[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.

[White Paper] 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

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New Survey Sheds Light on Physician Retention, Physician Engagement, and Physician Burnout

The great challenge for healthcare administrators is to develop an effective physician retention program that not only reduces physician turnover, but also increases physician engagement, mitigates burnout, and contributes to a positive workplace culture…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

Six Physician Recruitment Metrics Every Organization Should Know

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

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

Always Track These Physician Recruitment Metrics

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

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

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

1. Time to Fill/Time to Hire

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

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

2. Physician Cost Per Hire

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

3. Physician Sourcing Statistics

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

4. Number of Interviews to Hire

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

5. Acceptance Rate Percentage

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

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

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

6. Physician Retention Rates

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

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

Next Steps

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

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

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

The Quantity of Quality Trap

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

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

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

Takeaways

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

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

The Financial Implications of Physician Vacancies

When faced with physician vacancies, there is often pressure to expedite the physician recruitment process. Unfortunately, a misguided sense of urgency can lead to costly mistakes. Instead, when faced with a physician vacancy…

[White Paper] 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

President of Jackson Physician Search, Tony Stajduhar, reviews the results of our recent Physician Interview Experience survey and provides a best-in-class recruitment and interview process that administrators and physician recruiters…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

The Financial Implications of Physician Vacancies

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

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

Applying Costs to Each Physician Vacancy

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

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

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

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

Lost Revenue

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

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

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

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

Continuity of Care and Patient Attrition

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

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

Physician Recruitment Costs

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

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

Hidden Costs

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

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

Recruiting for Cultural Fit

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

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

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

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

Key Takeaways

Data Points

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

Considerations

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

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

Physician Recruitment Cost and ROI

[White Paper] Physician Recruitment: The Cost to Hire and Return on Investment

President of Jackson Physician Search, Tony Stajduhar, gives insight into how vacancies and recruiting can quickly become costly. If you’re looking to reduce your cost to hire and optimize your return on investment when it comes to physician recruitment, this white paper is for you…

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

Jackson Physician Search and CommonWealth Purchasing Group Extend Partnership to Help FQHCs Overcome Physician Recruitment Challenges

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ATLANTAApril 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — To help Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), community-based health centers and other facilities overcome recruitment challenges amid the nation’s physician shortage, Jackson Physician Search, a firm specializing in the permanent recruitment of physicians, physician leaders and advanced practice providers throughout the U.S., and CommonWealth Purchasing Group (CPG), the leading group purchasing organization for community health centers, extended its partnership to provide recruitment solutions and consultative resources to CPG members.

Jackson Physician Search is a trusted organization with a 40+ year track record of success in physician recruitment that continues to pioneer innovative recruitment methodologies coupled with personalized service. As patient demand increases for the affordable and accessible services that FQHCs and other community-based centers provide, there has been a growing need for an effective and efficient recruitment solution.

Located in both urban and rural areas, community health centers have long struggled to recruit and retain primary care providers due to a rural maldistribution of talent, competitive compensation challenges and a host of other factors.

“We recognize that community health centers often have limited financial resources, which makes attracting top physicians and other providers especially challenging,” said Jackson Physician Search President Tony Stajduhar. “Our 100% digital sourcing strategy that we’ve perfected during the last decade accelerates the recruitment process by identifying candidates who are both interested in the opportunity and are a strong cultural fit.”

CPG’s array of carefully vetted relationships streamlines the vendor selection process and enables facilities to operate more efficiently. Under the recently extended partnership with Jackson Physician Search, members will continue to benefit from a robust, opted-in candidate database, targeted email and social media advertising, job exposure on dozens of nationwide and specialty job boards, and an all-inclusive pricing model with no additional out-of-pocket expenses, as well as a CPG member discount.

“Three years ago, we recognized the synergy between Jackson Physician Search’s commitment to a transparent process and fee structure and our dedication to creating discounted, high-quality resources for our network of cost-conscious FQHCs and other organizations,” added CPG Senior Vice President Richard Bryant. “Since then, our members have benefited from a partner who understands their unique recruitment needs and whose candidate acquisition process has proven to be superior. It was an easy decision to extend our partnership.”

To address an increasingly competitive market, Jackson Physician Search has also created resources to help organizations succeed in hiring and retaining providers. The firm provides research studies and white papers, recruitment calculators and educational webinars.

“I feel fortunate to continue to champion our relationship with CPG. With more Americans than ever depending on its members for their healthcare needs, it is rewarding to facilitate the recruitment of a wide variety of primary care providers, including physicians, advanced practice providers and dentists,” said Jackson Physician Search Regional Vice President Trevor Strauss. “Our team is honored to have gained the trust of CPG and community health centers nationwide.”

About CommonWealth Purchasing Group (CPG)
CommonWealth Purchasing Group is the leading group purchasing organization for community health centers and other community-based, non-profit organizations. Founded in 1998 by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, CPG has more than 725 members across all 50 states.

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. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

For More Information, Contact:
Kristen Myers
kmyers@jacksonphysiciansearch.com

Healthcare Business Today Features Tony Stajduhar Discussing Physician Disengagement

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Few career paths are more noble – more revered – than that of a physician. But the stress of COVID-19, poor engagement, and rising burnout are causing some to wonder why they ever signed up for this. Doctors are in crisis, and a new survey shows that they are prepared to make career decisions that could negatively disrupt our healthcare system.

We went into COVID-19 with a looming physician shortage, one that is even worse in rural areas where 20% of the U.S. population lives, but where only 11% of doctors practice. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) last projected the shortage to be up to 139,000 physicians by 2033, but it is anybody’s guess how much it will grow post-pandemic. Will we ever catch up? Short of major regulatory changes such as increasing residency slots, making medical school more affordable, and revamping licensing requirements, it will be tough at best.

From October through November 2020, Jackson Physician Search surveyed practicing physicians and healthcare administrators to get insight on some of the industry’s toughest challenges: physician retention, engagement, and burnout.

There is promising news. Many future doctors are in the works. The “Fauci effect” has spurred new interest in public health, and in medical school enrollment in particular.

Read the Entire Article on HealthcareBusinessToday.com

Need Help Recruiting Physicians, Physician Leaders, and Advanced Practice Providers? 

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. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

Ten Tips for Recruiting Medical Residents

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Medical residents often begin the physician job search process 12-18 months prior to completing their training, making spring prime-time recruiting season.

With the physician shortage forecasted between 54,100 and 139,000 by the year 2033, recruiting medical residents is the best hope for healthcare administrators to fill in any gaps in their medical staffing plan due to normal physician turnover, planned physician retirements, and population growth.

Competition for top medical residents is always steep, so it is important for administrators to recognize that today’s residents have different perspectives and expectations about their career than those from years past.

While residents are equally passionate about the practice of medicine and patient care, it can be hard to reach them on a personal and professional level if you are stuck in the recruitment methods of the past. Here are ten tips to help you successfully recruit medical residents:

1. Use Social Media

Maybe more than any other generation of medical residents, recent graduating classes are all about technology. They are digitally connected through social media, so if your organization doesn’t have an engaging online presence, you may not be able to reach them. Don’t discount the effectiveness of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Doximity.

2. Create a Positive and Welcoming Environment

As you are engaging residents, be sure to listen more than you speak. Ask questions to find out about their goals and interests. By learning about them, you are creating an honest, open rapport and fostering an environment of trust which can be a winning combination for you. They are already under the pressure of making an important career decision, and anything you do to keep the process on the lighter side could be appreciated.

3. Respect Their Time

Long hours are nothing new for medical residents. They are managing the delicate balance of learning and performing in a very challenging environment. Don’t just add to the bombardment of job notifications that they receive on a daily basis. Instead, use the information you have gathered about their interests to keep the outreach relevant to them. This will help you cut through the noise while showing you respect their time.

4. Money Isn’t Everything

It may seem counter-intuitive to think that a resident with almost $200,000 in student loan debt isn’t totally focused on money, but it is true. Now more than ever, new physicians value their time away from work. Salary will always be important, but schedules, benefits, and other factors play a role in attracting residents. Stay open to creative compensation packages to set your organization apart from the crowd.

5. Focus on Work/life Balance

Demonstrate how you want to help them achieve a healthy work/life balance. Your approach should embody your investment in creating a culture of physician wellness. Think about ways to offer flexible scheduling and manageable call schedules. Earn their trust by illustrating how their life away from work is important to the organization.

6. Give Them Data

If you have been listening to your candidates, you will know the information that is important to them. Be prepared with current, accurate data about the position, such as patient volumes, compensation structure, performance expectations, etc. The key is to present the information in a format they are comfortable with. For example, instead of rattling off volumes of data over the phone, provide highlights and follow up with a more detailed email for them to review when they have a moment.

7. Highlight Culture and Values

Physicians today, residents included, want to be associated with a healthcare organization aligned with their values. Make it a point to highlight community initiatives, corporate mission, and values, and how culture plays a role throughout the organization. It will help to establish a connection on personal and professional levels and lays the foundation for strong physician retention.

8. Be a Resource

Any time you are speaking with a resident, a part of you is still recruiting. However, it can be valuable to be seen as a trusted resource for these young professionals. Offering advice or career insights can establish rapport and trust. Even if they are ultimately interested in a different organization, you are laying the groundwork for future opportunities. Keep in mind how connected this generation is, leading them to send classmates or colleagues your way.

9. Win the On-site Interview

Up to this point, all of your interactions with a resident have been verbal or in writing. A well-planned on-site interview is your opportunity to demonstrate everything you have talked about until now. For example, showcase your organization’s culture and values by introducing colleagues who embody them. By meeting those individuals who share similar traits, they will feel a sense of connection. The on-site interview is also a time to demonstrate everything you have learned about the candidate by including things of interest to them. For example, schedule time for a visit to a local hiking trail or botanical garden.

10. Communicate Future Growth Opportunities

Early career physicians want to join an organization where they can grow. Telling them about the organization’s mentorship and leadership development programs allows them to envision their future career path. If a physician can see themself maturing within your organization, you have a strong chance of retaining them for the long term.

Every resident is going to have different drivers and motivations that contribute to their career decisions. The key to setting your organization apart from the crowd is to individualize the recruitment experience as much as possible. With the proliferation of social media, it doesn’t take an excessive amount of effort to learn about the candidates you are recruiting. Learn about them as individuals and you can form stronger connections and appeal to them in specifics. This approach is far more effective than utilizing a generic one-size-fits-all recruitment strategy.

Our more than 40 years of experience has allowed us the opportunity to recruit many residents and if you are interested in leveraging our physician recruitment expertise, contact us today.

[White Paper] 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

Mastering the on-site interview is the enduring challenge in physician recruitment. The first interview is a make or break moment for both the candidate and the hiring organization…

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

MGMA Poll Finds 72% of Practices Hiring Physicians: JPS President Tony Stajduhar Weighs In

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The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders, “Is your org planning to hire for new physician positions in 2021?”

  • 72% said yes.
  • 28% said no.

The poll was conducted March 9, 2021, with 1,063 applicable responses.

Among those who said “yes,” the most common physician specialties were:

  • Family medicine (31%)
  • OB/GYN (13%)
  • Orthopedics (11%)
  • Internal medicine (9%)
  • Pediatrics (8%).

Measuring the physician market

The market for physicians in 2021 was already defined by projected shortages in the coming years, as well as a string of unexpected retirements in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other reasons, as noted in the March 2 MGMA Stat poll.

With more than one in four healthcare leaders reporting an unexpected physician retirement, the potential for hiring seems much higher in 2021 than in recent memory. In an average year, approximately 6% to 7% of the physician workforce changes jobs or location, according to Jackson Physician Search.

Read the Entire Article on MGMA.com

Need Help Recruiting Physicians, Physician Leaders, and Advanced Practice Providers? 

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. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

Why Physicians Suffer Silently Through Mental Health Challenges

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Fearful of professional consequences, some physicians may delay or decide against seeking the help they need to maintain optimal mental health – and the consequences can be devastating.

The death of Dr. Lorna Breen, an ER doctor at a Manhattan hospital, made headlines in April of 2020. “She was a casualty [of COVID-19] just as much as anyone else who has died,” her father said in the days following her tragic suicide. Though Breen had no history of mental illness, the endless days of treating, and often losing, COVID patients took a toll.

Dr. Breen’s death brings to light an undeniable truth. Physicians and other healthcare workers are suffering as a result of the pandemic. Those treating COVID patients on the frontlines have been overworked and are emotionally exhausted, leading to dangerous levels of physician burnout and, in some cases, even depression.

While burnout and depression are often discussed together, the two are not inherently connected – a topic recently addressed by the AMA VP of Professional Satisfaction, Christine Sinksy, MD. In an interview with AMA News, she noted that burnout is a syndrome caused by external work circumstances, while depression is a medical condition that is caused by a variety of factors, both biological and external. She also notes that while a significant percentage of depressed physicians are also suffering from burnout, only a small percentage of those who are experiencing burnout are clinically depressed.

Regardless of the correlation between burnout and depression, both take a toll on the overall well-being of physicians. Healthcare administrators increasingly recognize the need to offer various forms of emotional support, and yet, data suggests physicians are hesitant to get professional help. Healthcare must overhaul the stigma associated with physicians seeking professional mental healthcare. Dr. Breen’s death reminds us that the consequences of physicians coping alone can be deadly.

A Stigma That Leads to Silence

Despite increasing concerns about physician well-being, a survey by Jackson Physician Search, documented in the White Paper: On the Verge of a Physician Turnover Epidemic, found just 21% of physicians report access to mental health programs through their employers. Another 13% said their employer provides a physician hotline to address feelings of burnout. While a hotline is useful, this should be just one part of a multi-faceted mental health program that encourages participation by physicians. These numbers suggest the current offering is not enough to address the massive need.

Download the Physician Retention Survey Results

Even if mental health programs become more of a standard, simply establishing a program will do very little if the culture of an organization diminishes the need for care. All too often, physicians fear they will be seen as weak if others knew they were seeking care. For programs to be effective, physicians must feel encouraged to seek help.

In an October 2020 survey of emergency physicians, fewer than half of respondents said they would feel comfortable seeking professional help for feelings of burnout (let alone depression), and 73% reported a stigma in their workplace associated with seeking professional help. In the same survey, 57% of emergency physicians said they would be concerned for their job if they were to seek professional mental healthcare. Other studies reflect similar professional concerns.

Are these concerns just an extension of the aforementioned “stigma”? Or are physicians truly at risk of losing their licenses – or facing other professional consequences – if they seek help for mental health issues?

The “Cost” of Seeking Mental Health Care

A recent article written for the American Association of Medical Colleges notes that, for decades, state licensing boards have asked invasive questions about a physician’s mental health history. Physicians are all too aware that answering “yes” might set off a process that could put one’s ability to practice medicine at risk. While the American Disabilities Act protects physicians with a history of mental illness to some degree, the question alone stands as a deterrent to professionals in a high-pressure job who would benefit from the emotional support of a professional.

While licensing boards vary by state, most ask physicians, upon applying for or renewing a license, to disclose psychiatric treatment. A 2016 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings reviewed licensure application and renewal forms in all 50 states to understand how medical licensure application questions impacted physicians’ willingness to seek mental healthcare. The study found 40% of physicians were reluctant to seek mental healthcare for fear of repercussions to their medical licensure. Only one-third of the states either did not ask about mental health issues or asked only about current impairment from mental health issues. The study found physicians living in states with questions related to mental health history were more likely to feel reluctant to seek treatment.

Of course, licensing concerns aren’t the only thing keeping physicians from seeking treatment. Many hospitals ask similar questions when physicians apply for credentialing. Psychiatric treatment may come up on applications for disability and malpractice insurance.

Evolving Views on Physician Mental Health

Fortunately, attitudes about physicians seeking treatment for mental health issues are evolving, albeit slowly. In 2018, the Federation of State Medical Boards issued updated recommendations regarding the scope of mental health questions on licensing applications and renewals. The recommendations extend to hospitals and healthcare organizations, suggesting they too revise, where necessary, the mental health questions asked in their credentialing processes.

As noted, however, the concerns felt by physicians run deep. Adjusting the questions on licensing and credentialing applications is just one part of the solution. For true change, there must be an overhaul of attitudes about physicians and mental healthcare. One organization fighting for such change is the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation.

After Dr. Breen’s suicide in April of 2020, her family founded the organization to reduce burnout and safeguard the well-being and job satisfaction of healthcare professionals. One way they are doing this is through proposed bi-partisan legislation addressing the mental health challenges of those working in healthcare. The Dr. Lorna Breen Healthcare Provider Protection Act establishes grants for training, education, and awareness of mental health issues in healthcare professionals. It would also establish studies to identify evidence-based methods for reducing suicide and promoting mental health. The legislation is endorsed by a long list of healthcare associations including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

Establishing an Effective Physician Mental Health Program

Organizations can work to overturn negative attitudes about physician mental healthcare by implementing robust mental health programs that encourage participation by all physicians. These programs should provide multiple channels and pathways for physicians to seek help.

The American Medical Association has published a comprehensive guide to caring for caregivers during Covid-19. The guide is continually updated and many of the suggestions and resources are applicable for supporting physician mental health beyond the pandemic as well.

Among other things, the guide suggests providing self-assessment tools, setting up a free, anonymous hotline, providing access to a meditation and sleep app, creating an online toolkit with links to available resources, and educating providers on their right to get help without persecution.

Perhaps most importantly, supervisors and leadership must consistently convey positive attitudes about the organization’s mental health program, continually reminding and encouraging physicians to make use of on-site resources available to them.

The AMA guide suggests managers conduct 5-minute debriefing sessions at the end of every shift to check in on mental health status. Counselors and therapists should be readily accessible for in-the-moment support, providing a direct pathway for more intensive support as needed.

Through STEPS Forward, the American Medical Association Online Education hub, practice managers and healthcare administrators can earn CME for modules focused on strategies to prevent physician burnout and build a culture that supports physician well-being.

A Standard Act of Physician Self Care

Legislation and programs addressing physician mental health are just part of the solution. These programs are part of a larger endeavor to create an environment where professional mental healthcare is a standard act of physician self-care.  Physicians face extraordinary levels of stress, and they should know that it’s not only okay to seek help, it is anticipated.

Certainly, the increased attention to the matter of physician mental health is working to shift attitudes, and hopefully, the next generation of physicians will not hesitate to utilize mental health programs offered by their employers or seek outside professional help when needed.

If your organization is seeking physicians who value a culture of well-being, Jackson Physician Search specializes in recruiting physicians who are both a clinical and cultural match. Contact us today to learn more.

Four Ways to Improve Communication and Increase Physician Engagement

Hospital administrators know all too well the importance of physician engagement. Study after study confirms its significance, and yet, a troubling disconnect undoubtedly exists between physicians and the organizations that employ them…

The Rippling Impact of Physician Burnout

No doubt, many physicians are overworked, a problem only magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. A pre-COVID study cited in a 2020 JAMA article, found 44% of physicians experienced signs of burnout on a weekly basis…

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Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

JPS President Tony Stajduhar Featured in MGMA Article: COVID’s Toll on Physicians

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The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders, “Have you had a doctor retire unexpectedly in the past year?”

  • 28% said yes.
  • 72% said no.

Among the healthcare leaders who reported an unexpected retirement:

  • Nearly half (45%) said it was related to the pandemic:
    • 4% said a doctor retired after a COVID-19 diagnosis.
    • 41% said the retirement was pandemic-related, such as burnout, health risks, loss of reimbursement.
  • 30% said the retirement was based on non-COVID-19 health reasons.
  • 26% said “other,” which included at least one physician who left to pursue alpaca farming.

Continue to MGMA.com to read the full article, and learn more about:

  • The gap between physician supply and demand.
  • The disconnect between administrators and physicians.
  • Better engagement and retention strategies.

Read the Entire Article on MGMA.com

Need Help Recruiting Physicians, Physician Leaders, and Advanced Practice Providers? 

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. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

The Rippling Impact of Physician Burnout

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In a 2019 opinion piece for the New York Times, Dr. Danielle Ofri of Bellevue Hospital in New York, argues that “corporate healthcare” regularly takes advantage of the ethical commitment physicians and other healthcare providers feel toward their patients. When 15 minutes isn’t enough time for a sick patient, they extend the consult, ultimately extending their workday. Rather than leave patients without care, physicians work overtime when there is no coverage. They spend their time “off” dealing with insurance companies, updating charts from home, or answering emails, all in an effort to fulfill the desire that sent them to medical school in the first place – to help patients.

To quote Dr. Ofri, “This ethic holds the entire enterprise together. If doctors and nurses clocked out when their paid hours were finished, the effect on patients would be calamitous. Doctors and nurses know this, which is why they don’t shirk. The system knows it, too, and takes advantage.”

Of course, what Dr. Ofri describes as “exploitation” is not at all the intent of healthcare organizations. As the business of treating patients grows more and more complicated, healthcare systems increasingly struggle to find cost-effective ways to deliver quality care. As a result, the well-being of physicians and other staff is sacrificed, and physician burnout grows.

Increasing Levels of Burnout

No doubt, many physicians are overworked, a problem only magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. A pre-COVID study cited in a 2020 JAMA article, found 44% of physicians experienced signs of burnout on a weekly basis. More recent studies indicate this number is increasing. A Medscape study published in September of 2020 reported 65% of US physicians experienced increased burnout as a result of the pandemic. An October 2020 survey of emergency physicians found 72% felt more burnout due to COVID-19.

Physician burnout is concerning for a number of reasons. According to the American Medical Association, physician burnout can have a significant impact on organizational productivity, morale, costs, and the quality of care being delivered. Physicians experiencing burnout are also more likely to retire early or leave their jobs.

In Q4 of 2020, Jackson Physician Search conducted a survey of physicians and administrators to understand their current views on physician retention and gauge how organizations are addressing the problem of physician burnout. The findings, reported in the White Paper: On the Verge of a Physician Turnover Epidemic, suggest the usual methods may not be doing enough to manage the problem.

Download the Physician Retention Survey Results

Why Administrators Cannot Ignore Burnout 

While the well-being of physicians is obviously important, healthcare administrators may not see their own actions as directly related to the problem, so they may focus attention on issues they see as more manageable. However, the impact of physician burnout can be felt throughout the organization in ways that may not be obviously related. When administrators acknowledge the far-reaching impact, they will understand that they can’t afford to ignore the problem.

Perhaps most alarming, multiple studies link physician burnout to increased medical errors. A 2018 study led by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found physicians with burnout had more than twice the odds of having made a major medical error in the previous three months. While the exact rate of impact varies depending on specialty and other factors, multiple studies show an association between increased physician burnout, decreased quality of care, and reduced patient satisfaction.

Studies also show that physicians experiencing burnout are more likely to leave their jobs. In a 2020 study by Medical Economics, 73% of physicians confirmed burnout had caused them to consider leaving their jobs. Administrators are all too familiar with the high cost of physician turnover at their organizations, and thus, most organizations have programs in place that attempt to address physician burnout in some capacity. However, are these programs effective?

How to Support Physicians Experiencing Burnout

The aforementioned Jackson Physician Search study asked both administrators and physicians about the types of programs used to address physician burnout at their organizations. Wellness programs were the most common answer given by both physicians and administrators, followed closely by mental health programs. Paid leave, professional coaching, and physician hotlines were other methods reported. Interestingly, administrators mentioned paid leave and professional coaching twice as often as physicians, suggesting physicians don’t see these benefits as methods for combating burnout. Physicians were twice as likely as administrators to mention the “physician hotline” as a way of addressing physician burnout.

The Jackson Physician Search white paper notes that the survey’s write-in comments reflected an overall sentiment that programs designed to combat burnout are lacking. Perhaps it is because they focus primarily on helping physicians deal with the stress, rather than striving to alleviate the stress itself. The problem is put on the physician to correct, suggesting the issue lies in the individual’s response to his or her circumstances. If the physician can only be tougher, or more resilient, they won’t suffer from feelings of burnout.

While it has been documented that resilience has an inverse relationship with burnout, that same study found that physicians already have higher levels of resilience than the general population. The conclusion was that increasing resilience is not the most effective means of managing the problem of burnout.

If one agrees with Dr. Ofri’s thesis that physicians experience burnout when they are overworked, it’s not surprising that wellness efforts and mental health programs would do little to address the issue if workloads are not also adjusted. A study in Behavioral Science concluded decreasing the administrative burden on physicians would go a long way toward lowering the levels of physician burnout. Other studies suggest factors such as payment reform, the improvement of electronic medical records, and even increased professionalism would improve the situation significantly.

There is certainly no simple, one-size-fits-all solution for physician burnout. Programs focused on helping the individual handle his or her circumstances are useful attempts to contain the problem, however, each organization should also consider the system-level practices that may be contributing, and where possible, take steps to improve the circumstances. These changes will not only benefit physicians, but organizations will see reduced medical errors, higher levels of patient safety, and lower recruiting costs.

If your organization concludes an increase in headcount is needed to reduce workload and combat physician burnout, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search is eager to help. Contact us today to learn more.

Four Ways to Improve Communication and Increase Physician Engagement

Hospital administrators know all too well the importance of physician engagement. Study after study confirms its significance, and yet, a troubling disconnect undoubtedly exists between physicians and the organizations that employ them…

New Survey Sheds Light on Physician Retention, Physician Engagement, and Physician Burnout

The great challenge for healthcare administrators is to develop an effective physician retention program that not only reduces physician turnover, but also increases physician engagement, mitigates burnout, and contributes to a positive workplace culture…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.