Following the Path to Physician Executive Jobs


Most physicians thrive on challenges. Throughout undergrad, medical school, residency, and fellowship, they are striving to make good grades, impress their professor or attending physician, and acquire the knowledge and experience they need to move to the next level. When these hardworking physicians eventually complete their training and begin their first physician jobs, the need to achieve doesn’t fade away. It will likely be channeled into building a practice and/or amassing RVUs to meet productivity goals. Ambitious physicians will continue to find ways to impress leadership, win favor with patients, increase their earnings, and perhaps, take on more responsibility as a physician executive. If this describes you, you’ll want to keep reading for advice on how to prepare for physician executive jobs. 

The Path to Physician Executive

For most working professionals, the path to leadership involves climbing a fairly straightforward corporate ladder. You put in a few years as an associate and will eventually be promoted to manager. Do your time as a manager, and soon you’ll be on the path to becoming a director and eventually a VP. If you have an MBA (or earn it online after work), you may even make it to the C-suite. With each promotion, responsibility grows, and compensation increases.

For physicians, the path to leadership is not quite as clear, nor is it always quite as enticing. While a physician executive title holds some prestige, the notable challenges facing healthcare leaders today may discourage even the most driven physicians from pursuing this path. The fact that the path to becoming a physician leader is not well defined is also problematic. Even physicians who want to learn leadership skills and increase their knowledge of the business of healthcare don’t often receive this kind of training. In fact, according to a September MGMA Stat poll, just 53% of medical groups provide any type of management training to staff. 

The Need for Physician Executives

Despite the fact that half of medical groups don’t offer physician leadership training, organizations increasingly recognize the value that physicians bring to healthcare leadership roles and are hiring more physician executives. Physician leaders have firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing physicians and their patients. This empathy allows them to make decisions with an understanding of the organization’s goals, as well as the needs of physicians and patients. Their experience in both the business of healthcare and the delivery of patient care gives physician executives the ideal perspective from which to make decisions that impact the entire organization.

Physician executives may also serve as liaisons between providers and other administrators. In this role, physician executives have the potential to improve communication, which, according to a joint JPS-MGMA study, is a top desire of physicians and thus essential to mitigating physician burnout and increasing physician retention. 

Be Proactive in Your Own Development

If you are up for the challenge of physician leadership, don’t wait for a supervisor to approach you with a training manual. Even if your organization offers leadership development for physicians, you may need to use your voice to express your interest. You may begin by raising your hand to join committees and attend conferences. Offer to serve as a peer mentor to a new physician. Show yourself to be an engaged and helpful team member, then talk to your supervisor about your desire to lead and ask for his or her thoughts on the specific leadership skills you need to learn. 

According to Dirk Jansson, Director of Physician Executive Search at Jackson Physician Search, the most effective physician executives lead by example and have the respect of their peers. While he acknowledges that the role of physician executive is different for each organization, ideal candidates have certain soft skills in common. They have high emotional intelligence and are active listeners, good communicators, and excel at developing relationships. 

These types of skills aren’t covered in medical school and may not be innate to your personality, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be learned. If your employer does not offer a leadership development program, you’ll need to identify mentors who can help you learn those essential leadership skills. 

External Physician Executive Training 

Of course, leadership skills and business acumen can be acquired in other ways too. An increasing number of physicians are choosing to pursue an MHA or MBA–either in conjunction with an MD or after the fact. If you did not choose the former option, the availability of online graduate programs makes it possible to obtain an additional degree with minimal disruption to your practice. 

The American Association of Physician Leaders also serves as a valuable resource for current and future physician leaders. The organization is dedicated to preparing physicians to be influential and effective leaders. The AAPL offers a variety of self-study CME courses for physician leaders at every stage of their careers. Those completing the full curriculum are eligible to receive the Physician Executive Certification. Some classes may also count toward advanced degrees through partner universities. 

Get Involved

However you choose to pursue it, you will need a keen understanding of the business of healthcare if you hope to become a physician executive. Books, courses, and mentors can provide instruction and insight, but the best way to learn is to see it firsthand. Find ways to get involved in (or at least observe) the decision-making process at your organization. Ask questions to better understand the thought process leading up to specific changes in policy.

Healthcare organizations recognize the value of physician leaders, and most would prefer to promote from within rather than hire externally. So, even if your employer doesn’t specifically offer leadership training, you can easily make a case for why they should support you in your efforts to learn. By pursuing physician leadership skills, you can better serve the organization and the surrounding community. Not to mention you will be helping your employer build an internal pipeline of future physician leaders. 

Of course, if your employer simply cannot offer the professional development you need to put you on the path to a physician executive job, reach out to the Jackson Physician Search recruitment team today to inquire about opportunities that may be a better fit for your future goals. 

Beating Physician Burnout: 5 Things to Ask of Your Employer

Nearly half of physicians in a recent study say their employers are the primary cause of their burnout. It’s time to have an honest conversation with your manager about the issues that you feel contribute to burnout and the potential ways your manager could solve or improve those issues…

Pediatrician Takes a Chance on a Small Town and Finds a Practice to Call Home

Senior Search Consultant Sydney Johnson suggests a compromise between a Pediatrician and a small-town physician group, ultimately satisfying everyone…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

6 Proactive Ways Physicians Can Improve Communication with Administrators


Dr. P was eager to sit down with her supervisor for the first time in four months. Lately, she was lucky if their monthly one-on-one meetings occurred once per quarter–something always seemed to come up that caused them to cancel or push it out. Everyone was so busy that no one had time for development meetings, or anything else for that matter. This was precisely what Dr. P was hoping to discuss today, and yet, she found herself sitting quietly as her manager outlined the various ways physicians would need to continue to “step up” for their patients and the practice. Dr. P wanted to take care of her patients, but she also knew her current workload was unsustainable. She thought this meeting would be the right place to initiate the conversation, and yet, it was clear her supervisor was not ready to hear it.

If Dr. P’s situation sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Joint research from MGMA and Jackson Physician Search shows burnout is still on the rise, and while administrators are aware that it’s a problem, they have yet to find an effective way to solve it. This may be due to the fact that the issues physicians face are complex and there is no easy solution. However, one notable point from the research is the importance physicians place on two-way communication with management. One might assume that the need to be heard would be simple for employers to meet, and yet, just one in four physicians in the study said two-way communication at their organization is “very good” or “good.” If you would like to see two-way communication improve at your organization, you may need to proactively initiate new processes to give you and your peers what you need.  

Burnout Increasing But Better Communication Can Help

The comprehensive results of the aforementioned MGMA-JPS study are documented in the new whitepaper, Back from Burnout: Confronting the Post-Pandemic Physician Turnover Crisis.  The study explores how both physicians and medical group administrators perceive the current state of physician recruitment, engagement, retention, and burnout. According to the findings, more physicians report feeling burned out in 2022 than in 2021, and among those who say they are burned out, most feel their burnout is worse than it was last year. 

The rising statistics on burnout are bleak, however, the joint study also asked physicians to share what factors impact their job satisfaction. If administrators can improve in the areas most important to physicians, certainly this would positively impact burnout. So which factors do physicians say have the greatest impact on their job satisfaction? It may come as a surprise to some that the top factor was not compensation but two-way communication with management. Physicians want a relationship of trust, where they know how and when important decisions are being made and feel they have a voice in making them. 

How to Improve Communication at Your Organization

Much has been written for healthcare leaders on what they can do to improve communication with physicians, but what can physicians do to proactively work towards the same goal? The following ideas are starting points to help you reach out to leadership and establish new processes and expectations that will improve communication at your organization. 

Request regular one-on-one meetings with your manager. If regular meetings with your manager are not already on your calendar, it’s time to make this a priority. Most organizations recognize the need for monthly, one-on-one meetings, but all too often these are the first events to be rescheduled or canceled when conflicts arise. Be flexible when truly necessary, but make sure meetings are promptly rescheduled. 

Bring an agenda to meetings with management. Make sure your one-on-one meetings are productive by bringing an agenda to the meeting. Your manager may or may not have specific items to discuss, but by bringing a written list, you are indicating that you too have issues you want to address. Bonus points if you also bring potential proposed solutions to any problems you bring to light. 

Ask your manager to weigh in. Good managers will try to make themselves available and approachable to staff, so take advantage of those opportunities to make him or her aware of a specific issue you are dealing with and get an outside opinion. These more casual interactions can help your manager understand the issues you and your peers are facing and perhaps spark ideas on ways to provide more support. 

Be an active participant in meetings and huddles. While you don’t need to bring a written agenda to every gathering, do be an active listener and speak up to share your thoughts and ideas. Ask questions when appropriate and provide your input when the opportunity is right. 

Share successes and failures. If your manager has done a good job building an environment of trust, you will hopefully feel comfortable sharing both your wins and losses. This type of transparency is crucial for problem-solving and can help your manager better understand and empathize with your circumstances.

Speak as “I” not “we.” These proactive steps to improve communication will hopefully improve circumstances for your physician peers as well as for yourself. However, don’t make the mistake of speaking for the group unless you have been tasked to do so. In your discussions with management, make it clear that you represent yourself and your opinions only. This will prevent misunderstandings or confusion about how the group may or may not feel.  

Start With Better Communication

The challenge of beating physician burnout doesn’t have an easy solution, however, improving communication between physicians and management is an important part of improving overall circumstances for physicians. Most employers are well aware of the burnout epidemic and are taking steps to mitigate the problem for physicians. Physicians can take a proactive role in working to solve the issue, and they may start with these steps to improve communication with management:  prioritize one-on-one meetings, participate and ask questions, be transparent, share both good news and bad, and speak to your own opinions and circumstances, not the group’s. These actions can improve communication at your organization and ultimately serve to lessen burnout, not only for you but for your peers as well.  

Are you searching for a physician job with an employer that prioritizes two-way communication? The Recruitment Team at Jackson Physician Search can help you find a job with an employer whose values align with yours. Reach out to a Jackson Physician Search Recruiter today or search physician jobs online now.

Beating Physician Burnout: 5 Things to Ask of Your Employer

Nearly half of physicians in a recent study say their employers are the primary cause of their burnout. It’s time to have an honest conversation with your manager about the issues that you feel contribute to burnout and the potential ways your manager could solve or improve those issues.

6 Things to Know About Medical School Loan Repayment

While a good physician recruiter can help you prioritize loan repayment in your physician job search, there are several things to consider well before you begin an active physician job search (and the earlier, the better!)

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Pediatrician Takes a Chance on a Small Town and Finds a Practice to Call Home


A physician’s career journey doesn’t always start out on the expected path. This seems especially true for physicians who finished training during the height of the pandemic. Whether due to family needs, mental or physical health issues, or existential crises, some physicians took time off after training and delayed their job searches indefinitely. For Dr. M, it was personal health issues that forced her to take time off after completing her training in 2021. When she felt ready to work again, she took locum jobs while searching for a full-time pediatrician job. Currently residing in Ohio, she was open to relocating but hoped to stay in or near a major metro area. When she received a marketing email from Jackson Physician Search about a pediatrics job in North Carolina, she was intrigued at first but worried the location was too rural. She moved on from the job ad without applying.

An Ideal Employer 

JPS Senior Search Consultant Sydney Johnson was working on what would be her third placement with a North Carolina healthcare organization. Though the organization itself was big, she was working to find a pediatrician for a small, satellite office in the northeast corner of the state. The practice had a lot to offer a physician–high retention rates, minimal call, and an excellent mentorship program. More importantly, everyone from the nursing staff to the physicians to the practice administrator seemed genuinely happy to be there. The atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming, and physicians enjoyed an excellent quality of life. Sydney knew from experience that if she could get a candidate on-site, the candidate would fall in love with the group. 

A Passionate Recruiter and an Open-Minded Physician

However, finding candidates who would seriously consider the small, remote location was tough. Instead of waiting for physicians to apply for the job, she began calling a list of potential leads. As a pediatrician in an active job search, Dr. M was on that list, and she was happy to get Sydney’s call. Though she wasn’t looking for a job in North Carolina, the way Sydney talked about the practice intrigued her. 

“I just can’t say enough good things about this client and specifically, this practice,” Sydney says. “As a recruiter, they are wonderful to work with, and I know from talking to the physicians on staff that it is truly a great place to work. I think my enthusiasm for the group came through when I spoke to Dr. M because she agreed to let me present her for the job.”

Several weeks later, Dr. M flew to North Carolina for the on-site interview. As Sydney predicted, Dr. M was impressed with the collegial atmosphere and felt instantly at ease with everyone she met. While the town was not ideal for her, she couldn’t imagine that she’d find a better professional opportunity. If they could meet her compensation demands, she could make her home in the area.  

The group extended an offer to Dr. M, but the compensation was not where she wanted it to be. Sydney gathered the latest compensation data for pediatricians in the state and presented it to the client to demonstrate why they should increase the offer. Leadership was persuaded and their second offer met Dr. M’s expectations. She was happy to sign.

Physician Job Search Success

Dr. M’s story demonstrates the importance of keeping an open mind in your physician job search. One of the biggest job search mistakes physicians make is zeroing in on a single location and ignoring opportunities elsewhere. Expanding your physician job search opens up countless opportunities–one of which may just be a better fit than you imagined. Had Dr. M ruled out the North Carolina town due to its size, she would have missed out on an incredible opportunity. Fortunately, she trusted her physician recruiter, kept an open mind, and ultimately found her ideal physician job.   

Are you searching for a new physician job? Applying with the insight and expertise of a physician recruiter can make all the difference to your job search. Reach out to a Jackson Physician Search Recruiter today to learn how we can help, or search physician jobs online now.

Physician Recruiter Finds Creative Solution for Gastroenterologist’s Job Search Troubles

When a Gastroenterologist felt trapped by a non-compete agreement, physician recruiter Tara Osseck found a creative win-win solution…

Beating Physician Burnout: 5 Things to Ask of Your Employer

Administrators want to help physicians deal with burnout, but research shows physicians and administrators often see the same situations differently. Now is the time to tell your employer exactly what you need to mitigate physician burnout…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Beating Physician Burnout: 5 Things to Ask of Your Employer


Physician burnout didn’t start with the COVID-19 pandemic, so perhaps it’s not surprising that even as we put the worst of the pandemic behind us, physician burnout shows no signs of subsiding. The latest findings in joint JPS-MGMA research point to a worsening of the burnout crisis and broader acknowledgment of it by healthcare leaders. Administrators want to mitigate the burnout felt by physicians, but according to the research, their attempts often go unnoticed by physicians and do little to solve the problem. What solutions are they trying? And what can you, the physician, ask of your employer that may decrease the levels of burnout at your organization? 

Physicians Report Increased Burnout, and Administrators Are More Aware of It

According to the JPS and MGMA whitepaper, Back from Burnout: Confronting the Post-Pandemic Physician Turnover Crisis, the percentage of physicians who say they are experiencing burnout rose four percentage points in the past year, from 61% in 2021 to 65% in 2022. Among those with burnout, 75% say their burnout has gotten worse in the past year. Administrators are increasingly aware of the problem. Their perceptions of physician burnout grew by five percentage points, from 68% in 2021 to 73% in 2022. 

Looking beyond the extent of burnout, the 2022 JPS-MGMA research also explores what physicians and administrators perceive to be the source of burnout. Is it the stressful nature of a physician’s job that causes burnout or the specific ways their employer runs the healthcare organization? Unsurprisingly, physicians were more likely than administrators to point to the employer as the source of burnout, as opposed to the nature of physicians’ work. Just 19% of administrators say the employer mostly causes burnout (over the nature of the job) while 40% of physicians point to the employer as the primary cause.

5 Things to Ask of Your Employer to Mitigate Burnout

If physicians believe their employers cause burnout, this implies there are specific things employers can do (or stop doing) to mitigate the problem. While these things may seem obvious to you, ongoing JPS research shows there is often a significant disconnect between how administrators and physicians see the same situation. It’s time to be proactive by having an honest conversation with your manager about the issues that you feel contribute to burnout and the potential ways your manager could solve or improve those issues. Each organization is different of course, but if the research is any indicator, you may want to start with the following topics: 

  1. Two-way communication with management — In the JPS-MGMA study, physicians report two-way communication with management as the top factor contributing to their work satisfaction — above compensation. This was also true for the previous year. This suggests management could make a significant impact with physicians simply by opening the lines of communication and providing more transparency. Give your manager specific examples of ways they might do this such as, attending regular one-on-one meetings with physicians, holding roundtables or town hall style meetings, and prioritizing transparency. It can also be enlightening to schedule time for administrators to shadow physicians and physicians to shadow management. Each party will gain insight into the daily challenges the other faces and can discuss those issues from a place of empathy. 
  2. Workload equity — Whether in the home, the office, or the hospital, no one wants to feel like they are doing more work than everyone else. Physicians ranked workload equity third on the list of factors contributing to job satisfaction. This was up from No. 5 in 2021. Nationwide staffing shortages may be contributing to the unfair workloads put on physicians. If this is the case, ask your employer to prioritize staffing and find help by any means necessary including using locums, leveraging travel nurses, and hiring medical scribes and other administrative support. Of course, workload equity can also feel unfair if more tenured physicians aren’t carrying any of the call burden. Research how other organizations manage these issues, and if you find your organization is out-of-step, make suggestions to improve.
  3. Autonomy — According to the JPS-MGMA whitepaper, physician burnout can be reframed as “moral injury,” which refers to the challenge of knowing what care patients need but being unable to provide it due to constraints beyond a doctor’s control. If you feel this describes physicians at your organization, let management know that physicians need more autonomy to make decisions for their patients. This request is, of course, anything but simple, and the bigger the organization, the more complex the issue becomes. This won’t be solved overnight, but it is worth starting a conversation with management about what can be done in this area. 
  4. Reduced administrative burden – Your manager likely won’t be surprised to learn that administrative duties are weighing on physicians, but if you can suggest tangible solutions that might make a positive impact, they may be more willing to listen and take steps to test your solution. You may propose hiring a medical scribe or training someone internally to do this job. If the EMR is causing more problems than it solves, request additional training or software add-ons that may increase efficiency of use. You may want to request a regular work-from-home “admin day” (or half-day) that allows physicians to get caught up on those duties.  
  5. Additional time off – Work-life balance is increasingly important to physicians of all ages, and time away from work is key to achieving a healthy balance. If staffing shortages make time off seem impossible, stress the importance to your manager and ask for locums coverage to allow physicians to take time off to relax and recover.  

It’s unlikely your supervisor will be totally surprised by any of these concerns, but by bringing them into the open and proposing viable solutions, you can begin the conversation and more effectively work towards resolving, or at least, improving the most pressing issues. Don’t be held back by the idea that burnout is an individual problem for each physician to solve for him or herself. Organizations are motivated to reduce physician burnout as it drives up turnover which costs the industry, by some estimates, up to a billion dollars each year. So, don’t hesitate to start the conversation with your manager and proactively ask for what you need to improve burnout for you and your peers. 

If you find that your organization is not willing or able to improve circumstances for physicians, it may be time to look for a new physician job. Reach out to a Jackson Physician Search Recruiter today or search physician jobs online now.

Exploring All Options: Recruiter Helps Physician With Second Thoughts Find a Better Fit

When an orthopedic surgeon began to doubt his current job offer, physician recruiter Dan Morton counseled him to explore an alternative and make an informed decision. It turned out to be great advice…

How Physicians Can Evaluate Workplace Culture During Their Interview

As a candidate, it can be difficult to discern if the way your interviewer describes the culture is a true representation of how other physicians experience it. Find out how to evaluate an employer’s culture during the physician interview…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

6 Things to Know About Medical School Loan Repayment and Your Physician Job Search


According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the average medical student graduates with nearly $200,000 of student loan debt. This is the median figure, meaning half graduate with even more. For many residents, typically earning less than $60k per year, this figure weighs on them. They may struggle to meet minimum payments as they dream of a day when they can pay off their loans with one big signing bonus… but how often does this dream come true? And what do residents need to know right now to increase their chances of paying off medical school debt quickly?

Every year, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search talks to thousands of residents in every specialty, and for 95% of them, paying off medical school loans is a concern. As a physician recruitment firm focused on finding the best fit between employers and physicians, we encourage our employers to offer competitive signing bonuses that may be used for loan repayment and, when possible, participate in programs that qualify their physicians to receive federal or state loan support. We know this will help our clients attract physicians and help physicians achieve their goals of paying off debt quickly. 

While a good physician recruiter can certainly help you prioritize loan repayment in your job search, there are several things to consider well before you begin an active physician job search (and the earlier, the better!): 

1. The Complete Compensation Package

While you may be scanning physician job boards for ads with “loan repayment support” or “signing bonus” in the headline, it’s important to remember that the complete physician compensation package is what will ultimately allow you to repay your loans. Signing incentives are helpful, but assuming you maintain reasonable living expenses, part of your base salary and production-based bonuses can also be put toward your loans. Don’t let an impressive signing bonus distract you from a less than competitive salary or limited earning potential.

2. Signing Bonuses

Many organizations offer recruitment bonuses to attract candidates. Most of the time, these bonuses, funded by the hospital or practice, can be used as the candidate sees fit–for housing assistance, loan repayment, investment, or simply to squirrel away under the mattress. The money may be paid upfront and then forgiven incrementally over a period of three to five years of employment, or paid in installments over the first several years of work. 

3. Loan Repayment Incentives

Like signing bonuses, loan repayment incentives are funded by the hospital or practice. In this scenario, the bonus is designated for loan repayment only. The organization may request your loan documents and make payments for you or reimburse you for payments made. This does not prevent you from making additional payments toward the total. 

4. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The options mentioned above are all funded by the employer, but there are also government programs to consider. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program requires applicants to maintain employment with a government or other non-profit organization for ten years while making 120 income-driven monthly payments toward paying down the loan. After ten years of service, the rest of the loan will be forgiven. 

Since most healthcare organizations are classified as not-for-profit, this can be an attractive option for new residents who will spend three to seven years in training, earning a relatively low income on which their loan payments will be based. Once training is complete, they must find employment with a non-profit until the 10-year obligation is fulfilled.   

5. National Health Service Corps (NHSC)

The National Health Service Corps provides another government-funded loan forgiveness option for physicians working in primary care, dental, and mental or behavioral health. This program, which has three different options, requires the applicant to work at an NHSC-active site for two or three years, depending on the specific program, and offers $50,000-$100,000 in loan forgiveness. 

NHSC-active employers may be located in urban, rural, or tribal communities with limited access to care. These facilities may include Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), Rural Health Clinics (RHC), Indian Health Services Clinics and Hospitals, as well as private clinics and other community health centers. Not all employers that meet these requirements have submitted the paperwork to gain NHSC-active status, so if considering an offer and planning to utilize this program, make sure you know if the employer has or is willing to apply for the status.   

6. State Loan Forgiveness Programs

Most states also offer loan forgiveness programs to incentivize physicians to work in areas of high need, whether rural or urban. Investigate available programs in the regions you are considering to identify programs that meet your needs. The state program may not be available in tandem with the federal one, but you may be able to move from one to the other once your original service commitment is complete. 

Medical school debt is often heavy on the minds of residents and early-career physicians. However, multiple government-funded programs and employer-paid incentives are available to help pay off loans quickly. If loan repayment is a high priority for you, make sure to start your search early and identify the programs that best meet your needs. Applications have strict deadlines, and once accepted, you may be required to document your employment and income status regularly. So start your physician job search early, stay organized, and let your physician recruiter know that loan repayment is a priority. You will soon have your medical school debt behind you and a lucrative physician career ahead.

If you are starting a physician job search, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search is ready to answer any questions you have about the process, including potential loan repayment incentives. Contact a recruiter today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook to get started.  

Exploring All Options: Recruiter Helps Physician With Second Thoughts Find a Better Fit

When an orthopedic surgeon began to doubt his current job offer, physician recruiter Dan Morton counselled him to explore an alternative and make an informed decision. It turned out to be great advice…

How Physicians Can Evaluate Workplace Culture During Their Interview

As a candidate, it can be difficult to discern if the way your interviewer describes the culture is a true representation of how other physicians experience it. Find out how to evaluate an employer’s culture during the physician interview…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Set Yourself Up for Success by Making the Most of Your Physician Onboarding Experience


Dr. H takes a deep breath and slowly exhales before entering the building. She is excited to begin this next step of her career, though she wishes she could fast forward the next few weeks to the point where she knows the ins and outs of the organization. Throughout her career, she’s had several first days on the job. So she’s all too aware of how much she has to learn about her new employer’s policies, culture, politics–the things they don’t exactly cover in the interview process. What she doesn’t know is how much help she will have getting acclimated…she hopes for the best and swings open the door.

Chances are, you have been in Dr. H’s shoes at some point. With the interview process and contract negotiations behind you, the moment has finally come for you to start doing the job you’ve been hired to do, and yet…there is so much to learn before you can actually do it. No matter how many great questions you asked during the physician interview, the details of your new day-to-day role are still largely TBD. Ideally, your employer will provide a personalized, physician onboarding program that will outline exactly what you need to know and set a timeline for learning it, but the reality is, most organizations are not quite so proactive. For this reason, it’s essential that you have a plan for setting yourself up for success in your new physician job.

According to a recent physician retention survey from Jackson Physician Search, one in three physicians do not receive any formal orientation upon starting a new job. This means a third of organizations are overlooking this important part of the new hire process. In fact, only 29% of physician respondents said their employer provided an individualized orientation program. The other third received a general orientation.

Whether your employer offers a robust, personalized program or a generic, online orientation video, you’ll want to be an active participant in your own physician onboarding to ensure you have the information and support you need to be successful in your new role. Focus on the following three components to help you get your bearings.

Physician Onboarding Step #1: Gather Information

Even before your first day, be proactive in gathering as much information about your new physician job as you can. Ask your new manager or HR contact to provide details such as what time to arrive, where to park, which door to enter, and who to ask for upon arriving. Request that they send you benefit information and enrollment forms to review and complete at home. If applicable, ask them to send you a map of the campus or an office directory. If you aren’t great with names, go to the website’s “About Us” or similar section to familiarize yourself with names and faces.

Once you arrive, be ready to go with the flow–whether that means an all-day orientation session with HR or a casual facility tour given by the receptionist. As mentioned, many organizations do not have a formal onboarding process, so hope for the best but be prepared to take your onboarding into your own hands and seek out the information you need to get started. If one is not provided for you, you may want to reference this physician orientation checklist from the Sullivan Group or this onboarding checklist from The Rheumatologist for a useful starting point to focus your inquiries.

Assuming the basics are covered– your ID badge, facility tour, benefits enrollment, and laptop deployment–it’s time to prepare a list of questions and identify where to find the answers you need.

Physician Onboarding Step #2: Connect with Colleagues

The old saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” may not have been said about onboarding, but it certainly applies. It’s impossible to learn everything you need to know the first day or week, but you should use those first days to connect with people who can help you navigate the weeks and months ahead.

The most successful onboarding programs assign new physicians to an ambassador or peer mentor who will serve as the first point of contact in those early days and introduce them to key people in other departments. According to an HCI survey cited by Sapling HR, 88% of organizations that assign an ambassador or buddy during onboarding say it’s an effective way to speed up new hire productivity. If you are not assigned a peer mentor, seek out a colleague who is willing to serve in a similar role.

Connecting with colleagues will not only set you up for success, but it will also increase your chances of finding happiness on the job. Research cited by the National Business Research Institute states that job satisfaction increases 50% when an employee has a close relationship on the job. So, ask colleagues to join you for coffee or lunch and get to know them outside of the office.

Physician Onboarding Step #3: Create a Plan

An often overlooked aspect of the physician onboarding process is creating a plan for success. Review your to-dos from the physician onboarding checklist and assign a time for completing each item. Indicate what you will achieve in the first week, first month, two months, etc. The schedule should set a manageable pace for absorbing information. Discuss the timeframe with your supervisor to ensure it aligns with his or her expectations.

So, what is the right pace? Studies suggest the longer the better. In a study cited by the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment, it appears that healthcare organizations with a longer onboarding process have lower turnover during the critical early years of practice. Keep this in mind as you map out your plan and set goals for yourself.


A personalized physician onboarding program is one of the best assets an employer can provide to ensure the success of newly hired physicians. Unfortunately, only one in three employers currently provide this, so physicians must be proactive in the process by 1) seeking out the information they need, 2) making connections with colleagues who can help them navigate the new terrain, and 3) creating a plan to ramp up on a manageable timeline. By being proactive in their own onboarding, physicians will quickly reach productivity and set themselves up for future success.

If you are seeking your first physician job or looking for a new opportunity, the team at Jackson Physician Search can help you identify opportunities that fit your needs. Search physician jobs now and contact a recruiter today.

Exploring All Options: Recruiter Helps Physician With Second Thoughts Find a Better Fit

When an orthopedic surgeon began to doubt his current job offer, physician recruiter Dan Morton counselled him to explore an alternative and make an informed decision. It turned out to be great advice…

How Physicians Can Evaluate Workplace Culture During Their Interview

As a candidate, it can be difficult to discern if the way your interviewer describes the culture is a true representation of how other physicians experience it. Find out how to evaluate an employer’s culture during the physician interview…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Exploring All Options: Recruiter Helps Physician With Second Thoughts Find a Better Fit


The physician job search can be intense — especially for the most in-demand specialties. Employers roll out the red carpet for candidates and bend over backward to entice them into taking the job. And while, of course, it feels good to be wanted — especially when that desire is expressed as dollar signs — the full-court press can make it difficult for physicians to step back and objectively evaluate if the opportunity is right for them. Sometimes, they find themselves accepting an offer even when their instincts are telling them to slow down. 

This may or may not have been the case for Dr. W, an orthopedic surgeon practicing in the upper Midwest, when he verbally accepted an offer from a large, regional employer. However, as his start date neared and some administration changes were announced, he began to question if he was making the right decision. He knew it was time to move on from his current employer — he wanted a job with more growth opportunities — yet something told him this might not be the best decision.

Help Wanted: Orthopedic Surgeon for Program Growth

Meanwhile, JPS Senior Search Consultant Consultant Dan Morton was asked by an existing client to start a search for an orthopedic surgeon. The Wisconsin hospital had two orthopedic surgeons on staff, but the referral base was increasing and demand was growing consistently. The client was confident they would eventually need a third surgeon, but the urgency was relatively low. Dan decided to gauge the market with a few small, regional campaigns. He crafted the physician job ad and sent email and text campaigns to physicians in the database who already lived in the upper Midwest.

Shortly after the campaigns went out, Dr. W saw the ad and reached out to Dan. Fully transparent about his situation, Dr. W explained that while he had verbally accepted an offer from another organization, he was having second thoughts. He wasn’t sure he would apply for the job, but he wanted to learn more. He knew of the group and had met the surgeons, so he was curious about the opportunity.  

Dan was thrilled to have a potentially interested candidate so quickly, but he knew he needed to tread lightly. He was careful not to pressure Dr. W and aimed to serve as a true consultant. 

“He was clearly questioning his current offer,” Dan says. “The only way for him to feel certain would be to explore other options, so I encouraged him to have a conversation with my client.”  

Discreetly Exploring Other Options 

Dr. W did not want to burn any bridges, but he allowed Dan to speak to the client on his behalf and share the details of his current offer. This transparency ensured that if the client was interested in moving forward with Dr. W, they would be able to make a competitive offer. 

Dan scheduled an interview with the Director of the clinic, who instantly clicked with Dr. W. Arranging meetings with the two surgeons proved more difficult, but eventually, they met with Dr. W individually and then attended a dinner for the three of them. Dr. W was able to get a better sense of the workplace culture and see how their personalities would mix. 

The chemistry was apparent to all three. The two existing surgeons knew right away that Dr. W would fit in seamlessly, and Dr. W finally felt the excitement that was lacking with the other opportunity. With this group, he would be integral to the program’s expansion, and while both options came with higher physician compensation, he knew this type of growth was what he had been seeking all along. 

Embracing the Right Fit

The client extended an offer the next day, and Dr. W was eager to accept. While he was sorry to disappoint the other employer, he knew he was choosing the best option and was grateful to Dan for encouraging him to explore an alternative. Dan’s client was, of course, thrilled to find a surgeon who fit so well with the existing team.

The physician job search can be a stressful process, however, a good physician recruiter can help you be aware of red flags and stay focused on your priorities. If you are embarking on a physician job search, reach out to the team at Jackson Physician Search today to learn how we can support your efforts. Get started by browsing the physician job board or downloading the Physician Job Search Playbook

Physician Recruiter Finds Creative Solution for Gastroenterologist’s Job Search Troubles

When a Gastroenterologist felt trapped by a non-compete agreement, physician recruiter Tara Osseck found a creative win-wn solution…

How Physicians Can Evaluate Workplace Culture During the Interview

The physician interview is your best opportunity to investigate an employer’s values and culture. Find out how to evaluate an employer’s culture during the physician interview…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

How Physicians Can Evaluate Workplace Culture During Their Interview


With physician turnover potentially on the rise and a concerning number of physicians reporting burnout, there is increasing attention on the impact of workplace culture on physician retention. The good news is, employers are aware of the importance of a positive organizational culture. However, as a candidate, it can be difficult to discern if the way your interviewer describes the culture is a true representation of how other physicians experience it. 

Workplace culture is often a reflection of the organization’s values, or at least how well those values are embodied by its staff. This is one of many reasons most recruiters stress the importance of finding an employer whose values align with yours. They know what happens when a physician who wants autonomy accepts an offer from an employer known for micromanaging. When values are misaligned, no one involved in the relationship will be happy. 

The physician interview is your best opportunity to investigate an employer’s values and culture. Keep reading to find out how to evaluate an employer’s culture during the physician interview. 

Conduct Pre-Interview Research

Before you agree to an on-site physician interview, research the employer online and try to determine if it is a place you would like to work. Review the mission statement and values professed on the website. Look for news stories about the organization to see how it is viewed in the community. Follow the employer’s social channels to learn more. What kind of stories are shared about patients, staff, and leadership? Do you see photos of team-building activities or employer-sponsored service projects? What charitable causes does the organization champion? 

Keep in mind, an online presence is carefully curated, so it may not tell the whole story. Look for clues about what the organization values. It will be up to you to discern if those values are acted out in the organization’s culture. Your chance to do this is during the on-site physician interview.

Ask Questions to Reveal Culture 

In preparation for the on-site interview, think about what questions you should ask each of your interviewers. You know you want to learn about culture, however, asking your interviewer to tell you about the organizational culture will likely get you a regurgitation of what is posted on the website. Instead, ask questions designed to reveal specific aspects of the culture that matter most to you. If physician autonomy is especially important, ask leaders to provide examples of ways physicians are included in decision-making. Ask potential physician peers if they are free to order tests and procedures as they see fit. Request they share other examples of their clinical autonomy.  

If work-life balance and mental health are a priority, ask leaders about programs in place to prevent physician burnout. Ask about the average physician tenure, and if it seems low, find out why. When talking with physicians, ask if they feel they have adequate support and share examples of such. Does the department or clinic have enough nurses on staff? Is there a scribe on staff? How is the call schedule determined? Is management approachable when additional support is needed? When provided with answers, listen not just to the speaker’s words, but also notice how comfortable he or she seems when talking about the topic. 

Observe Workplace Culture

Of course, words are one thing, but actions tell a more complete story. Use your time on site to observe as much as you can about the culture. Do people seem generally positive and at ease? How do physicians interact with leadership and each other? How do they treat support staff? When discussing the patient community, is everyone respectful? 

Spend as much time as you can with people working at all levels of the organization and trust your instincts. If you see any red flags, keep digging until you get to the truth. 

Trust Your Recruiter

No one knows more about an organization’s reputation than a recruiter. They know from the candidates they’ve placed whether or not the organization follows through on the promises they make during the interview process. While it’s true that your recruiter is paid by the healthcare organization, it is in everyone’s best interests to find a candidate who is both a clinical and cultural fit for the client as both are strong predictors of long-term physician retention.

Leverage Multiple Channels to Learn About Culture 

Evaluating a potential employer’s workplace culture is a critical part of the physician job search process. Be sure to use every channel available to you to learn as much as you can. Conduct online research prior to attending the interview. Prepare thoughtful questions designed to reveal the aspects of culture that are most important to you. Tailor each question to the specific person you are meeting with, depending on their position within the organization. Observe the behavior of those you meet, as well as the surrounding staff and even the patients. If you pick up on any tension, do your best to find out more. After you have seen and heard as much as possible, ask your recruiter to share what he or she knows about the culture of the organization. The recruiter will want to ensure alignment between you and the client, so he or she should be honest and transparent. Use this information, along with your observations and instincts, and you are sure to make the right decision.

If you are searching for a physician job, it is extremely helpful to work with a recruiter who can offer insight into the cultures of organizations that interest you. At Jackson Physician Search, we have offices in four different regions, and our regional recruitment teams would be more than happy to share what they know about the employers in the area. Contact us today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook for everything you need to know to get started.


3 Things You Need to Start Your Physician Job Search

When “physician job search” is on your to-do list, it can be hard to know where to begin. So, in an effort to make it more manageable, we’re assigning three tasks to get you started…

rural physician


7 Reasons You Might Be Happier in a Rural Physician Job

For those seeking a better work-life balance, more time with patients, lower cost of living, and potentially higher compensation, one option is increasingly attractive–rural physician jobs…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

3 Reasons To Expand Your Physician Job Search


As Dr. L enters his final year of training as a sports medicine fellow, he is excited to begin his physician job search in Chicago. He plans to move back to the neighborhood where he grew up, and he already has his eye on a physician-owned practice that works with a few of the area’s sports teams. Of course, he will consider other opportunities in Chicago, but he keeps reading about the physician shortage, so he assumes he will have multiple offers from which to choose. 

Are Dr. L’s physician job search expectations realistic? He is certainly right about the physician shortage. The latest data from AAMC projects the nation will experience a shortage of up to 48,000 primary care physicians and an additional 77,100 non-primary care specialists by the year 2034. So, in light of this news, physicians should feel confident in their ability to find a job…as long as they keep an open mind about how and where they practice. 

The demand for physicians varies greatly by specialty and location. For Dr. L, the need for physicians trained in sports medicine in Chicago will not be as high as the need for primary care physicians–and the need in Chicago may not be as great as the need in the upper Midwest. Does this mean he should give up on his dream of working with athletes and building a sports medicine practice in the Windy City? Not necessarily–but there are some worthwhile reasons he should remain open to other locations and types of physician jobs. 

If you are like Dr. L and have a very specific idea of how and where your physician career should progress, we propose the following three reasons to consider broadening your physician job search parameters.

1. Higher Physician Compensation 

With the cost of living generally higher in major metros, one might assume physician compensation would also be higher. However, healthcare organizations in urban areas have far more physician applicants than those in less populated regions. So, employers in bigger cities may not offer as many incentives to attract quality physicians. Even the salary guarantee may be on the lower end. In an article for the NEJM Career Center, JPS President Tony Stadjahar reports an average pay difference of 5%-10% more at rural organizations. However, considering the lower cost of living in rural areas, the impact may be far more than the percentage indicates.   

Okay, so physicians seeking jobs in urban areas may not see as many incentives as those searching in rural areas, but when building a practice, the earning potential is likely much bigger in a more populated area, right? Not necessarily. The higher population does not equate to a higher volume of patients due to the saturation of the market.

“For most physicians, location is the biggest driver of their job search,” says Tara Osseck, VIce President of Recruiting for Jackson Physician Search’s Midwest Division. “They are so focused on a specific city, but they’ll often find the market is saturated, so their earning potential is not what they hoped.”

Bigger cities have a higher volume of physicians of every specialty, so patients have more options. For this reason, it may actually be harder to build a solid patient base and earn a competitive income in an urban area.  

Takeaway: If compensation is a top priority, consider expanding your search outside of major metro areas.  

2. Less Competition 

The physician shortage is a well-documented threat to our nation’s healthcare infrastructure, and yet, it may not feel like there is a shortage when competing for jobs in a major metro area. Many physicians focus their job search on one city and find themselves competing with other physicians who have their minds made up about the same location. These physicians will find significantly less competition if they broaden their geographical search parameters. 

But location isn’t the only area to expand. Physicians who are set on a certain scope or type of practice will run into more competition than those who are flexible about the types of patients they see. For example, Dr. L is completing a fellowship in sports medicine, so of course he wants to limit his scope of practice to this field. But the demand for sports medicine physicians is far less than the need for physicians who are willing to see a wider variety of patients. 

“The biggest need right now is for physicians who can be flexible and provide a wide scope of practice,” says Director of Recruiting, Katie Moeller. “Of course it’s okay to share your preferences for the types of patients you hope to see, but a willingness to take cases outside of your sub-specialization will make you a more attractive candidate.” 

If Dr. L plans to only pursue sports medicine jobs, the opportunities will be few and the competition will be high. On the other hand, if he agrees to treat cases that were aligned with his residency training too, he will find more physician job openings and far less competition.

Takeaway: If your physician job search is stalling, it may be due to high competition for the jobs to which you are applying. Consider broadening your job search parameters to include more opportunities that may be less competitive. 

3. More Rewarding

While physician compensation is extremely important, most physicians also enjoy the personal rewards that come with improving the lives of patients. The feeling of goodwill that comes with acts of service may be compounded in physicians working in medically underserved areas. While these could be urban or rural, it’s worth considering the benefits of practicing rural medicine when you think about expanding your physician job search outside of urban areas. 

In a joint study from and Jackson Physician Search on Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing, rural physicians reported the most common reason for choosing to practice in a rural area was improved work-life balance, followed closely by higher compensation, and a more affordable cost of living. So in addition to the satisfaction of treating the underserved, a healthy work-life balance and a reduced chance of burnout are rewards that few physicians in urban areas can claim. 

The Takeaway: Keep an open mind about the various directions your physician career could take. You may find greater happiness in unexpected places. 

While it’s normal to have a vision of the type of practice you want to build and where you want to live, it’s important to keep an open mind and investigate opportunities outside of your current vision. Work with a trusted physician recruiter who will take the time to get to know you and understand what it is you want most in a job. If this recruiter presents you with an opportunity they think will be a good fit, trust their instincts and give it the consideration it deserves.

If you are a physician preparing for a job search, talk to the healthcare industry professionals at Jackson Physician Search. Our recruiters have the experience and nationwide network to help you find the opportunity that best fits your personal and professional needs. Contact us today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook for everything you need to know to get started.


5 physician job search mistakes

[Infographic Guide] 5  Physician Job Search Mistakes to Avoid

Physicians make several common mistakes in the job search that can keep them from getting the job they want, or more likely, cause them to take jobs that aren’t a good fit. This infographic shows you how to avoid these common physician job search mistakes…

3 Things You Need to Start Your Physician Job Search

Whether you are working crazy resident hours or just trying to keep up with your current physician job, it can be hard to find time to make your job search a priority. In an effort to make it more manageable, we’re assigning three tasks to get you started.

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Physician Recruiter Finds Creative Solution for Gastroenterologist’s Job Search Troubles


Dr. E felt trapped. The gastroenterology job he once loved had become a burden in recent years. Leadership changes and poor management of the pandemic changed the way he viewed the organization, and he no longer felt his values aligned. 

Dr. E’s feelings are not unusual. In the Jackson Physician Search whitepaper on the impact of COVID-19 on the physician job market, multiple recruiters reported hearing from physicians in major metros who wanted out of their current jobs, often citing burnout and disappointment with their employer’s handling of the pandemic. Many were ready to leave their employers for a fresh start in a new city.  

This was not the case for Dr. E. Relocation wasn’t an option for his family, and yet, his non-compete agreement made it impossible for him to take a new gastroenterology job in the Midwestern city he called home. He needed a change but was trapped by his circumstances. He didn’t see a way out.

A Challenging Gastroenterology Job Search

Without much hope, Dr. E kept an eye on the physician job boards. He expanded his job search to include cities within 100 miles. He felt his only option would be to extend his commute. When he saw an appealing ad for a job in a nearby city, he requested more details from Katie Moeller, Director of Recruiting at Jackson Physician Search. The job itself was a good fit, but he feared the long commute would strip away any hope of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This was true for each of the out-of-town jobs he pursued. 

Dr. E had seen another Jackson Physician Search ad for a job in town. He was interested but hesitant to inquire because of his non-compete. He mentioned the job–as well as his concern about the non-compete–to Katie, who was happy to make an introduction to the recruiter assigned to the hiring organization, Tara Osseck, Regional VP of Recruitment for Jackson Physician Search’s Midwestern Division. Dr. E’s hopes were low, but Katie felt he should at least have a conversation with Tara about the possibility.

A Creative Solution for a Long-term Client

Tara had a long history with the client, and she was thrilled to have an interested, qualified candidate. She asked him questions to uncover why he was unhappy with his current employer and what specifically he was looking for in his next physician job. Dr. E explained his disappointment with the changes the organization had experienced. He was production driven and motivated to work hard, but he wanted to be a part of a more collaborative group. Hearing all of this, Tara felt certain her client would be a good fit.

Of course, the non-compete was problematic, but Tara knew the client well and wondered if Dr. E could be based out of one of its satellite offices that was outside the non-compete radius. She felt it was worth presenting the candidate to the client and seeing if they would be open to the idea. 

The client was very receptive to her creative solution and eager to meet Dr. E. They scheduled an interview within a week of Tara presenting him. Sure enough, Dr. E impressed everyone he met, and he was drawn to the unique culture of the organization. He knew the opportunity would provide the change he had been seeking.

Due to the complicated circumstances, it would take several months to iron out the logistics of the contract. Tara stayed involved throughout the process to streamline communication and keep negotiations moving. When the contract was finally signed, all parties were extremely grateful.  

Secrets of Physician Job Search Success

Dr. E was happy to find a job that aligned with his values right in his hometown, and Tara’s client was thrilled to fill the long-vacant position with an experienced Gastroenterologist with strong ties to the community. Tara attributes the initial success to the culture of teamwork at Jackson Physician Search. Her colleague Katie Moeller had Dr. E’s best interests in mind when she suggested he have a conversation with Tara. 

From there, it was Tara’s in-depth knowledge of the client’s needs, methods, and locations that allowed her to think outside the box and find a way to work around Dr. E’s non-compete.   

“Had Dr. E applied for this job through a different recruiter, the non-compete would have caused them to turn him away without a second thought,” says Tara. “However, because of my long-standing relationship with the client, I was aware of the satellite office and knew the client would likely be open to using it as a creative solution.”  

When all was said and done, Tara’s outside-the-box idea not only solved Dr. E’s non-compete problem, it also solved her client’s physician vacancy problem.

“It was really satisfying to bring this search to a close,” Tara says. “Especially so, because I just know Dr. E is going to knock it out of the park and build a phenomenal practice with my client.”   

If you want to work with a physician recruiter that will think outside of the box and keep your best interests in mind, the team at Jackson Physician Search would love to get to know you and find out how we can help. Contact a physician recruiter today to learn more or search physician jobs now.

California Dreaming: Physician Recruiter Helps Married Physician Couple Find Their Dream Jobs

Finding one physician’s “dream job” is difficult, and finding a second in the same place is almost impossible. However, this is exactly what physician recruiter Becky Casias did for one grateful couple.

3 Challenges Female Physicians Face–and How to Overcome Them

Women in medicine face several unique challenges, and perhaps as a result, they are more likely to cut their hours or leave their jobs. Female physicians must be proactive in overcoming these challenges if they hope to enjoy lasting, fulfilling medical careers…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.