The resident’s guide to moonlighting

By William Malamon

If you are a resident dealing with student loans, bills, rent, and dozens of other expenses, you’ve probably thought about ways to make more money. Many young physicians make ends meet by moonlighting.

As a resident, moonlighting means you are working as a physician outside of your training program. While many physicians moonlight, not all programs allow it. (You should check with your supervisor before you commit to a moonlighting job).

Why moonlight?

  • The money can be really good and can help ease the burden of student loans and expenses.
  • It’s good experience. As said by Joshua S. Coren, DO, “Your interest might be fueled by the opportunity to refine your procedural skills such as placing central lines, intubation or performing arterial blood gases. Or perhaps your goal is to develop contacts for future employment opportunities.”

Malpractice insurance for moonlighters

Be aware that you may not be covered for medical malpractice under an employer you moonlight for. Be sure to ask, because if a patient has an adverse event, he/she can sue you.

If you decide that moonlighting is still for you, learn more about how to protect yourself against medical malpractice claims. Below are some definitions on the basics of insurance (or just watch a short video or contact TMLT).

  • Medical malpractice insurance (AKA medical professional liability insurance): protects physicians from lawsuits that arise from an alleged negligence that led to harm of a patient under the physician’s care. The harm could be caused by an act or omission of an act by the physician. A plaintiff must show that there was a breach that resulted in damages.
  • Claims-made policy: protects you during the active policy period, usually one year. If you don’t renew your claims-made policy when it expires, you no longer have coverage for any claims that arise in the future.
  • Occurrence policy: provides permanent insurance coverage for incidents that occur during the policy period, even if they are reported after the policy expires or is canceled.

The author, William Malamon, is employed by Texas Medical Liability Trust, which provides medical malpractice coverage to residents. To learn more about TMLT’s moonlighting program, check out our web site.