10-Year Physician Recruitment Partnership with Kentucky Hospital and Still Going Strong


It was 2012 when Carly Clem, then a recruitment consultant at Jackson Physician Search, received an assignment to work with a new client, a 300+ bed hospital located in Kentucky. Ten years and multiple placements later, Carly, now a senior director of recruiting, remembers that day as the beginning of what has turned out to be one of the most successful and unique physician recruitment partnerships of her career. 

“A long-term partnership built on trust is the model we aspire to replicate with every client,” Carly says. “We are truly an extension of this hospital’s recruitment department. I work seamlessly alongside the internal recruiters, and they know I will support them in whatever way they need at any given time.”  

Scaling the Physician Recruitment Process to Meet Evolving Needs

A lot has changed since Carly made her first physician placement with this client. Not only has this leading hospital forged a relationship with an academic institution that allows it to offer residency and fellowship programs, but it also developed several new service lines to meet the needs of its community. Most recently, Carly led the effort to recruit the program director for the new psychiatry residency program. She was also integral in recruiting a neurologist to launch that new service line.

For a hospital that serves 12 counties, which includes several satellite offices that care for patients in the more rural parts of Kentucky, recruiting specialty and primary care physicians who will fit the culture, succeed in the role, and stay long term is critical. Carly’s guidance and strategic approach to candidate sourcing and assessing fit has proven essential.

“I’m always looking for candidates with ties to Kentucky,” she explains. “This just increases the likelihood that the physician will stay and build a life here. I recently placed a radiation oncologist whose in-laws own a business in town. She was thrilled to find a great job so close to family, and the client feels good about their chances of retaining her for the long haul.”  

Carly has offered unwavering support throughout the years. While there has been some normal turnover in the hospital’s recruitment department, the administrative team has been a constant presence. Together, Carly and the administrators have implemented a successful, scaleable process for sourcing, screening, interviewing, and extending offers that can be adapted as needed to meet the hospital’s physician staffing needs. 

The Benefits of a Local Recruiter

Strong relationships don’t happen overnight, and one successful placement doesn’t guarantee a long-term partnership. Carly understands that her role is very consultative, especially given the challenges that stem from a growing physician shortage. Attracting candidates is one thing, but convincing them to entertain an interview and accept a job offer requires that the hospital is competitive in the market. She leverages her expertise to advise on everything from physician compensation and PTO trends to recruitment strategy and physician succession planning

“Having been involved in the recruitment process for so long now, I understand the ins and outs of the program and have a clear picture of who the physicians are–their demographics and tenures,” explains Carly. “This has allowed me to help with assessing their recruitment process and succession planning. I’m able to see the big picture and advise on timelines and leadership development.”

Carly has no trouble selling the hospital’s location to potential candidates. Not only does she visit the facility several times a year, but she has lived in the area herself. With that level of firsthand knowledge, Carly can enthusiastically and accurately describe what day-to-day life is like for physicians and their families. She can advise on everything from neighborhoods to the school systems to the best restaurants. This is especially helpful, for while the client has built up a strong employer brand locally, physicians coming out of residency or those who have practiced in other states are typically unfamiliar with both the facility and its location.

In fact, Carly believes the location is only a challenge in that it is often unknown. However, once she convinces a candidate to visit, they are sold–in part due to the area’s charm but also thanks to the organization’s excellent on-site physician interview protocols, which of course, Carly helped to develop. The organization excels at making candidates and their families feel welcome and immediately immersing them in the culture. As a result, it is quickly clear to both parties if it’s going to be a good match.    

Trust and Teamwork Make Recruitment Work

Carly credits the lasting success of the partnership to her in-depth knowledge of both her client and the physician market. “After all these years, we’ve built up a high level of trust. They know if I’m sending them a candidate, it’s going to be a good one,” Carly says. “I know who they are looking for, so I’m only going to present someone who checks all the right boxes.” 

Carly also values the hands-on approach to recruiting taken by the administrators. They are very accessible and willing to give physicians what they need in order to accept the offer–and as importantly to retain them long-term. Carly points out that most of the placements she makes are due to growth or replacing retirees. There is very little turnover due to their strong, physician-friendly culture.

“I’m excited to see what the next 10 years hold for my client, and I’m incredibly honored to be part of the team.” Carly adds,” As a Kentucky resident, it’s rewarding to recruit physicians to my home state. But it’s even more than that. I know without a doubt that the physicians I recruit are joining a dynamic healthcare organization where they’ll thrive, all while having the peace of mind that their families will be happy in the community.”

If your organization is seeking a physician recruitment partner to support or improve your current process, Jackson Physician Search has both the market expertise and the successful track record to assess and advise. Contact us today

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