second-guessing whether we had kept our search too narrow. We wondered if we were missing out on some great opportunities because we were so invested in being near Santa Cruz.

HG: We eventually spoke with some Vituity recruiters, who recommended we attend Senior Residents' Weekend in Chicago. We were both able to attend, and within a month, we both signed with Vituity.

Physician couple

How did Senior Residents' Weekend help you to move forward with your job search?

BG: It definitely answered a lot of the questions we still had about both Vituity and the possibilities for our job search. We had a lot of positive interactions with Vituity physicians and recruiters at the event. At the end of the weekend, we felt very comfortable and excited to sign with Vituity and start our careers there.

Were there any particular speakers at Senior Residents’ Weekend who were especially helpful for you?

BG: The financial hour with [Vituity Benefits Director] Chris Renner was fantastic and gave us great peace of mind. When you're making a huge life decision like accepting a job, finances play a big role. He convinced us that we'd be very well taken care of at Vituity from a financial standpoint.

HG: [Vituity CMO] Gregg Miller's talk "Risk, Quality, and You" was also reassuring. He was very transparent about Vituity's approach to partnership and the importance of due process and fairness. I felt that I would like to practice in a group with those values.

Another thing that impressed both of us overall was that the speakers seemed so passionate. Everyone who presented obviously knew and respected each other. For me, the interactions I observed said a lot about Vituity.

Did you also participate in the optional interview day?

BG: We did. I was a little bit worried going into it, because we were looking at such a narrow geographic area. But whoever coordinated the interviews did an awesome job of setting us up with programs within a drivable distance of Santa Cruz.

HG: A wonderful thing about it was that we interviewed with departments we'd never thought to reach out to. For example, we met some great medical directors from hospitals in San Jose. They're right over the hill from Santa Cruz, but due to the commute, it hadn't occurred to us to look there.

How did you make the final decision?

HG: After the event, while we were still trying to decide which hospitals we wanted to work at, everyone we spoke to at Vituity was unbelievably responsive and helpful. Everyone tried to help us make the best decision. They seemed very conscious of where we were at in the process and tried to give us as much help as they could.

As it ended up, Brook and I both liked the same two spots — Dominican Hospital and Natividad Medical Center. Neither had two full-time positions open. But because these two hospitals are fairly close, we found that it's not unusual for physicians to divide their time between the two.

BG: So as it turns out, we'll be sharing one full-time position at Dominican and one full-time position at Natividad. It's nice because it splits the burden of commuting. Working at two different EDs also allows us to get a broader perspective on emergency medicine right out of residency.

How has Vituity supported you during your transition from residents to attendings?

BG: We still have a few months left of residency, but I've had a lot of financial planning questions, and Chris Renner has been extremely helpful. He actually talked on the phone with me for over an hour one night to help me figure out what I needed to do during the last portion of residency. He calmed my nerves in terms of making the transition to Vituity's benefit system. He's been super available and helpful, which has been awesome.

What's next for you?

BG: We finish residency at the end of June, and we're taking the month of July off to travel across the country and take a breather. Then we start work with Vituity on August 1.

I'm so glad it worked out for the two of you. Do you have any advice for the incoming class of senior residents?

BG: I would encourage anybody who's looking for a job to go to Vituity Senior Residents' Weekend. Even if you don't end up signing with Vituity, you'll learn a lot and get a broader sense of what work will be like after residency.

HG: And if you go, keep an open mind. The interview day definitely surprised us in a good way. We realized there were strong programs out there that hadn't even been on our radar. It really opened up new possibilities for us and an exciting next chapter in our lives.


2019 Emergency Medicine Senior Residents’ Weekend will be held August 9-10 in Chicago. Click here to register.

2019 Hospital Medicine Senior Residents’ Weekend will be held August 23-34 in Chicago. Click here to register.

One-night hotel stay plus travel expenses up to $500 are covered. And, if you accept an offer before Sept. 30, you will receive a $10,000 bonus. For more information, email ResidentEvents@vituity.com.

Originally published April 18, 2019.

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