New Year, New Physician Job Search

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Not surprisingly, the pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty throughout the healthcare industry. Over the past year, healthcare has experienced a phenomenon known as the “Great Resignation,” where an influx of physicians and other providers have quit their current positions in hopes of finding greener pastures elsewhere or to retire early. In fact, a new study found that one in five physicians intend to leave their current practice within two years, and approximately 31% of physicians intend to reduce their work hours.

If you’re among the droves of physicians in search of your next opportunity, there are several ways to set up your physician job search for success. Let’s take a look at what you should be doing to ensure any job changes you make are the right ones for your career.

Reflect on Your Current Situation

Before you polish your CV and begin filling out applications, it is important to reflect on your current position and the reasons why you want to go elsewhere.

Are you lacking a sense of personal or professional fulfillment in your role? Do you feel as though your superiors do not listen to your needs or include you in the decision-making process? Are you feeling strained and lacking work/life balance? Does the workplace culture feel toxic?

These are all common reasons many physicians feel the urge to jump ship for a new, more fulfilling role. However, as you are aware, it is important to remember that all physician jobs come with some level of stress and demands.

When you fully understand what it is about your current job that is falling short of your expectations, you are better prepared to be more discerning about any new positions you are considering.

Determine What You Really Want Out of a New Job

Once you have a good understanding of your motivations to leave your position, you can then decide what is most important to you in your new job. This process ensures that you have a clear roadmap to help you navigate your job search.

There are many factors to keep in mind when determining your ideal career fit, so make sure to address the following before entertaining potential job offers:

  • Ideal Practice Setting. Everyone is different. Some like working in a small group setting, others may prefer a large hospital, and still, others want to make the move towards full-time telehealth. Whether you are interested in mission-minded work at an FQHC or a high-volume private practice, make sure your preferences are clear.
  • Geographic Location and Compensation. You may think a position in the heart of New York City sounds nice on paper, but are you prepared for a high cost of living and cold winters? A new city or a large starting salary shouldn’t be your sole motivators for a move, especially if you have a family and kids to uproot. Carefully consider the position as a whole instead of just one part of it.
  • Physician Autonomy. Being able to make more of your own decisions regarding the way you practice medicine and care for your patients is a valuable asset to any role. When considering your next career move, ensure the job openings on your radar match your desire for some degree of independence.
  • Physician Satisfaction. It’s no secret that the happier you are on a day-to-day basis in your role, the longer you’ll want to stay and the more engaged you will feel. Potential positions promising work-life balance, an administration that considers your voice when making decisions, growth or leadership opportunities, and a healthy workplace should be the ones that stand out to you when exploring your options. These factors will help you achieve professional and personal fulfillment

You will find that the work you put in upfront will help you determine what types of opportunities are best aligned with your goals.

Polish Your Digital Footprint

Once you have a crystal clear idea of why you’re leaving your current role, as well as exactly what you want out of a new role, it’s time to begin your search. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your CV is tailored to the roles you’re interested in, but you should also ensure your digital footprints are cleaned up and ready to go, as well.

Healthcare administrators are increasingly using digital strategies to source candidates and advertise their job openings. Create a profile on Doximity and LinkedIn. And if you already have them, be sure to spend some time editing and updating the content to ensure it provides an accurate picture of who you are as a physician today. Don’t underestimate how important these professional profiles are in getting your information in front of people who make hiring decisions.

Reach Out to Your Network

From the relationships you had in med school, to any mentors and colleagues who supported you along the way, embarking on a new job search is the perfect time to reconnect. Even if you haven’t kept in touch regularly, the physician community is tight-knit, and your colleagues will be there for you. Reach out to your network for potential job leads, information about healthcare organizations you may be considering, or even advice about your search.

Consider Working with a Physician Recruiter

Your life as a physician is stressful enough without adding a job search to the mix. Many struggle to find the time to juggle both, which may lead to a prolonged search or jumping into a less than ideal job. A trusted physician recruiter can help you avoid these situations. A good recruiter will have a nationwide network and access to information that will allow you to cast the widest possible net. Here are a few key tips for successfully working with a physician recruiter:

  • Establish Open/Honest Communication. Any successful relationship is built on trust. Being honest with your recruitment partner will set the foundation while ensuring they have all the information they need to help you find the best opportunity.
  • Be Responsive. When you are working with a recruiter, it is vital to be responsive when they are presenting you with options. If your recruiter has access to a great job, don’t miss out on it by procrastinating or failing to respond.
  • Use Them as a Resource. Your recruiter will have a wealth of healthcare industry experience. Use them as a resource to make sure your CV is strong or to answer any questions you have about interviewing, salary expectations, or about different organizations you should consider.

Whether you are working with a recruitment partner or conducting your physician job search on your own, you should never feel like you have to settle. The physician shortage is real, so there will be plenty of opportunities available. The key is knowing what the opportunity should look like to satisfy your personal and professional needs. You may not get everything on your wish list, but having a clear picture of what you want helps you secure a happier and healthier career opportunity.

Jackson Physician Search has the healthcare industry experience, the technology and tools, and the nationwide network to help you find your next dream role.  Contact our team of trusted recruitment professionals today and learn how we can support your next job search. You can also download our helpful Physician Job Search Playbook

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Candidate Interview Gives Physician Recruiter Goosebumps

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We’ve all been through the woes of the job hunt journey: sprucing up your resume, researching the pros and cons of your next move, filling out application after application, then finally navigating the arduous interview process. After a while, it can get tiresome.

And on the other side of the journey, there is an organization flipping through an array of cover letters, weeding out unqualified candidates, conducting multiple interviews, and still struggling to find the right fit for its open position.

The addition of a physician recruiter can help to seamlessly bridge the gap between the two. Not only do they know the ins and outs of the needs of the organization they’re working with, but they also work with potential candidates to find physicians like you the opportunity of your dreams.

One private Orthopedic group in St. Louis found itself in need of help after deciding to expand its worker’s compensation program by bringing on an Occupational Medicine physician. The group’s administrator turned to Jackson Physician Search to help find the perfect doctor.

When Jackson Physician Search Director of Recruiting Katie Moeller originally took on this client, she knew she had her work cut out for her – there are very few dedicated Occupational Medicine residency programs, and not every Internal Medicine or Preventative Health residency program provides as much experience in Occupational Medicine as this position would require.

Not only did the ideal candidate need to have the necessary clinical know-how – he or she also needed to have a bubbly, charismatic personality that could forge strong relationships with the institutions and companies in the area so the practice could continue to grow its worker’s compensation care services.

It wasn’t until Katie found Dr. W that the seemingly difficult search started to improve. Read on to learn why this placement gave her goosebumps.

A Unique Career Path

Dr. W originally was a chiropractor who later became a doctor. In addition to completing an Internal Medicine Residency and a Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency, he also brought significant “real world” business experience to the table. Reflecting on the recruitment process, Katie credits Dr. W with making it very easy for her to successfully position him as the ideal candidate for her client.

First, during his initial call with Katie, Dr. W. was able to outline his primary goals clearly: 1.) to provide the highest standard of care to his patients 2.) to practice in an environment that appreciates physician autonomy and independence; somewhere he could really make an impact both on the lives of his patients and the growth of the business.

Second, he shared a customized cover letter with Katie that explained why he was interested in speaking with the Orthopedic group she was recruiting for. Many times, a recruiter’s most difficult job is to convince a practice that a candidate with no ties to the city or region is legitimately interested in their position, so Dr. W made sure to leave no doubt that he was highly intrigued by the professional opportunity.

Taking all of this into account, Katie was able to present Dr. W to the Orthopedic group with the utmost confidence. She recommended they move ahead expediently by bringing him to St. Louis for an in-person interview. After several of the physicians and the CEO of the practice met Dr. W in a virtual interview, they did not doubt that it was worth bringing him on-site.

Sealing the Deal

Katie, a St. Louis native, coordinated with the group to organize a community tour for Dr. W and his girlfriend, as she knew that selling the location was almost as important as the position itself.

Dr. W had never considered St. Louis as a city he’d want to settle in, so Katie’s personal experience and knowledge of the city helped her determine the best highlights to showcase on the tour. She even went so far as to set up the doctor with a real estate agent to help him figure out potential housing options and researched nursing schools for Dr. W’s girlfriend.

That night, Dr. W attended a sit-down dinner with all 10 partners of the Orthopedic group. They were all blown away by his shining personality and his business savvy – two qualities that made him stand out among the rest of the candidates in their hiring pipeline.

After that night, the group knew the choice was clear, as did Dr. W. In fact, Katie spoke with each the next day and she said, “I had goosebumps after hearing the level of excitement from both parties. I knew that this was the perfect fit for Dr. W and my client.”

The Secret to Success: A Dedicated Physician Recruiter

Through constant communication and collaboration, Katie was able to find Dr. W an incredible, unique opportunity in mere months. Dr. W’s concerns and questions were answered thoroughly every step of the way, and with Katie’s expert knowledge of St. Louis, she was able to help him picture his new life in the city.

It just goes to show that establishing a relationship between a recruiter and physician built on trust can make all the difference for your career search.

If you are seeking a new physician career and want a partner who will listen to your specific needs and wants, and will find you the best job opportunity, contact us today.

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Physician Job Interview: 6 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask Before Accepting an Offer

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The physician shortage may give candidates an advantage in the physician job search, but that doesn’t mean you can sail through the process without some preparation. As you get ready for your physician job interview, you’ll think through topics such as why you got into medicine, the details of your training and skills, your strengths and weaknesses, what’s important to you in a practice setting, and more. No doubt, you will have your answers ready, but make sure you also prepare questions to ask throughout the physician interview process.

The physician interview should be a conversation with both parties asking and answering questions. Yes, the potential employer is evaluating you as a candidate, but you must also evaluate them as an employer. Approximately half of physicians leave their first jobs in less than five years, and half of those leave in the first two years. No matter what stage of their career, physicians often say yes to a lucrative job offer without fully investigating whether the job – and the employer – is a good fit.

To ensure you know enough to make an informed decision, consider asking the following questions:

  1. What programs are in place to address physician burnout and promote wellness?

Recent studies show between 44% and 65% of physicians report feelings of physician burnout, however, in a 2020 survey by Jackson Physician Search, documented in the White Paper: On the Verge of a Physician Turnover Epidemic, 28% of physicians said there were no programs in place at their organizations to deal with the problem. For those who did report programs addressing burnout, 41% said their employer offered a wellness program and 33% said they had access to a mental health program.

While these programs may be useful in dealing with the negative effects of burnout, they do little to prevent it. In a recent interview, the American Medical Association’s VP of Professional Satisfaction, Christine Sinksy, MD, noted that burnout is a syndrome caused by external work circumstances. Thus, one concludes the best way to prevent burnout is to address the circumstances at the root of the problem. For many physicians, this means lessening administrative burden and obtaining a healthy work-life balance.

Ask follow-up questions, if necessary, to ensure the potential employer is actively taking steps to prevent burnout, as well as combat its negative effects.

  1. What is the average tenure of physicians at the organization?

Organizations that value physicians design physician retention programs to promote job satisfaction and motivate physicians to stay with the group. So, if the answer to this question suggests physicians don’t stay with the organization for more than a few years, this is a red flag that you’ll want to investigate further. Why did these physicians leave? What is being done to improve physician job satisfaction?

On the other hand, if all physicians have been there five years or more, this too requires follow-up. Do these more tenured physicians still take call? If not, how many physicians share the responsibility? Are there other duties expected only of new hires? Ask follow-up questions to learn more about the levels of physician job satisfaction in the organization, as well as expectations of new hires.

  1. Does the organization have an individualized physician onboarding process?

Ask your interviewer about the physician onboarding process to glean how much support you will have in your early days on the job. A thorough physician onboarding process is critical for performance and retention, and yet, in the aforementioned survey from JPS, one in three physicians said they received no formal orientation upon starting a new job, and 39% merely received a general orientation.

An effective physician onboarding process sets new physicians up for success by introducing them to people and processes, acclimating them to the organization, and setting expectations in the workplace. And speaking of expectations, this is also a great time to ask about productivity expectations in the first 30, 60, and 90 days, as well as how the employer supports new physicians in reaching those goals. How are new patients assigned and departing physicians’ patients distributed? Find out from your interviewer what the onboarding process entails and ask about other ways the organization supports new physicians.

  1. What percentage of physicians in the group meet their productivity goals?

Physician compensation packages are often tied, in part, to productivity. Promises of big bonuses can convince a candidate to look past areas of concern, but if the goals are unrealistic, they’ll never see that additional compensation. Discover how attainable the organization’s productivity goals are by asking what percentage of physicians regularly achieve them.

  1. Does the organization offer a physician mentor or leadership development program?

A new report from MGMA and Jackson Physician Search, Getting Ahead of Physician Turnover in Medical Practices, reveals the findings of a survey covering topics such as physician recruitment, engagement, retention, and succession planning. Administrators who took the survey expressed concerns about replacing retiring physician leaders, and yet, less than half reported having a mentor or leadership program designed to develop physician leaders within the organization. If your physician career goals include a leadership role, asking this question of potential employers is a must. And even if you don’t have CMO dreams, a mentor could make all the difference in helping you succeed in your new physician job.

  1. How are physicians involved in decision making?

It’s no secret that those managing the business of patient care don’t always understand the realities of providing patient care. For this reason, clear and consistent communication between physicians and administrators is critical. Ask questions to find out if and how leadership at the organization solicits input from physicians. Does leadership have regular one-on-one meetings with physicians? Does a physician have a seat on the board? Are physicians represented in other ways? Ask enough questions to gauge if the organization values physician input and considers it when making decisions.

The physician job interview is not only a chance to impress as a candidate; it is also your opportunity to learn about the organization and evaluate them as a potential employer. These six questions, and the suggested follow-ups, will help you investigate and ultimately reveal if the organization shares your values and will be a good long-term fit for your physician career.

A great physician recruiter will not only help you identify physician jobs but also assist you in evaluating potential employers. Search physician jobs now, or contact a recruiter directly to see how we can help.

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Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

6 Tips for Choosing Between Multiple Physician Job Offers

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During the last year and a half, an increasing number of physicians are weighing their employment options. Many feel pushed to the brink due to the pandemic, and the idea of making a change that reduces physician burnout and increases work and life balance is more appealing than ever.

This trend was illuminated in a recent survey conducted by Jackson Physician Search and MGMA. In Getting Ahead of Physician Turnover in Medical Practices, 46% of doctors reported that they’d considered leaving to work for a new employer over the past year.

Why? The same survey shows that 61% of physicians are currently experiencing burnout. While this likely doesn’t come as a surprise, what did is the cause behind their burnout. Sixty-two percent of physicians said their burnout is caused by their current employer. And when asked about their level of satisfaction with their current employer, physicians rated themselves at a 5.5 on a scale of 0-10.

If this sounds familiar, you, too, may have decided to look for a new job and become part of the “Great Resignation.” Due to the competitive nature of the physician job market, it’s likely that you will receive more than one job offer, forcing you to choose between them.

Before you sign your next contract, here are six tips to help you compare each physician job offer. Whichever direction you decide to go, choosing a role that is professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling will play a big role in your future level of satisfaction.

1. Explore Your Why

It’s important to be clear on why you’re looking for a new job. Are you leaving your current role because it’s a less-than-ideal employment situation? Or, are you making a strategic advancement in your career? Or, maybe you’re ready to move closer to family. Whatever the reason, you don’t want to jump into a new setting without understanding the underlying factors of your current status. Think about what conditions will protect you from ending up in the same mental space a year or two down the road. Instead, do a deep dive into what you are looking for in a new position and document what really matters. Which role seems to align with your why?

2. Practice Location

You will have options available to you, so it is important to narrow down where you and your loved ones want to live. Is the variety and energy of a big city best for you, or the beauty and slower pace of small-town living? There are many things to consider, from schools, shopping, and recreation to finding the perfect neighborhood for your children to grow up in. Choose the role that most closely offers the lifestyle for which you and your family are looking.

3. Culture Fit

When you have an opportunity to interview with multiple organizations, you also have the chance to formulate an opinion about the variety of people who work there, as well as the way in which decisions are made. Having options means you can choose to work with other professionals who are more closely aligned with your beliefs and values. The best way to understand the organization’s culture is to speak with as many people as possible throughout the organization.

4. Practice Philosophy 

In a 2019-20 Jackson Physician Search survey of physicians and administrators, there was a disconnect in how each group viewed autonomy. Over 43% of the physician respondents stated that autonomy and participatory decision-making were integral to organizational culture. The administrator respondents didn’t list either as a primary attribute of culture. Your practice philosophy is vital to you as an individual physician, and finding an organization where that won’t be compromised will likely be central to your job satisfaction.

In the most recent survey, two-way communication with management was listed as the most important factor of physicians’ level of satisfaction with their employer. Ask detailed questions to better understand the level of collaboration that exists between physician staff and administration, and choose accordingly.

5. Work/Life Balance

When you explored your “why,” did you place a premium on having more time for yourself and your family? When weighing competing job offers, factor in having a more flexible schedule, manageable call requirements, or even time for you to pursue other passions like research or volunteer opportunities. More control and certainty over how you spend your time will play a role in achieving much-needed balance in your life. Which role appears to provide its physicians with this?

6. Growth Opportunities

If you have aspirations toward physician leadership, make sure it is included in your negotiations with any potential employer. You are exploring new opportunities for a reason, making this the right time to ensure your future plans are being considered by any potential employers. When evaluating offers, you should think about your future self and which healthcare organization you can see yourself growing and advancing in.

By now, you have noticed that we did not single out the amount of money you will be making. Obviously, salary and compensation are always going to be a consideration, but it is essential to look beyond money as a deciding factor in choosing one job over another. Hopefully, when you looked inward to lay out the criteria for why you were ready to move on, there were enough reasons outside of money supporting your decision.

It is a physicians’ market, which puts you in the driver’s seat of choosing a job or practice setting that best suits your personal and professional aspirations. If you aren’t sure about how well you fit into the organizational culture, or the location does not meet the needs of your family, don’t settle. Take advantage of your strong position and find the job that checks nearly all of your boxes.

Jackson Physician Search has a team of experienced, healthcare industry professionals who can help find the right job opportunity for you. Whether you are actively searching for a new position or just want to see what is out there in your specialty, contact the Jackson Physician Search recruitment team today.

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How a Physician Recruiter Helped a Non-Invasive Cardiologist Find Job Search Success

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A growing population coupled with a spike in physician retirements means the much-discussed physician shortage is worsening. For this reason, the physician often has the advantage when searching for a job. This is especially true for specialists coming out of fellowship programs. Fellows are aggressively pursued and many have job offers long before their training concludes.

However, sometimes life doesn’t unfold as planned, and if a fellow doesn’t start a job immediately following training, he or she may seem less desirable to potential employers. They see a gap on the physician’s CV and assume something must be wrong with the physician. But of course, every CV has a story behind it, and it is the job of a good physician recruiter to uncover that story. By taking the time to get to know the physician behind the CV, a recruiter is better positioned to present the candidate than the candidate would be applying directly. It benefits the physician to work with a physician recruiter – especially if the physician has not followed a traditional career path.

An Untraditional Start to a Physician Career

Dr. A’s story was not typical for a Non-Invasive Cardiologist in training. While working as a fellow in a large Midwestern city, her father grew ill and her mother needed help caring for him. Instead of interviewing and evaluating job offers, Dr. A spent the final months of her training traveling back and forth to Oklahoma to care for her ailing father. When her fellowship ended, she relocated to live with her parents and focused on their needs instead of her own job search.

After six months of caring for her father, Dr. A knew it was time to start her physician job search. She began submitting her CV to physician jobs posted online, but she had very little response. When she did get a call, she was immediately questioned about the time she had taken off after her fellowship. After several conversations in which she revealed her personal struggles to unsympathetic recruiters, she began to feel defensive and resisted sharing the details of her circumstances.

A Physician Recruiter Willing to Dig Deeper

Dr. A expanded her search radius in the hopes of improving her chances. If she had to, she could relocate and bring her parents with her. She applied for a job in Texas, but she was not especially hopeful. Little did she know her luck was about to change.

The physician job had been posted by Jackson Physician Search’s Senior Search Consultant, David Isenberg. When he saw her CV in the applicant pool, he wanted to learn more. He reached out to her by phone, and though she was not quick to open up, he sensed there was more to her story. Without judgment, David asked more questions, and eventually, Dr. A shared the details of her father’s illness and her decision to take time off to care for him. David reassured her that her choice to support her family did not have to be a detriment to her physician career.

David was not surprised to learn Dr. A was struggling with her job search – the short gap would be enough for many organizations to reject her CV. However, as a permanent recruitment partner, he knew his client well and was confident they would be open to meeting her once they knew her story – which he would share with them.

“I think it was refreshing to her,” says David, “To know that I had a relationship with the client and wasn’t just a middle-man passing along her CV. As a permanent recruitment partner, I knew how to present her and her backstory in a way that would make it clear that she was worth a closer look.”

His client in Texas was indeed interested, and when Dr. A eventually spoke with David’s client, they didn’t even ask her about the gap. David had already explained everything they needed to know. She was relieved to focus the conversation on her professional qualifications and leave her personal challenges out of it altogether.

Finding the Best Fit for the Candidate

While the client slowly worked to schedule Dr. A’s site visit, another Jackson Physician Search recruiter had a physician job opening that would allow Dr. A (and her parents) to remain in Oklahoma. When asked Dr. A if she would be interested in pursuing the job, she enthusiastically agreed.

Because she was local, the hospital was able to quickly move her through the physician interview process. Dr. A had an in-person interview before her site visit in Texas was even scheduled.

Ultimately, Dr. A would interview face-to-face with both clients, but as David suspected, the Oklahoma location won her over.

The Secret to Success: Working with a Permanent Physician Recruiter

It’s not easy to overcome gaps on a CV, but with David’s assistance, Dr. A quickly had her choice of two job offers. David attributes the success to his status as a permanent recruitment partner.

Permanent physician recruiters work hand-in-hand with their clients and learn exactly what the administration is looking for and how the organization’s process works. Having that intimate knowledge and an ongoing conversation with the hiring organization gives candidates presented by a permanent recruiter a significant advantage over candidates who apply directly online.

“It’s akin to being introduced through a mutual friend versus approaching someone cold,” David says. “We talk a lot about how a permanent physician recruitment firm benefits the hiring organization, but a permanent recruiter benefits the physician as well.”

If your job search could benefit from an introduction by a permanent recruiter, contact us today or search physician jobs online now.

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Doctors Wanted: Benefits of Practicing Medicine in Rural America

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The healthcare needs of the 46 million Americans living in rural areas have never been greater. In many of the country’s smallest towns, there are no nearby physicians, dentists, or psychiatrists. In contrast to their urban neighbors, rural patients must drive long distances to access the healthcare services they need. As a result, they often choose to delay routine care, which can lead to long-term consequences for their health. In fact, those living in rural areas are statistically more likely to succumb to cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and various cancers.

The maldistribution of providers is stark. Twenty percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, but only 11% of physicians choose to practice there. The primary care physician to patient ratio in the most remote areas exceeds 1:3,500; far higher than the national average. The sheer volume of patients that a rural doctor manages is astronomical and inevitably challenging. Yet, as many of the physicians who chose early on in their career to work in a rural setting would testify, it can also be very rewarding.

Finding Your Calling

Pursuing a career in medicine isn’t for the faint of heart. Doctors, like you, usually feel a deep calling to serve and care for those around them — who else would put themselves through the rigors of medical school and several additional years of training, often at the expense of personal finances, work/life balance, and mental health? Before most doctors get their first post-training job, they’ve already accumulated more than $200,000 in debt. Sound familiar? Also, many of your peers are struggling with physician burnout and even depression.

While rural healthcare facilities have long struggled to recruit, the pandemic is causing some providers to re-evaluate their priorities. If you’re open to giving rural healthcare a go, you, too, might just find it to be a much-needed respite.

Dr. L, a family medicine physician who was nearing the completion of her training, had just begun her job search when an opportunity at a 25-bed hospital in central Minnesota presented itself. While she had strong ties in the state, she had never imagined herself practicing there or in any small community. As she soon discovered, the benefits far outweigh any perceived drawbacks. More autonomy in how she would practice medicine, student loan payoff, and administrative staff that demonstrated its commitment to open, two-way communication was a lure she couldn’t pass up. Now, she can’t imagine practicing elsewhere.

Her experience isn’t unique. Of the 63,000 primary care and mental health professionals that have been placed in rural areas and received student loan pay-off benefits from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), many have elected to stay long past their initial commitment. For these doctors, it seems that how they are enabled to practice medicine is a much bigger priority than where they do it. Having a good work/life balance, an influential voice, and a deep affection for their patients is something they aren’t willing to leave behind for the conveniences of a city.

Doctors Wanted – Great Benefits

The pandemic has altered the physician recruitment landscape with more doctors than ever actively seeking new opportunities. Doctors are desperate for relief from the stress and uncertainty they’ve been facing during the last two years. If you are among them and open to considering a change, keep reading to learn some of the many benefits available to you outside of the big cities.

Scope of Practice Growth

When you are one of few physicians within a community, you learn to rely on your skills, training, and instincts to care for patients with needs outside your original scope of training. In a rural setting, you may not have specialists to rely on, so your knowledge will grow in nearly every aspect of medicine. This can serve you well within the community, or later when seeking new opportunities.

Autonomy to Practice Medicine Your Way

In a recent Jackson Physician Search survey of physicians and administrators, 43% of the doctors said they wanted more autonomy in practicing medicine. For most physicians working in a rural setting, autonomy is a major component of the job, especially considering that you’ll find yourself practicing outside the narrower scope of your training, as mentioned above.

Leadership Responsibility

Rural physicians are relied on for their natural leadership skills and generally have much greater input into how things are done in the facility. You will have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on everything from the organizational culture to policies and procedures. Physicians who practice rural medicine are typically introduced to and responsible for much more than their urban counterparts.

Respect of the Community

Rural physicians find themselves on a first-name basis with many of their patients. You will invariably see them around town, at school functions, and in other social settings. If you have never lived in a small town, it may take time to get used to this unique dynamic, but you will soon see how rewarding it can be to establish this level of respect, trust, and community involvement with your patients.

Compensation and Benefits

Rural opportunities often come with higher compensation – as much as 10% is common. For those just out of training with student loans to pay back, those extra dollars will make a significant difference in your quality of life now and later. Plus, perks such as signing bonuses, relocation expenses, housing allowances, and travel stipends often accompany a job offer.

Student Loan Forgiveness

Financial incentives toward student loan debt repayment have become common in rural and urban healthcare systems. Rural physicians often receive offers of $75,000 – $100,000 in loan forgiveness, sometimes more.

Lower Cost-of-Living

Although it is not controlled by the healthcare system, a significant financial incentive for accepting a rural physician job is the difference in the cost-of-living. From housing costs to taxes, rural communities are where physicians can make their salary go much farther than in larger metropolitan areas.

Work and Life Perks

Physicians considering rural opportunities often find these positions offer more flexible schedules, which can lead to a decrease in burnout and an increase in time outside of work to conduct medical research, pursue personal interests, and hang out with family.

Job Sharing for Specialists and End-of-Career Doctors

There are many variables to consider when it comes to patient volumes and the number of physicians needed for coverage in rural health systems. This issue especially rings true for specialty services, with many systems resorting to creative solutions such as job sharing to cover the gaps. In some cases, multiple facilities within a geographic region will share a job. However, other times, a full-time job is simply divided between two doctors in the same facility. Similar to being considered part-time, job sharing may be a perfect opportunity for soon-to-be-retiring physicians.

If practicing in a rural setting has piqued your interest, Jackson Physician Search has a team of healthcare industry professionals to help you find an opportunity anywhere in the country that meets your personal and professional needs. Our experience and industry contacts can make all the difference in finding you a position that you’ll be happy in for years to come. Search jobs now.

5 Signs It May Be Time to Look for a New Physician Job

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After a Difficult Journey, A Psychiatrist Trusts Physician Recruiter with her Professional, and Personal Future

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According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, the United States is facing a potential shortage of up to 15,600 Psychiatrists by 2025, with the most significant impacts in rural communities. So, when a health system in rural Michigan needed a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, the leadership team turned to Jackson Physician Search for help.

The administration was seeking an experienced Psychiatrist with the skills and leadership abilities to ultimately move into the Medical Director position for the system’s behavioral health program.

Jackson Physician Search Regional Vice President of Recruiting Tara Osseck took the charge and began searching for a Psychiatrist for the health system.

In Comes Dr. J

During the process, Tara came across an experienced Psychiatrist within the Jackson Physician Search candidate database. Dr. J had contacted Jackson Physician Search in the past about another opportunity and had former ties to the state of Michigan. She graduated from medical school in Pakistan and completed her residency and fellowship at the University of Michigan. Although she was officially practicing in Georgia, when the COVID pandemic began, she took a leave of absence to return to Pakistan and take care of her parents and extended family there.

Tara reached out to her to gauge her interest in returning to Michigan for this new opportunity but was met with some reluctance. Dr. J had experienced trauma in her personal life and was not sure if she was ready to move back to Michigan. Confident that she was the perfect fit for this opportunity, Tara committed to staying in touch with Dr. J.

Dr. J was passively exploring new opportunities for when she returned to the United States and decided that she would be willing to speak virtually with the Michigan health system administrators to learn more about their position.

Tara had sourced many candidates for this opportunity, but she felt strongly that Dr. J had the right combination of skills and experience to be exactly what the health system needed. She knew that to maintain Dr. J’s interest, it would be critical to ensure that the client understood the importance of meeting her personal needs as much, if not more, than her professional needs.

The Client Moved Mountains

The client held a virtual interview with Dr. J while she was still in Pakistan. The administrators were thoroughly impressed and felt that Dr. J was the perfect candidate for the role they envisioned. Her practice philosophy and mentality completely meshed with the client, and she was a great fit for the patient population. The key was going to be supporting her in overcoming the challenging history she had in the state.

A few months later, Dr. J had returned to the U.S., so the administrators scheduled a site visit for her to see how she felt in the community. Tara helped them ensure that Dr. J would have everything she needed during the visit. They put together a strong offer, were very flexible in negotiating time off for Dr. J, among other things that showed their level of commitment. They went out of their way to demonstrate to Dr. J that they were willing to make a long-term commitment to her.

The administration agreed that Dr. J would be the perfect physician for their organization, and they moved mountains to get her to come to work for them. They started by structuring the position to fit Dr. J’s passions, they offered her additional time off, and even helped her find temporary housing. The system’s efforts would pay off; Dr. J felt valued and important.

A Big Decision

Although Dr. J was weighing several competing offers, she decided to accept this one. She felt that the best way to overcome her personal loss was to pour herself into her patients; into working with children and adolescents.

This decision was much more than just a professional move for Dr. J, it was a way to overcome and use the trauma she’d endured to help others. Dr. J was grateful for Tara’s help and guidance navigating a very complex emotional scenario, and in order to express her gratitude, Dr. J brought Tara back a personal gift from Pakistan.

When a recruiter establishes a relationship with a physician, the responsibility encompasses more than just helping them find the right career opportunity. In many cases, the candidate is trusting their recruitment partner with their personal life as well, and such was the case for Dr. J.

If you are seeking a new physician career and want a partner who will listen to your specific needs and wants, and will find you the best job opportunity, contact us today.

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Physician Retirement: What Leads Physicians to Retire Early Versus Late?

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For many physicians pondering retirement, age itself isn’t the number one driver of their desire to continue practicing medicine. Rather, they feel deeply drawn to care for their patients for as long as they’re willing and able, while others plan to reclaim those years “lost” to med school, residency, and fellowship by retiring as soon as possible to enjoy life. Whether or not you decide to retire early or retire late, the volume of physicians nearing this stage of life has never been higher.

According to a 2020 report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), 45% of practicing physicians are over 55. This means more than 2 of every 5 active physicians will be over 65 in the next decade. With 65 the reported median physician retirement age, this would suggest nearly half of all physicians who are currently practicing will be retired by 2030.  However, this may be a conservative estimate. According to a 2019 study published by AMA Insurance and highlighted by the American Medical Association, 30% of physicians retire between the ages of 60 and 65 and 12% retire before the age of 60. These looming retirements are one factor contributing to the much-discussed physician shortage.

You’ve heard it before, the aging Baby Boomer population combined with a significant percentage of physicians at or nearing retirement age amounts to an upcoming physician shortage of a magnitude for which no one has adequately planned. And now, COVID has introduced yet another factor likely worsening (or at least, speeding the arrival of) the shortage.

According to a 2021 Jackson Physician Search Whitepaper: On the Verge of a Physician Turnover Epidemic, the COVID-19 pandemic has made half of today’s physicians reconsider their career plans. Of those, 21% of physicians are considering early retirement and another 15% are considering changing professions altogether. A March 2021 poll conducted by MGMA appears to confirm the trend. In the poll, 28% of healthcare administrators said a physician at their organization had unexpectedly retired in the past year.

The pandemic has certainly placed a strain on physicians, but it has only fanned the flames of an already significant physician burnout problem. Pre-COVID data found 44% of physicians experienced burnout, and more recent studies suggest the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. To what degree does burnout cause physicians to retire early? And what other factors contribute to early retirements? On the other hand, some physicians may have delayed retirement due to the pandemic – citing economic instability or logistical concerns. Others felt a heightened sense of obligation to their patients or to the broader community during these troubling times.

This article will explore the factors contributing to both early and late retirements and perhaps help you identify with which path you are aligned.

What Causes Physicians to Retire Early?

COVID-19

As noted above, stressful circumstances – such as a global pandemic – certainly contribute to physician retirement decisions. Beyond the stress and burnout caused by the pandemic, personal health concerns were also a common factor, especially for older physicians who were at a higher risk of severe illness and death from the new virus. In an October 2020 article, the Washington Post featured several physicians for whom this was the case. Whether driven by their own fears or the fears of loved ones, these physicians opted to retire rather than put themselves at risk.

Stress and Burnout

While these stories are not uncommon, it’s rare for a single event to evoke such a response. More often, it’s the ongoing stress experienced by physicians that drives them to retire early. In looking at the AAMC data on physician age by specialty, several of the specialties noted to have high levels of burnout, such as critical care and emergency medicine, have a lower percentage of physicians practicing over 55 (21% and 35%, respectively) compared to the average for all specialties (45%). So, one might conclude physicians working in high-stress fields are more likely to retire early.

Financial Readiness

Perhaps most importantly, physicians make retirement decisions based on their perceived financial preparedness for this next stage of life. Of course, as discussed in an article for Medical Economics, financial readiness is largely subjective – that is, the figure required to retire comfortably depends on the level of comfort one requires. Still, median physician salaries are considerably higher than the national median, so even after factoring in hefty student loan debt, some physicians will reach financial readiness at a younger age and may therefore opt to retire early.  Physicians in the highest-earning specialties may reach this stage even earlier.

Obligations

Being financially ready to retire doesn’t mean you have to retire or even want to retire. However, sometimes early retirement is forced upon you. Physicians may find themselves facing health challenges that force them into early retirement, or they may feel obliged to retire to care for a parent or spouse in poor health.

Future Plans

Some physicians retire from medicine early to pursue a “second act,” be it a new business venture, a teaching career, or non-profit work. Physicians are highly driven individuals, and once they achieve success in their given field, they may be drawn to pursue a new challenge. While the movement to achieve “financial independence and retire early” (FIRE) is not unique to physicians, it has received significant attention. An article for HCP Live outlines how the FIRE idea impacts different types of physicians.

Why Do Physicians Delay Retirement?

While there is much discussion about the impact of physicians retiring early, if the AMA Insurance report is correct, 58% of physicians will retire after 65. So, what causes physicians to extend their careers? At a high level, the answers look oddly familiar.

COVID-19

While some physicians took the pandemic as a reason to retire early, others saw it as a reason to put retirement plans on hold. Some felt a sense of obligation to patients in need, some worried about how economic instability would impact retirement funds, while others knew the logistics of selling a practice or recruiting their replacement would be next to impossible during a pandemic.

Stress

While high-stress physician jobs can certainly drive a physician into early retirement, the stress of retirement planning may cause some physicians to put off retirement indefinitely. This is especially true for physicians who own a practice and must address additional details of retirement planning such as selling their stake and transitioning long-term patients. Primary care physicians, who cultivate relationships with patients over the course of a lifetime, may find the concept of transitioning patients to a new provider particularly difficult.

Financial Readiness

The aforementioned Medical Economics article notes that while physicians’ affluence allows them to save more than the average working professional, many of them also spend more – and will likely continue to do so in retirement. Thus, the “magic number” that a physician feels he or she needs to save in order to retire comfortably will likely be relatively high, and depending on how much of their income they are able to save for retirement, it may take longer to achieve it.

Obligations

According to a systematic review of 65 retirement studies, published by Human Resources for Health, one of the primary reasons physicians delay retirement is out of concern for their patients. They may also feel a broader moral obligation to provide care to communities in crisis – either due to the global pandemic, a physician shortage, or other difficulties – leading many to work past retirement age or even come out of retirement to serve.

 Future Plans

The hardworking, high-achieving individuals who pursue physician careers don’t achieve their goals by sitting around and relaxing, and many physicians approaching retirement age have no desire to start now! They can’t imagine a future without work in some capacity. In fact, a 2019 retirement survey conducted by Jackson Physician Search, found nearly a third (28%) of respondents planned to continue working part-time post-retirement. Only 17% expected to take full retirement. As long as they are able, they will practice medicine.

Regardless of physicians’ reasons for retiring, the looming mass exodus could not come at a worse time. The most recent AAMC study on the physician shortage projects a deficit of 37,800 to 124,000 physicians by 2034. That shortage includes shortfalls of 17,800 to 48,000 primary care physicians and 21,000 to 77,100 specialists.

What does this mean for physicians approaching retirement? Are you morally obligated to keep working? Breathe easy. According to AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, the multi-pronged solution doesn’t rest on aging physicians, but rather, it starts with educating and training enough new physicians to meet the increasing demand, diversifying the physician workforce, and improving the nation’s preparedness for future public health crises.

That said, while the problem cannot be solved at an individual level, physicians who worry about boredom or losing their sense of purpose post-retirement may want to consider ways to continue to provide care in some capacity – via telemedicine or significantly scaled back hours – as long as they are willing and able. Your community will thank you. And to those who are ready to hang up the white coat for good, you too should be thanked for your service and wished well in retirement!

If you are approaching retirement and looking for a job opportunity that allows for more flexibility as you make the transition, a conversation with a Jackson Physician Search recruiter may be just what you need. Contact us today or search our open positions now.

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Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Placement Success Story: Physician Happily Regrets Ghosting His Recruiter

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As physicians near retirement age, one of the kindest things they can do for their employers is have a frank discussion regarding their timeline. After all, the average time it takes to recruit a physician ranges from 180 days to close to a year, depending on the specialty. Those averages are even longer for healthcare organizations in rural areas.

In a 2019 physician retirement survey conducted by Jackson Physician Search, half of the administrators surveyed said the ideal notice period for a retiring physician was one to three years. However, 40% of physicians felt six months was adequate. Certainly, the more notice a physician can provide, the more likely the organization is to hire a replacement for the outgoing retiree. Of course, this is only possible when the organization has the foresight to launch the search as soon as possible.

A longtime client of Jackson Physician Search had exactly this foresight when faced with replacing a retiring ENT. Fortunately, the physician had been transparent about his future plans, giving several years for the organization to conduct an ENT physician search. With time – and Jackson Physician Search – on their side, success was inevitable.  

Planning Ahead for a Physician Retirement

It was late 2019 when Mark Mendoza, Senior Search Consultant at Jackson Physician Search, first opened an ENT search for a small health system in central Minnesota. The longtime client had learned of an upcoming retirement, and heeding Mark’s advice, started the search early. Since 2015, Jackson Physician Search had placed eight physicians with the organization, so the in-house recruiter knew they were in good hands with Mark.

Having recruited in the region for a long time, Mark knew the candidate pool of specialists willing to work in the upper Midwest is typically small, so he was grateful for the long lead time. The new hire could start as late as 2022 and the organization was open to a physician coming out of residency.

Marketing the Physician Job to the Right Audience

Mark knew the prospect of taking over for an established physician would be attractive to residents, but he also knew persuading a young physician to start his or her life in a small town could be challenging. He crafted the job posting to showcase the most attractive aspects of the position and posted it on an extensive network of job sites. However, Mark was not one to wait for candidates to come to him, so he also invested time on Doximity, the largest online network for physicians, and leveraged his seat to identify residents with ties to the area.

Once the search was in motion, it didn’t take long for Mark to connect with Dr. T. As a 2022 resident, Dr. T was not in a hurry to sign a contract, but he had learned from mentors the importance of starting the physician job search early. As an ENT, he knew he would be in high demand, and he wanted to investigate his options.

Persistence is Key to Developing the Candidate Relationship

Mark diligently pursued Dr. T, and in January 2020, Mark presented him to the client. Dr. T spoke to the internal recruiter, but due to his timeline, he felt little urgency to schedule a visit. He told Mark it would likely be summer before he could arrange an on-site interview. Mark understood and continued to pursue other candidates while remaining in touch with Dr. T.

Of course, come summer of 2020, COVID was now a deterrent to travel, and Dr. T wanted to put off the on-site interview further. Mark remained in touch but each time they came close to scheduling an interview, Dr. T had a reason to delay. In October, Mark reached out once more to nail down a date over the holidays, which Dr. T had previously said might work. This time, instead of offering reasons to delay, Dr. T simply didn’t return Mark’s calls. He failed to respond to emails and texts as well.

“He ghosted me!” Mark says, “I didn’t hear from him for about two months, though I continued to reach out.”

Never Give Up on the Right Candidate

In late December, Dr. T finally sent an email to Mark to thank him for his help, also letting him know his plans to accept another opportunity.

“I got the email at 9 pm on a Saturday, and I called him right then – from a grocery store parking lot of all places!” says Mark, “But given the limited number of ENTs interested in working in that area, I wasn’t going to let him go so easily.”

Mark convinced Dr. T to at least have a closer look at his client before accepting the other offer. He painted an attractive picture of what life could be like in the small, lakeside town, and Dr. T was intrigued. After an extensive virtual interview, Dr. T was surprised to find that he preferred Mark’s client over the other organization. Mark’s client extended an offer, and, after some negotiation, Dr. T accepted.

A Lasting Recruitment Relationship 

The client was thrilled to secure an ENT to seamlessly replace the retiring physician. Once again, Jackson Physician Search – and Mark – had come through for them. The in-house recruiter had this to say about Mark’s consistent success:

“I have worked with many different recruitment firms, and I have had the most success with Mark. As an in-house recruiter, I have appreciated the pre-screening, prompt follow-up and feedback, consistent level of communication, and high-quality candidates presented by Mark. He has been very cognizant of our market and provides insightful information in the recruitment process that we as an organization can use to improve.”

Dr. T was also excited to have secured his first post-residency position. Without Mark’s persistence, Dr. T might have ended up missing out on the job with a health system that will allow him to flourish personally and professionally.

With offices located across the country, our team of physician recruitment experts have first-hand knowledge of each region and the physician job opportunities within them. If you are seeking a new position, contact us today, or search our open positions now.

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5 Signs It May Be Time to Look for a New Physician Job

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In a new whitepaper from Jackson Physician Search, multiple VPs of Recruitment report seeing an influx in candidates seeking new physician jobs. Some of these physicians report feeling let down by how their employers handled the early days of the pandemic, while for others, the pandemic heightened their need to be near family or to balance work with a personal life. The whitepaper explores the post-COVID physician job market in depth, but as a physician, you may be wondering, “Does this apply to me?” or “How do I know if it’s time to look for a new physician job?”

For many physicians, used to working hard and powering through challenging classes, tough rotations, and never-ending shifts, it can be hard to know if a difficult physician job is just another challenge that will get easier with time, or if perhaps, it’s time to look for a new physician job. It can be tough to know for certain, but there are several signs that indicate it’s time to move on. Keep reading to discover if anything listed here applies to you in your current physician job, and if so, it’s likely time to explore your options.

1. Stalled Goals

Physicians are known to be high achievers, and for many, the need to achieve doesn’t stop when they finally add the “MD” to their name. So, how are your professional goals progressing in your current role? Whether it’s developing a new skill, pursuing a relevant certification, or increasing your level of leadership responsibility in your practice, the goals you set for yourself shouldn’t be put on hold due to the demands of your physician job. If your current role does not allow the time and space you need to grow professionally, it may be time to consider other physician jobs.

2. Lack of Support

Physicians are heroes in their communities, but unlike comic book superheroes, they cannot do their work alone. Your physician job should come with a supportive boss and collaborative colleagues. Better yet, you should also have a mentor to regularly advise and encourage you as you pursue your goals and navigate your physician career. If you find yourself struggling to get through each day on your own, it’s time to look for physician jobs that provide more support.

3. Ongoing Burnout

A 2021 physician burnout survey by Medscape found happiness among physicians took an unsurprising plunge in 2020. Pre-pandemic, 69% of physicians said they were happy at work, but in the most recent survey, that figure shrank to 49%. When asked if they felt “burned out,” 42% of physician respondents said, “yes,” reporting the top causes of burnout as too many bureaucratic tasks, long hours, and lack of respect from admin, colleagues, or staff. The result? Physicians with low energy, feelings of negativity toward their employers, and apathy for patients. If this describes you, burnout may be the issue.

There’s a lot of talk about physician burnout and depression, though it’s important to note the difference between the two. According to the American Medical Association’s VP of Professional Satisfaction, Christine Sinksy, MD, depression is a medical condition, while burnout is a syndrome caused by external work circumstances. Changing physician jobs won’t cure clinical depression, but a new physician job can alleviate burnout.

4. Haunted by the Big Questions

Is this all there is? Am I living the life I’m meant to have? The COVID-19 pandemic had people of every profession rethinking how they spend their time, but physicians were uniquely impacted by the circumstances of 2020 and beyond. Whether you’re practicing on the front lines or via telemed, you may feel differently about your physician career than you did a year and a half ago.

A recent Jackson Physician Search White Paper explores the impact of COVID-19 on physician jobs. Through interviews with multiple physician recruiters, the report makes it apparent that physicians are shifting what they value in physician jobs. VP of Recruiting at Jackson Physician Search Carly Clem reports seeing an influx of candidates seeking physician jobs closer to where they grew up or in smaller towns with a slower pace of life. “We’re less likely to see candidates solely motivated by money,” Clem says. “Candidates have a little more perspective on what’s important.”

If you find yourself frequently asking, “Is this all there is?” or wondering if your current physician job is as good as it gets, it is time to explore your options.

5. Unsatisfactory Income

While the JPS White Paper indicates physicians care about much more than income, they still deserve to be paid what they are worth. Obviously, physician salaries vary based on specialty, location, and other factors, but if you compare your income to the latest physician compensation and find it lacking, you may find yourself feeling undervalued and resentful of your employer. Before you decide it’s time to move on, be sure to fairly evaluate apples to apples. Look at the structure of the physician compensation model as well as incentives and benefits. If, after a fair assessment, you still feel undervalued, it may be time to search for a physician job with a more competitive compensation model.

You didn’t become a physician by giving up at the first sign of difficulty, so it may go against your nature to admit your current physician job is not right for you. However, if you are experiencing the signs described here, it’s likely time to reevaluate your physician job options. An experienced recruiter from Jackson Physician Search is ready to help you identify physician jobs that match your needs. Or, download our new Physician Job Search Playbook where we outline everything you need to begin your next job search including the importance of working with physician recruiters.

Physician Job Search Playbook

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Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.