Thriving in the First 90 Days: Seven Tips for Physician Job Success

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There is a lot at stake in the first 90 days of any new physician job. Not only are you taking on a new professional opportunity, but you’re also likely navigating a relocation. Uprooting your family to a new community can add a layer of stress to what otherwise is an exciting time in your physician career.

When your first day arrives, you’ll be introduced to a new workplace culture, a roster of patients, your leadership team, fellow physicians and providers, and more. To set yourself up for success in this fresh chapter of your personal and professional life, check out these seven tips every physician should put into practice in the first 90 days of a new role.

1. Maintain a Focus on Learning and Growth

Yes, you spent many years in medical school studying and working impossibly long hours throughout your residency, but you still have a great deal to learn. Approach this opportunity with the intention of absorbing as much information as possible by nurturing a growth mindset. Not only will you improve your physician skills, but you’re also more likely to experience increased motivation and a higher likelihood of enjoying your new job.

2. Develop Strategies to Help Manage Your Workload and Stave Off Feelings of Physician Burnout

Like any new job, you will be very busy in the first 90 days as you navigate everything from learning protocols and responsibilities to remembering your colleagues’ names. During this time, nothing can be more detrimental to your success and efficiency than being disorganized.

Sure, chaos at times is normal and expected, but how you handle that chaos will be what sets you apart. From day one, find ways to stay organized and efficiently manage your time. This process looks different for everyone, but a great place to start when it comes to managing your workload is to write out goals and to-do’s for yourself, categorizing them as either short-, immediate-, or long-term. By doing this, you’ll have a tangible list to tackle that you’re able to cross off as you go.

Setting goals also helps you to own your schedule, which is critical to minimizing the risk of burnout. When physicians are asked what is contributing to their chaotic schedules, many cite the amount of clerical work and documentation that they are required to perform. If you find that your day just gets away from you, document your activities for a few days. Once you have determined where the time drag is coming from, you can work on a resolution. Your career as a physician means that you are a natural problem solver, and your time is an issue to be solved, not ignored.

3. Earn the Trust of Your Patients

Don’t underestimate the power and benefit of earning the trust and respect of your patients. A key element of success in your first 90 days is laying down the groundwork to foster a healthy, beneficial rapport with the community you care for. As a physician, people are coming to you in some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives. That’s why you must ensure they have a healthcare provider who will advocate for them, help reduce their anxiety, and empower them to make the best decisions regarding their health.

In doing this, you’ll reap the benefits of building an excellent reputation, earning top patient satisfaction scores, increasing patient retention, and having the ability to provide them with the best possible care.

Here are a few tips for building trust from the beginning, according to Pharmaceutical Journal’s Maria Allinson and Betty Char:

  • Demonstrate active listening without interruption to ensure patients feel their concerns are heard and considered.
  • Practice using effective communication skills – both verbal and non-verbal – so your patients feel respected and empathized with when receiving information that may be difficult to hear.
  • Identify areas where you may need additional training, and don’t be afraid to seek out guidance or advice when you don’t know an answer.
  • Act with honesty and integrity, always making decisions with the patient’s best interest in mind.

4. Build Strong Relationships With Your Colleagues

In a high-stress professional environment, the ability to trust the people you work with and having them reciprocate that trust is a vital component of succeeding in your new role. When there is mutual understanding and respect among a team, you can expect higher rates of engagement, an alignment of goals, and an increase in motivation. So, from the beginning, it is in your best interest to build a strong foundation and put forth the effort to get to know each of your new team members.

Viewing your new role as one contributing part of a greater goal helps to create a more collaborative environment where everyone feels as though their hard work matters. You must respect the idea that every team member is essential and that you can’t be successful without their collective contributions.

It is just as important to also get to know your fellow physicians and work on building those relationships, as well. You will find that you need a strong support system to get you acclimated in your first 90 days, and your physician colleagues play an essential role in that. Having others who understand what you are going through and can be relied upon is a key ingredient to your success and fulfillment as a physician.

5. Make the Most of Your Physician Orientation

According to a recent survey, one in three physicians receive no formal orientation upon joining their employer – a huge issue that unnecessarily leaves many struggling to get acclimated in the first few months of their employment, which can lead to early physician turnover. A formal orientation helps to set expectations, explain policies and procedures, and assists physicians in assimilating socially with their staff.

If your new organization offers a formal orientation, you must take advantage of every aspect of it by writing detailed notes, asking thoughtful questions, and understanding the goals you need to meet to be successful.

However, if you find yourself as the one in three with little direction at the beginning, download your own onboarding checklist and communicate with your superiors to ensure everything from credentialing to setting up patient communications is handled properly. You’ll be glad you took matters into your own hands.

6. Practice Self-care

The first 90 days of any new physician job are bound to be challenging, stressful, and overwhelming. It is of the utmost importance to practice self-care and tend to your mental health, so you can be at the top of your game to avoid burnout and create a healthy level of work/life balance.

Practicing self-care looks different for everyone, so it’s important to find ways that help you de-stress and recuperate each day. When you have downtime, seek out activities that allow your mind to focus on things other than work, such as taking an evening walk with your family, reading a book before bed instead of scrolling on your phone, or doing a guided meditation.

Another important aspect of practicing self-care is getting an ample amount of sleep each night. After enduring long hours on your feet from school and residency, you may have to re-learn how to sleep, since you’ve likely become accustomed to not getting much rest on a day-to-day basis. Try creating and sticking to a routine that ensures at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

Remember: the better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of your patients.

7. Seek Out a Mentor or Professional Coach

One of the most important things you can do in the first 90 days of your new role is finding a mentor or professional coach. Whether that is someone you formed a relationship with during your training or an experienced colleague at your new workplace, a trusted advisor can be invaluable to new physicians.

A professional coach or mentor has a leg up on things you may not know, as well as things you don’t know, you don’t know.

Having someone who understands what you are experiencing can help you overcome any anxiety you may be feeling in the beginning. A mentor can also help you develop the habits and systems you will need for long-term success. Plus, they can also be a sounding board during difficult times.

You have done an incredible amount of work to get where you are today, but it is just the beginning. The first 90 days in your new position can be used to develop the foundation that assures a long and prosperous career. Don’t underestimate the value of cultivating successful habits – without them, bad habits tend to take their place.

If you’re ready to pursue a new physician job opportunity, reach out to the physician recruitment professionals at Jackson Physician Search.

 

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[White Paper] COVID-19 Changed the Physician Job Market: What Happened and What’s Next for Physician Jobs?

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Ask how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted physicians and you’ll get as many answers as there are physicians. Each one has and continues to experience the pandemic differently, however some common themes emerge. From the battle-worn emergency medicine physicians and hospitalists who experienced COVID-19 up close in ERs and ICUs, to the primary care physicians and psychiatrists who seamlessly transitioned to telemedicine, to the surgeons who were forced to stop working altogether, physicians’ experiences with the pandemic will certainly influence how they move forward.

As we continue to recover, we asked:

  • Are physicians thinking differently about their careers because of COVID?
  • For those seeking change, what are their job prospects?
  • How did COVID impact the way healthcare organizations will now approach physician recruiting?

Physician Recruitment Continues to be as Dynamic as Ever

As the President of a national physician recruitment firm, I regularly check in with our teams of physician recruiters working all over the country to learn what’s happening in their specific markets. I recently interviewed the Regional Vice Presidents of Recruiting in each division to get their takes on how COVID is changing the physician job market.

These Jackson Physician Search VPs lead impressive teams, but they too are in the trenches, working daily with physicians and healthcare organizations in every imaginable setting—from big urban markets to some of the most rural parts of the country. After speaking with each of them at length, I can share that the news is positive for physicians seeking jobs. Physicians are in high demand, so it’s not surprising to hear that healthcare organizations are rolling out the red carpet to attract the best candidates.

Included within the paper are insights gleaned from speaking with four Regional Vice Presidents of Recruiting at Jackson Physician Search. I’ll not only share observations on the current market, but I’ll also provide actionable takeaways for both physicians seeking new opportunities and the organizations that seek to hire them.

Six Takeaways

  1. After a temporary dip, demand for physicians is once again high as patient volumes begin to return to pre-COVID levels while an increased number of physicians report they plan to retire or change jobs.
  2. More physicians than typical are leaving large metropolitan areas and considering jobs in alternative markets.
  3. Interest in telemedicine continues to increase, but its future is uncertain as post-COVID reimbursement rates are still to be determined.
  4. Heightened physician demand has yet to cause significant changes to base compensation and signing bonuses, but the lingering effects of the pandemic will likely shift other aspects of physician compensation.
  5. Virtual interviews and site visits are here to stay as both parties benefit from the convenience and time saved.
  6. Flexibility and an open mind are still critical in the physician job search for both physicians and those who seek to hire them.

Download the Paper to Get Important Insights about the Current Physician Job Market 

For more information about how your healthcare organization can use this paper to improve your physician recruitment results, contact Jackson Physician Search today. Our team is made up of healthcare industry professionals who have spent decades recruiting physicians, physician leaders, and advanced practice providers for healthcare organizations coast-to-coast.

About Jackson Physician Search

Jackson Physician Search is an established industry leader in physician recruitment and pioneered the recruitment methodologies standard in the industry today. The firm specializes in the permanent recruitment of physicians, physician leaders and advanced practice providers for hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers and medical groups across the United States. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., the company is recognized for its track record of results built on client trust and transparency of processes and fees. Jackson Physician Search is part of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies.

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Community Pitches in to Charm an Internal Medicine Physician During Recruitment

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To be successful in the highly competitive world of physician recruitment, rural healthcare facilities have to go the extra mile to win top talent. When seeking to recruit an Internal Medicine physician who also appeared to be a perfect cultural fit, our client in Texas did just that by getting its community members involved.

The client, a 49-bed community hospital in a very rural community, had been working with another search firm but was having little success. Deciding to change gears, the hospital’s CEO agreed to a meeting with Jackson Physician Search Vice Presidents, Dane Altman and Brent Barnacle. The CEO expressed frustration with an ongoing search for an Internal Medicine physician. None of the presented candidates checked all the boxes. The CEO explained that he had rigid opinions about finding a candidate who had the right blend of skills and experience, and who would also be a cultural fit with the community.

Dane and Brent prescribed the digital physician recruitment strategies pioneered by Jackson Physician Search.

The Importance of Cultural Fit on Physician Retention

The CEO agreed to give the Internal Medicine Search to Jackson Physician Search. Search Consultant Dan Rixon got to work right away to learn as much as possible about the facility, the community, and what the hospital was specifically looking for in a candidate. While his goal was to cast a wide net for physician candidates, he only wanted to submit those who were likely to fit.

Working closely with the CEO and the staff, Dan gained an understanding of why cultural fit was such an essential component for the organization. This part of West Texas is very close-knit, family-oriented, and has strong community values, making it vital to find someone connected with these values.

Dan took it to heart when the CEO told him, “I don’t want to waste my time with candidates who are only going to stay short term.” Identifying physicians who share the same mission and values of your organization and community is the first step to long-term physician retention.

Knowing this, Dan focused on the family-oriented culture of the organization and leadership’s commitment to allow physicians to practice with greater autonomy. He crafted a physician job description to appeal to candidates with Texas ties and to highlight the robust compensation package. Dan’s strategy garnered a strong response, but it was still necessary to hone in on the specific qualities of each candidate to ensure he or she would be a great fit. While screening candidates, Dan wanted to be sure each one understood just how rural the location was in order to eliminate any candidates who wouldn’t be happy long-term in the role. He balanced this by explaining the benefits that would come with working for a strong, well-operated organization.

A Community Committed to Recruiting the Entire Family

Ultimately, Dan presented six candidates for consideration. From there, the CEO narrowed it to two. During the on-site interview, the hospital’s administration went all out to ensure the candidates gained an accurate measure of the community and all it offered. The CEO even likes to host candidates at his home for an informal dinner in order to get a better sense of the person, not just the doctor.

Physicians are invaluable to small towns, and this one sure knows how to make a doctor feel special. The community rallied together to make the chosen candidate and his family feel welcomed and engaged. Some of the women in the community generously spent an entire day showing the physician’s wife around town to be certain she felt at home.

If you can help a physician and his or her’s family to feel entrenched in the community, then you are on the right path to physician recruitment success. In our 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey, 82% of physicians responded that the community tour had a positive influence on their decision to accept the position.

Because of the community’s commitment to recruiting the entire family, the Internal Medicine physician was able to imagine life in this Texas town. The community’s genuine nature and kindness made his experience feel like so much more than a job interview. Rather he felt that he found his forever personal and professional home. For rural healthcare organizations, this all-hands-on-deck approach can often make the difference in landing or losing a quality physician.

If you need a strategic recruitment partner to help you navigate physician recruitment and retention, Jackson Physician Search is ready to help every step of the way. Contact our experienced recruitment professionals today to learn more.

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Six Physician Recruitment Metrics Every Organization Should Know

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In our previous installment, we discussed the costs incurred with physician vacancies. If you missed it, find it here. In today’s ultra-competitive physician recruitment environment, the old axiom “Time is Money” is more relevant than ever. Depending on the specialty, a physician vacancy can result in over $150,000 per month in lost revenue.

In addition to lost revenue, recruitment costs to source, interview, and hire a new physician can also quickly add up. It has been established that from the time a position becomes vacant until a new physician signs a contract, internal costs incurred by a healthcare organization can easily reach $250,000 or more (including sign-on bonuses and relocation expenses). With that amount of money at stake, it is vital to benchmark your recruitment processes to identify weaknesses and inefficiencies and strive for continuous improvement.

Always Track These Physician Recruitment Metrics

At a minimum, every healthcare organization should track the following physician recruitment metrics:

  1. Time to Fill/Time to Hire
  2. Cost per Hire
  3. Physician Sourcing Statistics
  4. Number of Interviews to Hire
  5. Acceptance Rate Percentage
  6. Physician Retention Rates

If any of these data points are not available to your administrative team, it is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of your entire recruitment process. The good news is that the data is readily available in our digital world and easy to collate into actionable reporting.

1. Time to Fill/Time to Hire

It is essential to differentiate time-to-fill rates versus your time-to-hire, as they are often confused or used interchangeably. Both are important indicators of physician recruiting efficiency but tell a different story.

  • Time to Fill – This indicator measures the total number of days it takes from the moment a job vacancy is posted to when an offer is accepted. Clearly, this metric indicates how effective your search was, but with a physician search, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Hence, the need for more data. If you’re curious, you can find Jackson Physician Search’s average time to fill for several specialties by using our physician recruitment ROI calculator.
  • Time to Hire – As you know, the time between a physician accepting an offer until he or she begins seeing patients is measured in months, not days. Your time-to-hire metric should track when a candidate enters your pipeline until the first day on the job. Having this data available provides a better picture of your accumulated costs, which can then be used to track recruitment ROI.

2. Physician Cost Per Hire

Throughout the recruitment process, costs are accumulating. If you’re conducting the physician search in-house, you’re likely advertising the physician job ad across several physician job boards. If you’ve enlisted the support of a physician recruitment firm like Jackson Physician Search, you’re likely incurring recruiter fees. Tracking and keeping all of these costs visible to the team is one way to ensure everyone understands the importance of acting with sense of urgency.

3. Physician Sourcing Statistics

You can make sure the dollars you are spending in a physician search are not misplaced by tracking the effectiveness of the sources you are using. By now, your organization should be fully invested in a digital recruitment strategy. Simply put, physicians are no different than most in that they are digitally connected to their world. As many as 94% of all physicians use their cellphones for professional reasons, and 91% of them prefer to receive job notifications via email or text over direct mail and cold calls. Reliance on direct mail campaigns to source your next physician hire is ineffective. By closely studying which methods are actually bringing in candidates, you can make more informed decisions about the best use of your recruitment dollars.

4. Number of Interviews to Hire

One metric that is often overlooked but paints a very clear picture of recruiting efficiency is the number of interviews to hire. How many interviews does it take with a candidate before you decide to present an offer? Or better yet, how many different people does an individual have to meet with? One of the keys to developing an efficient process is making sure that the key decision-makers are available to participate. You will find a correlation between higher costs per hire and a high number of interviews, which should provide enough motivation to find ways to improve that process. Estimates show that reducing interview-to-hire ratios from 5:1 to 3:1 can save a healthcare organization $18,000. Additionally, in our recent research, we learned that only 27% of physician respondents decided to accept an employment offer after one on-site interview, so it is vital to make that first impression, a powerful one.

5. Acceptance Rate Percentage

In this highly competitive physician search environment, one of your most important indicators will be acceptance rate. Physicians are receiving 20 to 40 job notifications per week, which illustrates the competition for their services. Sometimes a poor offer acceptance rate is an indicator that your compensation data is off. This can be rectified with market research and bringing your salary offers in line with current rates. Or, you may want to supplement the contract dollars by adding in more vacation time or research opportunities. A physician recruitment partner can also supply your hiring team with real-time accurate data by specialty for your area.

In most cases, the best candidates have multiple offers to choose from. The biggest mistake you can make is not having the framework of a contract ready to go as quickly as possible, ideally during the on-site interview. If you are waiting a week or ten days to get executive approval on an offer, you risk losing the candidate.

Improving your acceptance rate by 20%, can save the organization $24,000.

6. Physician Retention Rates

In many ways, tracking physician retention rates can be the most perplexing of all the benchmarking activities. There are so many factors involved in retention that it can be a scary topic to tackle. One way to measure retention is by looking at your early physician turnover rate. This is the percentage of new hires that voluntarily leave the company within a year after starting. If this is happening with any frequency, you are either attracting the wrong type of candidate, or there is an organizational culture issue.

Physicians today place much more emphasis on finding a cultural fit for their services. It is critical to cultivate a work environment that is aligned with your organization’s mission and values. Having a strong identity/culture provides the roadmap for what type of physician is best suited to succeed. Cultural fit and other factors can be found when tracking retention over more extended periods, such as a 3-year and a 5-year rate. These indicators will force you to take a deeper dive into why the staff is leaving, but they are critical exercises to pursue.

Next Steps

The benchmarks we have covered are probably numbers you already have access to, and for most, they are being reported on a regular basis. The question is, “What are we doing with this data?”

Below are a few steps you can take today to start improving your recruitment processes through benchmarking:

  • Establish a small team, and charter them with a benchmarking review. Tip: Empower them to make decisions about what data to use and how to report on it.
  • The benchmarking team should determine if the appropriate data is being collected and what may be missing.
  • Determine who is receiving the benchmarking data and who else needs to be receiving it.
  • Look at the data over the past 12 to 24 months and look for trends and areas of opportunity.
  • Determine where the bottlenecks are. For example, are you losing quality candidates to competing offers? Is it a process issue or a personnel issue?
  • Consider whether a third party could help you improve your process.

The Quantity of Quality Trap

Because the costs can be so staggering, it is easy to veer towards recruiting quantity over quality. That trap will end up costing you more in the long run because you aren’t placing enough emphasis on finding the right candidate. There is a balance required in attracting and hiring candidates who are best suited to fit and succeed in your organization. The benefits of hiring for fit (and, conversely, the costs of making the wrong hire) serve to reinforce the benefits of having a finely tuned physician recruitment plan. Here are a few tips to help you find the balance between quantity and quality:

  • Start with an objective assessment of your workplace culture.
  • Strive to understand what makes your best physicians successful.
  • Discover how you can highlight your differentiators to attract like-minded physicians.
  • Focus on the candidate whose values match what your team, organization, and community can provide.

The above tips are a starting point. As you learn and understand your organizational culture and the qualities that make up your most successful physicians, you are developing the strategic blueprint for future candidates.

Takeaways

If you have given all of the above serious consideration and still don’t have a clear path toward improvement, it is time to engage reinforcements. Today’s physician recruitment landscape is highly competitive, and finding a trusted physician search firm may be your best opportunity to source and land the quality physician candidates you need. Even if you are only looking for a partner to supplement your in-house staff, that can be the difference in seeing better results. Ideally, you will find a partner with the skills, experience, and resources to take an objective look at your processes and help you implement improvements. The key is to start paying attention to the data and taking whatever actions are necessary.

Our next installment will walk you through how to set up each physician search for a successful outcome. From targeting specific candidate types, to building a robust candidate pipeline, there are strategies available that increase your likelihood of finding the right physician.

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Physician Compensation: Ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

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When considering a new physician job opportunity, it’s natural to be curious about the physician compensation package. With location, practicing setting, and compensation among the top concerns for many physicians, it’s tempting to ask for details early.

As a best practice, we recommend that you resist the urge to bring up the physician compensation conversation until your on-site interview, often the time when you and your potential employer have the opportunity to establish strong, mutual interest. Discussing compensation is a strong indicator that you’re interested in the position. Asking too early could leave employers feeling that compensation is your most important consideration, when in reality, finding a position that matches your personal and professional goals is priority.

Knowing what to ask regarding the compensation model is just as important as knowing when to ask. Your physician recruiter will likely give you a high-level overview of the compensation package, but compensation models can be complicated and confusing. Understanding the specific physician compensation model being used by the hiring organization will give you a much more realistic view of your total earning potential, and it will enable you to negotiate a package that is fair and aligned with your priorities.

Next time you find yourself seriously evaluating a job opportunity, consider the points below regarding physician compensation:

Structure

  • Ask how the model works. Specifically, find out what production, quality, and patient satisfaction metrics you must achieve to earn an incentive bonus.
  • Factor in the value of benefits, such as health insurance, PTO, CME allowance, disability and life insurance, retirement benefits, dues and subscriptions, licensure fees, and other reimbursable expenses.
  • Understand the payor mix, which is important if your compensation will be based on charges, collections, or revenue.
  • Malpractice insurance is expensive, so explore that topic, too. Employment agreements should state whether coverage is provided and who is paying for it.

Incentives

  • Ask about first-year incentives, such as signing bonuses, student loan repayments, and reimbursement for relocation, licensing, and board certification.
  • Find out if there are bonuses related to achieving retention milestones or if ownership shares are an option down the road.
  • You may also be compensated with an hourly or daily stipend for taking call or serving in a medical director capacity.

Transparency

  • Your prospective employer should be able to explain how the compensation models work and provide a worst and best-case scenario for your first and subsequent years.
  • It is “fair game” to ask to review the practice’s financials. You may also ask how much current physicians are making and how long it took them to ramp-up to that level.
  • To ensure clear expectations, decisions related to compensation and benefits should be written into your employment agreement.

How Location Affects Physician Compensation

Geographic region and market size significantly influence compensation and how far your income will stretch. Adjust for the cost of living in dollars and assess the location with your lifestyle expectations in mind. Work schedules, after-hours activities, vacation coverage, and weekend shifts influence work/life balance. It’s important to know what a future employer expects, and how they assist physicians in managing stress, avoiding burnout, and cultivating career satisfaction.

With all of the complicating factors contributing to compensation, physicians must do their homework to determine which opportunity offers a fair package, a satisfying work environment, a strong cultural fit with the organization, and a happy life outside of work.

Physicians who are ready to find their best, next opportunity should turn to a trusted leader in physician recruitment and placement, Jackson Physician Search. Our team of experienced healthcare industry professionals has the network and tools to help you take your physician career to the next level. Contact us today and learn how.

Reputable Physician Compensation Data Sources

Physician compensation data can be derived from various sources, some being more accurate and reliable than others. Overwhelmingly, compensation data found through MGMA is considered the “gold standard” as a data source. Many healthcare administrators utilize the information published by MGMA as their benchmark for compensation data.

It is wise to pay attention to other sources for a complete picture, including the annual surveys conducted by American Medical Group Association (AMGA). To focus on compensation for a specific metro area or location, it is helpful to cross-reference salary data found at Doximity.com. Be aware that the data found at Doximity is self-reported and may or may not include benefits. Regardless, it can be useful in determining what you might expect in an offer within specific localities.

Five Resources for Physician Salary Data

Some of the resources listed above require you to purchase the data, while others are published free of charge. Another great tool is the Jackson Physician Search Salary Calculator, found here.

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Clinic’s Small Act of Kindness Won Over Internal Medicine Physician’s Family

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As a physician recruiter, you know you’ve done something right when the physician’s wife sends you a handwritten thank-you note after the on-site physician interview.

Have the events of the past year and a half changed your perspective on your current physician job? Are you looking to move to be closer to your loved ones? If so, then you might find yourself in a similar situation as Dr. F, an Internal Medicine physician who had been working at the same facility in Northern California since he left his residency nearly 20 years ago. He was passionate about his profession, but he was looking to relocate. His kids were in school in Oregon and he and his wife wanted to be closer to them.

Around the same time, one of our clients in Oregon came back to Search Consultant Misha Fabick. Just six months prior, Misha placed a primary care physician with this clinic in just 90 days, and they needed another. Could she work her magic once more and secure another great physician?

Promoting the Right Details with Digital Marketing

The pressure was on, but Misha trusted the 100% digital recruitment strategy pioneered by Jackson Physician Search. Once she crafted the physician job advertisement, it would be posted on 10+ national job boards and sent out in a targeted email campaign to relevant members of our vast opted-in physician database. For this reason, the details of the job advertisement would be especially important.

Fifty-five percent of doctors are contacted weekly about physician job opportunities and less than 10% of those recruiter communications are relevant. Because our goal is finding the perfect long-term fit for both physicians and clients, we avoid this industry trend of sending irrelevant physician job ads. This is one major reason why physicians like working with Jackson Physician Search. It is not unusual for candidates to come back to us when they are ready to find their next physician job.

The facility was beautiful, a new building set on a picturesque hill in rural Oregon. The team was a tight-knit group, enthusiastic about the work they were doing. The town was small, but most of the staff lived in neighboring towns. Just 15 minutes from the coast, there was plenty to offer in the surrounding areas. Misha was confident that with the right marketing strategy, she could attract candidates. It was just a matter of finding the best long-term fit for her client.

A Physician Interview Process Designed to Get to Know the Candidate

The “Coastal Oregon” headline of the physician job board advertisement caught Dr. F’s eye, and he reached out to Misha by email. After one phone conversation, she got a sense of his personality and knew he would be a good fit for the client.

How did she know? “He was just a really genuine person,” Misha explains, “And very considerate of others – including me! I think you can tell a lot about how a candidate will treat staff and even patients based on how I’m treated as the recruiter.”

Clinic Goes the Extra Mile to Make the Physician’s Wife Feel Welcome

Misha presented Dr. F to the client and they scheduled a call with him a few days later. As soon as his schedule allowed, he traveled to Oregon for two on-site interviews, one with Misha’s client and the other with a larger healthcare organization. Dr. F instantly clicked with Misha’s client. The whole team seemed to genuinely enjoy working there and they put Dr. F and his wife at ease. When his wife needed to participate in a video conference for work, leadership arranged a private room at the clinic where she could access wi-fi and attend the meeting without interruption. These details went a long way with Dr. F and his wife, and they left feeling like they had found their new home.

Dr. F called Misha from the airport to express his enthusiasm. When he compared his experience at the clinic with the intense, formal physician interview process at the larger organization, it was clear where he belonged. Misha confirmed the feeling had been mutual, and he hung up with her to immediately call the realtor who had shown him and his wife around. Because Misha did such a great job matching Dr. F’s personal and professional needs, he was so confident that this was the place for him. He put an offer in on a new home before receiving a formal employment offer.

Dr. F and His Wife are “Beyond Excited” to Continue Their Story in Oregon

What is Misha’s secret? Certainly, the digital marketing strategy was effective in making the initial connection, but from there, the physician’s relationship with the recruiter, and then, with the hiring organization was pivotal. Misha established a rapport with Dr. F, and the more she got to know him, the more sure she was that he was the right fit for her client and vice versa.

“This client always does an excellent job of really getting to know the candidate and helping the candidate get to know them,” says Misha. “It’s not a formal, buttoned-up process, and it really works to identify if someone is a good fit.”

It also helped that Misha had a great sense of what type of personality would fit best with the organization, and she would never recommend a candidate who she didn’t think would be a long-term match.

Misha was thrilled to hear her client was pleased, but it was the handwritten note from Dr. F’s wife that brought even more satisfaction. She writes: “We are beyond excited to begin this next chapter of our lives, and it could not have happened without you!”

If now is the right time for you to consider a new opportunity, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search is here to help you every step of the way. Get started now and search our 500+ physician job openings.

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Well-crafted Physician Job Ad Generates Five Times the Typical Response Rate

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Some physician specialties are a little easier to recruit than others, but Gastroenterology (GI) just isn’t one of them. With physician retirements on the rise and only 500 GI Fellows completing training each year, these can be some of the most challenging searches a hospital or medical group will face.

Such was the case for a 200-bed hospital in Southwestern Illinois that had been facing a vacant Gastroenterology position for well over two years. The hospital’s administrators had partnered with another physician search firm but weren’t having any success finding the right candidate. They decided to turn to Jackson Physician Search for help.

Fortunately, Senior Search Consultant Katie Moeller doesn’t shy away from challenging searches and immediately jumped into action.

The Importance of the Physician Job Ad

This particular job opportunity was very unique, which may have played a part in the lengthy vacancy. The hospital’s strategy was to set up an inpatient-only, GI/Hospitalist model, while maintaining relationships with a couple of private practice GIs in the area that were essential to providing continuity of care.

As is often the case, Katie consulted with the hospital’s leadership team to ensure the hospital could develop an attractive GI/Hospitalist position without infringing on the private practice Gastroenterologists. She presented the hospital’s administrators with local market data, including what a competitive compensation package entailed and advice on how to structure scheduling and contracts.

Katie also explained that building work/life balance into such a unique role where candidate supply was especially slim would best position the organization to attract strong candidates. The hospital agreed to provide a 7-days on/7-days off work schedule.

Because physicians receive hundreds of job opportunities every year, the job ad is the first – and possibly only – chance a recruiter has to get their attention. Katie invested extra time up front to craft a compelling job ad and digital recruitment strategy that would effectively and efficiently drive candidate acquisition. She developed a targeted email strategy and posted the job ad on more than 10 job boards. She highlighted the generous work/life balance, the hospital’s premier status, as well as the unique opportunity a motivated physician would have to build a GI/Hospitalist program from the ground up.

Despite the challenging nature of filling Gastroenterology searches, Katie’s marketing strategy resulted in an enviable response rate – five times the normal rate, in fact. This gave the hospital a bevy of highly qualified candidates from which to choose.

A Bright Future for the Group and Their Newest Gastroenterologist

Due to the effects of COVID-19 and lessons learned, the hospital was committed to utilizing a virtual interview process to get interested candidates in front of the leadership team as quickly as possible. Katie stayed fully engaged to ensure that the candidate interview process was proceeding with a sense of urgency.

As it became clear that one of the candidates would be an ideal fit for the opportunity, the hospital was very open to listening to his ideas about the department’s future. Knowing that participatory decision making was important to strong physician engagement, the hospital’s leadership team didn’t shy away from the candidate’s vision of expanding the types of procedures that could be offered, even though it would require an investment in new equipment. By collaborating with the physician, the leadership team had confidence in his ability to grow the program beyond their original vision.

Katie then played a key role in lining up professionals in the community to ensure the physician would enjoy a successful community tour. This included a real estate tour, school system information, recreational activities, and other amenities that would be important to the physician’s happiness outside the hospital. Katie even stayed engaged throughout the contract negotiations to ensure both sides felt heard and that an amenable agreement was reached.

Keys to Physician Recruitment Success

  • Based on the success of six previous searches with Katie and the Jackson Physician Search team, the client drew on that trust throughout this engagement.
  • By writing a comprehensive and compelling physician job ad that highlighted the most desirable aspects of the position, Katie attracted a strong candidate pool.
  • The client and Katie worked together to keep the ideal candidate fully engaged during the interview and contract negotiation process, which can often be lengthy with large organizations.

If your hospital or health system needs a trusted, experienced search partner, the Jackson Physician Search team can be just the difference you need. From hard-to-fill specialties to providing support for your in-house recruitment team, contact us today to learn how we can help.

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The Financial Implications of Physician Vacancies

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When faced with physician vacancies, there is often pressure to expedite the physician recruitment process. Unfortunately, a misguided sense of urgency can lead to costly mistakes. Instead, when faced with a physician vacancy, it is wise to balance urgency with a clear understanding of the type of physician best suited to succeed within the organization.

Being strategic in your physician recruitment process can be challenging, especially when the data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects mounting physician shortages through 2034. Despite the pressure to maintain continuity of care by hiring a physician as quickly as possible, it is essential to consider the underlying costs associated with increased turnover and inefficient recruitment practices.

Applying Costs to Each Physician Vacancy

To fully grasp the impact a physician vacancy will have on your organization, it is vital to have systems in place to measure and report success.

Applying ROI to your recruitment and hiring process involves the following:

  1. Calculating the costs of each vacancy in terms of immediate lost revenue and long-term patient attrition.
  2. Understanding the costs associated with the physician recruitment process.
  3. Measuring the long-term financial benefits of hiring and retaining physicians who fit.

With visibility into each of the above drivers, administrative teams can make more informed decisions about attracting and retaining physicians who are a cultural fit and are most likely to succeed as members of your physician staff.

Lost Revenue

Clearly, the most straightforward data point to track when a physician vacancy exists is lost revenue. Depending on the specialty, a healthcare organization stands to lose between $130,000 to $150,000 per month in revenue. For example, a family medicine physician generates about $1.5 million in annual revenue, while a general surgeon can easily bring in double that amount. Based on these numbers, it is easy to see why there is so much urgency to fill physician vacancies.

Despite the physician shortage, there appears to be some good news in the data. The benchmarking study published by the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) using 2019 data, shows that time-to-fill rates for physician searches has decreased in certain specialties. Examples include family medicine, internal medicine, and hospitalist physicians. Primary care is still the specialty in greatest demand, but it is good to see the needle moving in a positive direction.

That same report, however, identified allergy/immunology, rheumatology, and dermatology as the physician vacancies that were least likely to be filled.

The takeaway is that even though your organization is likely tracking and reporting time-to-fill rates for your physician vacancies, it is more meaningful when you consistently apply a dollar value to the duration. For a quick and easy tool to help you identify your lost revenue based on time-to-fill rates by specialty, try the Jackson Physician Search ROI Calculator.

Continuity of Care and Patient Attrition

Patient attrition is a major contributor to lost revenue, especially if it is permanent. Patients can be supremely loyal to their doctors, and when a trusted physician leaves a practice, a percentage of their patients will follow them.

If the physician leaves the area completely or retires, there is no guarantee that the patients will stay with the practice. A worst-case scenario has your patients turning to a competitor, because they cannot receive the services they need or can’t get onto an already crowded schedule. Never discount the revenue that can be lost when patients feel continuity of care is threatened by a physician vacancy.

Physician Recruitment Costs

The costs associated with a physician vacancy are not confined to loss of revenue. You also must consider internal costs. Some of the easily defined recruitment costs include marketing the physician job, travel costs for physicians to attend interviews and community tours, sign-on bonuses, student loan payoff, and relocation stipends. There are also related costs associated with the time and energy administrators and other interview team members spend meeting with physician candidates. Additionally, you should include the work hours accrued by your in-house recruitment team or fees paid to an external search partner. From the onset of the vacancy, until a contract is signed, a single candidate can generate up to $250,000 in associated recruitment costs.

Unfortunately, these costs don’t end with a signed contract. The dollars continue to mount as you account for credentialing, benefits administration, EHR system training, onboarding, and ramp up time for the physician to build a full patient case load.

Hidden Costs

When thinking about your physician recruitment process in terms of ROI, it is easy to see how quickly the costs can add up. However, sometimes hidden costs are even more damaging to a healthcare organization. These can be brought to light through benchmarking and a strong communication process with staff, but the damage is often below the surface.

  • Employee Morale. From the front-line nurses to the support staff to the physician team, having a long-term physician vacancy adds undue stress and increased feelings of burnout to a staff that is stretched thin. Once attitudes start to slide, it can grow like wildfire across the entire care team. This is where constant communication with the team is most beneficial.
  • Patient Care. Patient care issues are not entirely hidden, as most are typically captured and reported in some fashion. The gaps in care that don’t always rise to the surface are the ones that tend to compound and impact the bottom line over time. It could be as simple as a physician having a poor interaction with a patient that results in decreased patient satisfaction. When patients aren’t motivated to recommend your practice, future revenue is lost.
  • Increased Turnover. Healthcare is experiencing a very tight labor market, and physicians aren’t the only ones with options. Prolonged physician vacancies resulting in morale issues and quality concerns will ultimately lead to increased staff turnover from the front desk to advanced practice providers to nurses.

Recruiting for Cultural Fit

There are many long-term benefits of hiring and retaining physicians who fit, including increased productivity, more satisfied patients, and higher quality scores, just to name a few. And while some turnover is unavoidable, there is a way to “stack the deck” in your favor. Document the specific qualities and traits displayed by your current staff that embody your organization’s culture. This will serve as a hiring roadmap.

Target your physician recruitment to identify doctors who are well suited to be successful within your facility. When physicians feel connected to the organization’s mission and values, they are more engaged. Everyone feels a greater sense of satisfaction and are less inclined to leave. Even more importantly, when the staff is engaged, they perform better as a team.

Here are a few ways you can hire physicians who fit, succeed, and stay:

  • Ensure everyone involved in the interview process embodies your culture and values
  • Create an on-site interview experience tailored to each candidate
  • Find ways to make the candidate feel welcome/special
  • Sell the community as well as the opportunity
  • Engender a sense of excitement throughout the site visit
  • Always answer every question before the physician candidate leaves

Key Takeaways

Data Points

  • Each physician vacancy results in $130,000 to $150,000 per month in lost revenue, more in certain specialties.
  • Depending on the specialty, physician searches require 5 to 12 months, plus time for relocation.
  • The internal costs of a physician vacancy can easily reach $250,000.

Considerations

  • The true cost of each physician vacancy should be measured to help drive recruitment and hiring decisions.
  • Recruitment processes should be tracked and reported, including interview-to-hire and time-to-fill.
  • Every healthcare organization should know their recruitment ROI by specialty.
  • Never discount the hidden costs of a physician vacancy
  • Recruit and hire for cultural fit

Benchmarking key indicators is the safest and most effective way to ensure that everyone understands how your recruitment process is performing. Transparent reporting will reveal inefficiencies and identify gaps, as well as suggest when you need to engage an external physician recruitment partner to support your internal recruitment teams. For more information, contact Jackson Physician Search.

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Cue the Fireworks: Metro Health System Celebrates End of Onerous Physician Search

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With a specialty pool of fewer than 5,000 actively practicing physicians, a large health system located in a major metro in the Southeast had spent 18 months trying to recruit a radiation oncologist. The system’s highly-skilled, internal recruitment department was attracting candidates to the physician job posting, but none had the right mix of experience. With a heavy load of physician searches that demanded their attention, partnering again with Jackson Physician Search was a smart move.

Vice President of Recruiting Helen Falkner had successfully filled other tough physician recruitment assignments for this system and was confident she could help. In her role, not only does she specialize in candidate acquisition, she also builds a collaborative partnership rooted in trust and a sense of urgency with the in-house physician recruitment team.

“Considering that only 10% of physicians are actively searching for a new opportunity, specialties with small candidate pools make for an extremely demanding search,” says Helen. “My goal is to take some of the pressure off by using every tool in our arsenal to source both active and passive candidates who fit the parameters of the role.”

In-house Physician Recruiters Juggle Multiple Responsibilites

According to the Physician Recruitment Search Success Survey by AAPPR and sponsored by Jackson Physician Search, in-house recruiters manage an average of 32 searches at any given time. In addition to physician recruitment, their days are spent fielding general inquiries from active physician candidates, scheduling calls and interviews, planning itineraries, and serving as host when physician candidates come for their on-site interviews.

“Their responsibilities are so much broader than ours,” Helen says. “They don’t have enough hours in their day to spend cold calling for a single vacancy when they have 30-plus searches that they’re working on. That’s where we come in.”

Helen knew right away that filling the role would require a more proactive approach to candidate acquisition. Working with the in-house recruiter, she learned more about the specific experience needed, and together they generated a list of practices and groups that were most likely to have someone with that experience. From there, Helen leveraged her seat on Doximity, the largest online social network for physicians, to conduct an advanced search. She sent personalized DocMail messages to the physicians who matched the criteria.

Helen’s message hit Dr. G at exactly the right moment. While he was happy with his job in Philadelphia, the location of this opportunity was appealing. He and his wife both had family in the Southeast, and he would be willing to relocate if the role was right. He responded right away to express interest.

Sparks Flew – Less Than 90 Days from Search Initiation to Signed Contract

Helen presented Dr. G to the in-house recruiter in May and a call was immediately scheduled. As the phone and virtual interview process moved forward, Helen stayed in close touch with the physician candidate to maintain his interest in the opportunity until an on-site interview could be scheduled.

Large health systems often have an intensive on-site interview process, and this client was no different. Helen knew they would provide a well-organized visit and do whatever they could to win over Dr. G. Their efforts were successful. Dr. G was excited about the opportunity and hoped to receive an offer.

Just a few weeks later and with some help from Helen, the system successfully negotiated a contract that Dr. G was thrilled to accept. In less than 90 days from the time Helen was asked to lead the search, the system had a signed contract in hand.

Something to Celebrate – 8 Successful Placements and Counting…

Dr. G’s placement exemplifies how health systems can best leverage a strong physician recruitment firm as this marks our 8th placement with the system. The organization needed a very specific physician, and a passive recruitment strategy wasn’t producing an adequate pipeline of candidates.

“What we do is different. The physicians that we are recruiting are not the ones who are already reaching out or applying to jobs. In fact, most are not considering a job change at all. We are truly head-hunting physicians who fit the culture, and in many cases, persuading them to consider the job.”

One of Helen’s sparkling tools is her access to Doximity. As an important part of our digital recruitment strategy that includes all jobs posted on 10+ national job boards, an extensive social media presence, and targeted email campaigns to our large, opted-in physician database, Jackson Physician Search is the only physician recruitment firm where every recruiter is Doximity-certified and holds a license.

It is this level of access and experience that Jackson Physician Search brings to physician recruitment. If you’re seeking to ignite your physician recruitment efforts, Jackson Physician Search is ready to help. Contact a recruiter today.

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[Infographic Guide] Five Benefits of Hiring Advanced Practice Providers

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Recently we discussed how advanced practice providers could be a solution to the growing physician shortage. Next, learn some of the benefits of adding APPs to your staff.

1. Increases Patient Satisfaction

More than 90% of patients trust advanced practice providers (APPs) and believe that they perform high-quality care, according to an article by Wolters Kluwer, a global provider of professional information. Patients also feel that they will get more time with an APP versus a physician.

Healthcare facilities that staff APPs may have a shorter appointment wait time, which directly results in higher patient satisfaction scores and an increase in patients referring your practice to friends and family.

2. Boosts the Bottom Line

APPs see the same number of patients as physicians, while costing your facility less to employ. It is not uncommon for a Physician Assistant to bring in revenue worth several times their salary, resulting in approximately $300K in additional revenue for your facility.

The use of APPs can provide physicians the opportunity to concentrate on higher revenue-producing procedures and services or procedures not in APP’s purview.

3. Reduces Physician Burnout

According to a survey by SullivanCotter, 79% of physicians agree that APPs help reduce physician burnout.

By including APPs in your medical staffing plan, you allow physicians to focus on the services that interest them the most, as well as increased flexibility in scheduling which can decrease feelings of burnout.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many government regulations were lifted. This increased autonomy for APPs and took some pressure off of physicians. Without their help during this dire time, the physician burnout rate could have been even more severe.

4. Improves Physician Retention

According to the 2021 Medscape Physician Lifestyle & Happiness Report, 47% of physicians would take a pay cut for a better work-life balance. Perhaps employing APPs could provide your physicians with more harmony in their personal lives, resulting in happier physicians who will stay with your facility long-term.

5. Expands Clinical Services and Patient Access to Care

APPs often undergo broad training which allows them to be flexible and knowledgeable in many different settings. This skill set could allow your organization to expand its service offering.

Staggering schedules between physicians and APPs could grant your facility the ability to obtain new patients during off-times. Consider hiring APPs to supplement resident duty hour restrictions or to man a satellite office.

Visit our thought leadership page for more helpful presentations, case studies, and infographics.

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