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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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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Dr. T shook the hospital administrator’s hand at the end of the interview. It went well, she thought. She spoke eloquently, gave thorough answers, and asked good questions too. However, something felt off

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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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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.

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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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Are you ready to retire from your career as a physician, or is it on the horizon? Before you hang up your white coat for good, there are some important considerations that deserve attention…

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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.

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Physician Job Search Playbook

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Welcome to your physician job search. Whether this is your first job search or one of several during your career, the Physician Job Search Playbook offers a comprehensive, structured approach to ensure your next position meets your most important professional and personal priorities. Enclosed is everything you need to launch a successful search, including:

  • Preparing for Physician Job Search Success
  • Elements of a Great CV and Cover Letter
  • Working with Physician Recruiters
  • How to Conduct a Smart Job Search
  • Interviewing Best Practices
  • Maximizing the On-site Interview and Community Tour
  • Navigating the Job Offer
  • Conducting Your Own Due Diligence
  • Physician Contract Negotiations
  • Compensation Considerations

 

Jackson-Physician-Search-2021-job-search-playbook

 

Try Our Interactive Physician Salary Calculator

Today’s physician compensation models are like the healthcare industry: highly dynamic and increasingly complicated. Many doctors find it challenging to assess how the compensation package will align with their personal and professional priorities. Try our salary calculator to:

  • Easily access customized physician compensation data
  • Drill down by specialty, state, and type of location
  • Get instant results and have your report emailed to you

3 Ways JPS Recruiters Simplify Your Job Search

  • Nationwide Reach. We open doors to opportunities across town or across the country.
  • Insider Access. We have established relationships with administrators and in-house recruiters. We even know about job opportunities before they’ve been made public.
  • Save Time. We review your CV, prep you for interviews, and guide you through contract negotiation.

Parting Words of Wisdom from the Expert Recruiters at Jackson Physician Search:

  • Do your homework
  • Trust your heart
  • Include your family
  • Be a smart negotiator
  • All relationships take work
  • Every location has positives and negatives

The team of experienced physician recruiters at Jackson Physician Search wishes you the best on your physician job search journey and will be there with you every step of the way. If you’re ready to pursue a new physician job opportunity, reach out to Jackson Physician Search.

 

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

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Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

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

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

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

1. Maintain a Focus on Learning and Growth

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

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

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

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

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

3. Earn the Trust of Your Patients

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

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

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

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

4. Build Strong Relationships With Your Colleagues

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

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

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

5. Make the Most of Your Physician Orientation

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

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

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

6. Practice Self-care

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

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

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

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

7. Seek Out a Mentor or Professional Coach

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

As we continue to recover, we asked:

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

Physician Recruitment Continues to be as Dynamic as Ever

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

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

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

Six Takeaways

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

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

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

About Jackson Physician Search

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

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Physician Compensation: Ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

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

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

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

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

Structure

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

Incentives

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

Transparency

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

How Location Affects Physician Compensation

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

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

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

Reputable Physician Compensation Data Sources

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

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

Five Resources for Physician Salary Data

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

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