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Walking In Your Shoes-Moonlighting Part #1 – Clinic E9

Dec 16, 2023

Introduction About John and Cheyenne

John has formed his own professional micro-corporation during residency and has planned to use it for moonlighting—and then eventually will use it as the foundation for his professional life.

Here is a brief introduction to John and Cheyenne:

They have been married for nearly 6 years and they have no children yet. John is just starting his second year of family medicine training at JPS in Fort Worth, Texas. Cheyenne is an accountant and has worked for a few firms during John’s medical school at Indiana University and during his training in Texas. Like a lot of medical spouses-she has adapted to the nomadic medical training journey.

Both John and Cheyenne come from families who have operated successful small businesses and that exposure has already led to adding side businesses to their primary jobs. John owns and operates a cryptocurrency fund called Ascension Capital and Cheyenne has a few side hustles with her artwork at Chey Stillson Studio, a baking business called “little white apron” and she is regularly flipping/reselling items on Facebook Market Place. Since she comes from a long line of auctioneers and re-sellers, this is no surprise.

I think you will find their small business mindset interesting and inspiring—especially as you follow along on their journey to building John’s professional micro-corporation—all while they navigate through the trials and tribulations of residency training.


by John Stillson PGY2 Family Medicine

It Starts With A License

I’ve got my license and now it's time to look for opportunities to make extra money and gain experience. I am a little bit nervous about doing my first moonlighting shift so I choose to look for an opportunity that is more comfortable for me. Fortunately, the residency clinics allow for residents to moonlight in them once they receive their full medical license. This allows me to do my first shift in an environment where I'm more comfortable. Our program has three main residency clinics, so I decided to do my first shifts at one of the two clinics where I don’t normally work. I felt that it would be uncomfortable for me to do moonlighting shifts at the clinic where I typically function as a resident. One of the major hurdles with moonlighting is getting through all the logistics that it takes to get the shift set up. It's just a matter of being willing to put up with the back-and-forth of communication and the inefficiencies of shift scheduling. For example, a lot of the clinics within our system allow for PRN shift opportunities for providers however the schedule that they send out is not accurate. This makes it hard to pre-plan what opportunities work best for my schedule. Instead, I found that messaging the shift coordinator directly about my availability has worked out to help me pick up shifts when my schedule allows.

The Residency Clinic Moonlighting

My first moonlighting shift was doing same-day visits at one of the residency clinics. The staff were all very nice and made me comfortable as I got used to the clinic and the flow. It was great to have a decent nursing ratio to help me turn over the patients in my rooms as I saw a large volume of patients during the shift. These same-day shifts are a win for the patients because it allow access to providers at their primary clinic to address problems outside of going to the urgent care or ED. These shifts are also good for moonlighting residents as it allows them to see a variety of conditions that are different than what they normally see in a chronic disease management clinic. During this first moonlighting shift I saw approximately 4 patients per hour which was fast-paced however it was not too difficult since I only addressed one problem with most of the patients. The variety of problems I saw ranged from concern for fractures to rashes to vaginal discharge to upper respiratory infections.

What Are My Services Worth?

One of the valuable elements of moonlighting is that it allows you to get a better idea of your worth and pay opportunities. Early on in moonlighting every hourly rate is so significantly higher than your normal resident pay that it seems like a crazy amount of money. The pay is indeed a large amount of money however it may not be representative of what you're worth. Moonlighting in different places will allow me to sort out where my time is most valuably spent and what I think my time is worth right now. I expect that this will be an evolving thought process as I gain more experience and more confidence which should merit me higher-paying opportunities going forward.