Deciding to take a job in another city or state is a big decision, no matter what career you have. For physicians, though, it’s a common one, especially post-residency.

Physician relocation adds to new doctors’ stress (as if there weren’t enough already)! Moving is frequently cited as one of life’s biggest stressors — pair that with transitioning into a new job, going through the credentialing process and managing a family, and it can be hard to keep your head above water.

However, there are several things you can do to make physician relocation easier, including implementing change management practices and being open and communicative with your family.

Below are several tried and true tips that will make your physician relocation process less trying:

1. Get on the Same Page as Your Spouse and Family

Though it’s important for you to be happy in your new job, it’s important for your spouse to be happy in his or hers, too. Be sure to go out of your way to discuss the decision thoroughly with your significant other, and allow him or her to openly voice concerns.

If your husband, wife or partner is a stay-at-home parent, his or her opinion matters, too. While it may not be the case that your partner has a job in which he or she needs to feel comfortable and welcome, it’s just as necessary to feel comfortable and welcome in a new community.

On the other hand, the opposite is true — if your family loves the community but you hate your job, that’s not going to work, either. Think of solutions that will cater to the best interests of your entire family.

2. Accept That Physician Relocation is a Stressful Event

It’s funny, but simply accepting that your physician relocation is going to be a stressful event can actually provide you some peace.

Rather than fight against it, you can say to yourself, “This is going to be a stressful period. I will try to be as prepared as possible and take things one day at a time. But in the end, unexpected events are likely to occur, and I’m OK with that.”

If they’re old enough, you can explain this way of thinking to your children, too. They’ll have their own concerns about the move, especially if they’re changing schools.

Whenever you find yourself worrying, hone in on your to-do list. Instead of focusing on it as a whole (which can be overwhelming), give yourself a small task you can knock out. Even a little sense of accomplishment helps to ease stress.

3. Set Up a New Support System Right Away

Moving isn’t entirely bad. In many cases, it comes with a sense of excitement. You might be making more money, buying a new house or moving to the city of your dreams.

But you are — in every case — leaving behind familiarity and a support system. We often take these support systems for granted, and don’t fully realize the impact they have on our lives. Once we’re without them, though, we tend to feel lost and confused.

This is why it’s so important to make efforts to set up a new support system soon after your physician relocation. Were you involved with a church, group or team back home that you’re going to miss? See if you can find a similar one. This is even more important for children and young adults, who often have a hard time transitioning into a new community.

If you’re making a big move, I wish you the best of luck! It’s such a stressful time, but it can be very rewarding. Check out the Job Transition Stage in the Adventures in Medicine Resource Library for more tips.

Do you have any tips for successful physician relocation?


Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Blanchard Valley Health supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Blanchard Valley Health is making practice purposeful.