COVID-19: Stories from the Healthcare Leaders Bring Hope, Inspiration

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It’s clear that COVID-19 has changed our world.

The days are more stressful as we respond to challenges we’ve never faced before. Many people find that sheltering in place is a challenge in itself. Long days offer more time for self-examination and worry about what the future holds.

Speaking for myself, I’ve spent much of the time listening.

Heroes in our midst

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with physicians and other healthcare leaders who are tirelessly working during the pandemic. Their stories are amazing—heartbreaking, stressful, yet encouraging in the emotion,  commitment and collaboration all these individuals share.

While our recruiting work goes on at Jackson Physician Search, we’re sharing these stories in a series of online interviews to show how COVID-19 is impacting the physicians and healthcare leaders we work with.

Professional impact

First and foremost, the pandemic is taking doctors far outside their comfort zones.

Dr. Gene C. Liu, president of Cedars-Sinai Medical Group and an ENT practicing at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says one of the biggest challenges for him as a surgeon is not being able to charge in and fix a problem like removing tonsils or straightening a septum.

“There’s not that instant gratification,” he says. “You’re really a bystander, making sure patients get enough oxygen … giving their bodies the medical support they need to fight the bug.”

Dr. Richard Bowe, an anesthesiologist for nearly 32 years with Phoebe Putney Medical Group in Albany, Ga., also found himself transitioning to a completely different clinical role when COVID-19 cases rose to alarming levels in the town of 80,000.

With elective surgeries on hold, Dr. Bowe has joined other anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists in helping to staff one of the two new ICUs created to handle the influx of the critically ill.

Family impact

With his wife and children away from Albany to avoid possible infection, Dr. Bowe finds the loneliness compounds the challenge. “It’s a challenge to see these patients as sick as they are, and then coming home to an empty house at night, trying to decompress without having anybody to talk with.”

For Dr. David M. Gonzalez, an interventional cardiologist in a program that has saved countless lives over the last decade at Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho, it’s a similar story of living at home alone, away from his wife and family of seven children. He acknowledges it’s part of the new reality.

Dealing with fear

“Every time you go to the hospital, there is an element of fear and anxiety that strikes you before you walk in,” Dr. Gonzales says. “The biggest thing is dealing with your own fears. Not only for yourself, but also that you could spread it [the virus] to your family or someone else.”

Making it particularly difficult is working in the protective gear and the discomfort of the N95 masks. He manages the stress by keeping to his exercise routine and starting each day with a stop at the coffee shop where he has been a customer for 14 years. “It’s nice to see some smiling faces first thing in the morning.”

Cory Ferrier, executive of business development with Adventist Health in Los Angeles, says he’s been amazed by the ingenuity the hospital’s physicians have shown in the face of fear and uncertainty. “I had no idea how many of our physicians had 3-D printers at home,” he says. Working together, the physicians used the printers to build intubation kits that protect clinical teams from aerosolization during the intubation procedure.

Recruiting impact

Ferrier says recruitment is on stand-by at the hospital, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t reaching out to candidates via Zoom, Skype or Facetime. “I’ve learned whenever there is a change or shift or a disaster, that’s where the most opportunity is. While we might not be able to send a contract to a physician now, I make sure they know when this settles, we’ll be able to make them an offer.”

Dr. Gonzales predicts the pandemic might bring more doctors to rural areas. He has recently recruited a new doctor from New York who will start in July. Working in a big city hospital dealing with a severe outbreak, the physician “can’t wait to get out,” Dr. Gonzales says. “He’s worried for his family. He can’t get here fast enough.”

Financial impact

The financial side of the crisis is harrowing, too.

In Albany, Dr. Bowe says, “We don’t know what reimbursement will be like for these COVID patients. The health system has taken an attitude of ‘we’ll work that out later and take care of people first,’ and I agree with that completely.”

Instead of furloughing staff, the system has them taking temperatures at hospital entrances and cleaning computer keyboards and door handles, so they’ll be ready to resume their normal jobs when the crisis subsides.

Despite the challenges, Dr. Bowe says he finds rewards in what he is doing today. “I can’t imagine doing anything differently than what I’m doing now,” he says.

A lesson in sacrifice, a reason for hope

As I speak with these physicians and other healthcare leaders, I’m humbled by the stories of courage and sacrifice I hear. They’re giving up family time, sleep and personal safety to ensure our healthcare system keeps moving forward.

Listening to them gives me hope.

May it do the same for you.

The Physician Recruitment Process Under Transformation: Will Video Interviews Become the Norm Post-COVID-19?

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A slow return to a new normal means some of the millions of displaced Americans will begin returning to work, and financially hard-hit medical groups will schedule previously postponed elective procedures. Additionally, hospitals and other healthcare organizations can start hiring more physicians to handle the inevitable rush of patients and to meet 2020 staffing planning goals.

Of course, there’s great concern among the medical community, political officials, and citizens that successfully reopening the country come in tandem with improved diagnostic testing to keep the virus at bay. As history has taught us, a pandemic seemingly under control can return for a second wave with a vengeance. We are right to be cautious, which means some degree of social distancing will remain part of our daily lives for months to come.

Surprisingly, as a physician recruitment firm, we have found that the current shelter-in-place orders, travel restrictions, and banned onsite interviews haven’t halted physician recruitment. We’ve seen an increase in candidate activity, likely because physicians remain future-focused, and summer is an ideal time to make a major move to a new part of the country.

Knowing that 50,000 physicians are expected to relocate before the end of 2020, the majority of healthcare administrators have also kept an eye on the future even while battling the pandemic. We learned from a live poll taken during last week’s MGMA20 | The Operations Conference Online that only 14% of medical groups aren’t currently interviewing due to COVID-19. For those that are, they’ve adapted the interviewing process to continue filling key vacancies and to keep candidate pipelines full.

With the light beginning to appear at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, it’s becoming clear that the initial, in-person physician interview seen as a staple in the recruitment process may not always be necessary.

Video Interviews are Here to Stay – Potentially Reducing Recruitment Costs and Time-to-Fill

Another discovery during last week’s MGMA conference poll is nearly 63% of medical groups are currently interviewing candidates via video and phone, and some have no intention of stopping, as was uncovered during the subsequent Q&A. In the executive search realm where competition for candidates is sometimes less intense, the initial slate of candidates is usually interviewed via video. Only the final contenders are invited onsite for face-to-face interviews, as well as facility and community tours.

Now that tech-savvy healthcare organizations and recruitment firms who were already set up to deliver a digital, yet personalized, candidate recruitment experience have learned that the initial interview can be effectively done via video, it may be difficult to justify going back. Yes, for those physician searches that are ultra-competitive or where the need is immediate, the initial onsite interview may be the best approach. But for others, time and expense can be saved early in the recruitment process. Here are a few tips to provide an outstanding candidate experience:

  • Choose a Professional Location Where You Won’t be Interrupted. Make sure your office is well-lit, avoid having visible clutter, and eliminate the risk of interruption. You want to provide a professional atmosphere just as you would if the candidate was onsite with you in a boardroom.
  • Test Your Setup. Even if you are familiar with video conferencing technology, always do a test run with a colleague. This is to make sure your internet connection is stable, your webcam produces a clear picture, and your audio is working well.
  • Close Unnecessary Tabs and Turn Off Your Cellphone. Before the video call, shut down programs on your computer that aren’t needed and turn off your cell phone. The candidate is your number one priority.
  • Have the Candidate’s CV and Prepare Your Questions. In a typical interview environment, you would have questions ready. Physicians want to know that you are prepared and respect their time just as you want the same.
  • Focus on Connecting with the Candidate. Demonstrate engagement by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and smiling as you normally would. Remember, culture fit plays a huge role in a candidate’s decision to accept a job offer. So, be yourself and connect with the candidate authentically.
  • Follow-up. Provide timely follow-up and next steps, so that candidate interest remains high during any delays.

Create a Virtual Community Site Visit that Increases Enthusiasm

During the MGMA20 | The Operations Conference Online, a medical group administrator asked if the virtual site visit will also be the norm post-COVID-19. Permanent physician recruitment is unique in that it almost always requires relocation. Even the most adventurous prefer to visit the new location before uprooting family. But this doesn’t mean the virtual site visit can’t play a role even when travel resumes.

As recruiters, we’re accustomed to physicians occasionally rejecting a location before visiting. It’s our job to help them consider the total picture, which often includes a professional opportunity that could be a great stepping-stone towards their goals or a culture that is better aligned with their values. When this happens, we use a variety of tools that the travel and tourism industry has been using for decades to create a virtual visit. It’s effective in combatting pre-conceived notions about a region, state, or city.

As we anticipate seeing the initial interview done more often via video, consider adding a virtual site visit as part of your organization’s candidate experience. Here are some tips:

  • Schedule a Video Chat with Fellow Physicians. Typically, the site visit is an opportunity for physicians to get a first-hand look at the facility and to meet potential colleagues. If there’s a mismatch in personalities or culture, it can result in a lost candidate. This is an efficient way to introduce candidates to potential colleagues sooner in the process. Ideally, you would also connect the physician with someone who recently relocated and can relate to what the candidate is facing.
  • Show Off the Best Side of Your Community and Facility. Physicians are concerned with the well-being of their families when considering relocation. While you will still invite a candidate onsite for a final interview, don’t delay building excitement about the community and your facility. If your organization hasn’t already delved into video, hire a film crew to interview key stakeholders and get drone footage of your facility. Then, look to travel and tourism websites to find video footage of the community. Whether you upgrade the careers section of your website or have a standard email you share with candidates, these can go a long way.
  • Introduce Physician Candidates Early to Professional Resources. Candidates facing a relocation will seek out a real estate agent to assess the housing market. Save them time by vetting these professionals. Also, you could include school district information, religious institutions, personal banking advisors, sporting and cultural events, and anything else unique to your community.

For many of us, life feels upside down. We are optimistic that the world is starting to come through to the other side thanks to the tireless and heroic efforts of healthcare providers and other front-line service workers. While many lessons learned will be focused on improving the procurement of testing supplies and personal protective equipment, as well as accurate anti-body testing and vaccine development, there will undoubtedly be other valuable lessons available in all walks of professional and personal life.

More than 50,000 physicians will relocate in 2020 – Here’s how your organization can get ahead of the curve and hire faster post-COVID-19.

Once you identify there is mutual interest between your organization and a candidate:

  • Set up a phone call or video conference between the candidate and key stakeholders to conduct an initial interview.
  • If interest remains high, stay in touch weekly with the candidate, arrange additional discussions with potential colleagues, and send links to community information.
  • If appropriate, share potential agreements with the candidate.
  • Tentatively schedule the final onsite interview and explain the post-interview process.

Jackson Physician Search is currently the fastest-growing physician recruitment firm in the nation. A decade ago, we pioneered an all-digital recruitment methodology that helps hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, and medical groups to recruit physicians, physician leaders, and advanced practice providers.

We are recognized for our track record built on trust and transparency of processes and fees. Lean on the Jackson Physician Search team for guidance on how to jumpstart your hiring.

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Coping with Stress: How Physicians can Maintain their Well-being During COVID-19

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No one is immune to the physical, emotional, and even financial side effects of COVID-19. Stress levels are at an all-time high worldwide, as everyone is grappling with the uncertainty of when life will return to normal.  But for physicians, staving off feelings of fear, anxiety, and burnout is as critical as saving lives while getting through this pandemic.

Jackson Physician Search president Tony Stajduhar has been checking in via video calls with several of his physician and healthcare administrator friends and most report feeling growing levels of fear and anxiety.  Each has isolated themselves in homes separate from their spouses and children in a valiant effort to protect.  That means after a long day, suited in full protective gear that is anything but comfortable, they arrive to empty homes.  More than ever, physicians could benefit from the support and companionship of their loved ones.

Feelings of burnout were already prevalent among physicians, but now loneliness is settling in as well.  The one constant in COVID-19 is that we are continuing to learn as we go.  Fortunately, many organizations are trying to get in front of a mental health crisis by putting together resources and daily practices that healthcare providers can use to protect their mental health.  Let’s take a look at some coping strategies that you can practice to maintain your emotional and physical well-being during this challenging time.

Prioritize Your Health

Your health and well-being are essential during this global health crisis.  The world relies on you to help us get through this unprecedented event, and we’ll also need you for all our health issues that are currently taking a back seat. As you know, the benefits of eating well and partaking in physical activity are both physical and mental.  Continue your exercise routine and, if you can get outside and enjoy the spring weather while doing so, that’s all the better. Don’t be afraid to indulge once in a while in some comfort food or a guilty pleasure.

Take Breaks

While taking a break may seem impossible when the flow of patients doesn’t appear to let up, fatigue and stress have a direct impact on performance.  The same applies to your nurses and other support staff, making it even more critical to set the example and find time for regular breaks.  Stepping away for a few minutes will provide you with an opportunity to pay attention to your mind and body.

Prioritize Sleep

No one needs to explain to you how a lack of, or poor sleep, can affect an individual’s mental and physical well-being.  The challenge is that as stress levels increase, sleeping well becomes more difficult. Adding to that, many physicians and healthcare professionals respond to elevated patient loads by working excessively long hours at the expense of their own well-being.  Unfortunately, the less time your body spends in sleep, the more compromised your immune system becomes. In a pandemic, that is an especially dangerous combination.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindful meditation is usually practice seated and can be done for as little as one minute. This breathing practice is an excellent time to exercise compassion towards yourself, so don’t let your mind wander to negative thoughts and keep your attention on your breathing. Body scan exercises, available online, are a great way to assess your mental and physical well-being while giving yourself a chance to relax and decompress in the process.

Stay Positive

Controlling negative emotions during a crisis is probably one of the most difficult challenges front-line healthcare workers face right now.  Like finding time for a break, and allowing yourself to sleep, being kind and compassionate to yourself starts with a positive mindset but requires intentional effort. It is important to acknowledge the fact that you, your family, and your colleagues are experiencing similar challenges.  Taking a supportive and positive approach during such a difficult time goes a long way toward helping everyone successfully navigate another day.

Connect with Family and Friends

Call someone you love every day and talk about something meaningful. Use Facetime or another video calling tool to get a digital face-to-face conversation with someone you haven’t seen in a few weeks or even a few years. Resist the urge to binge-watch Netflix alone and instead find something more engaging. If you are going to watch a show or tv to unwind, netflixparty.com allows you to with others using the Chrome browser on your computer.

Ask for Help – Know That You’re Not Alone

Reaching out for help is a sign of strength and emotional awareness.  Many hospitals and health systems are ramping up the availability of psychological therapists to help their front-line healthcare professionals during this time.  If you don’t want to sit down with a therapist, reach out to a trusted friend or a mentor, and allow yourself to verbalize your feelings. Talking to someone you trust can be liberating and may help you emotionally process the situation.

Get Ahead of the Physical Toll

While the emotional toll of COVID-19 is high now for all healthcare providers, the physical toll is yet to come. Many of you are have patients with elective procedures and other treatments that are currently being postponed. Adopting a good set of coping strategies now only serves to help you through the rush of patients that will follow this crisis.

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 will leave many lessons learned in healthcare and in all areas of life. May some of those lessons be a new emphasis on managing mental health and achieving a healthy work/life balance. For immediate support, we’re pleased to see that The American Medical Association has curated mental health resources to help physicians during COVID-19. You can find more information here. If prioritizing a better work/life balance or moving closer to home is best for you and your family, trust Jackson Physician Search to guide you through the job search process. You can search our open jobs and apply today by visiting jobs.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

 

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Tony Stajduhar Featured in MGMA Connection Magazine – Combat the Turnover Trap

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Medical group and hospital administrators face constant demands to maintain high-quality patient care while also meeting and exceeding revenue targets, and a major player in both pressure points is physician staffing. The nation’s aging population, legislative efforts to increase the number of insured individuals and a physician population in which 30% are at or near retirement age mean administrators must grapple with a growing shortage of doctors and an ultra-competitive recruitment market.1

The ongoing physician shortage has repercussions for the time to fill physician positions, particularly in certain medical specialties. In a 2019 Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR, formerly ASPR) annual survey, 40% of vacancies had gone unfilled by year-end 2018,2 and a 2018 report from the Society of Hospital Medicine (SoHM) showed 66.4% of hospitalist positions were unfilled at adult-care medicine groups.3

 

Read the full article on Combating the Turnover Trap on MGMA.com.

How Shelter-in-Place Orders May Affect (But Don’t Have to Derail) Your Physician Job Search

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With more states issuing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, healthcare administrators are working tirelessly to procure personal protective equipment for their providers and medical devices to save the lives of their patients. They are also focused on keeping up with a myriad of other essential responsibilities required to keep hospitals running effectively during these challenging times and, for many, that includes reviewing their staffing planning goals.
 
As a physician recruitment firm, we are finding that several healthcare organizations are continuing to recruit and fill physician vacancies. Because 50,000 physicians are expected to relocate for a new position before the end of 2020, interviewing, site visits, and job offers continue, albeit there are some noticeable differences to the traditional process.
 
If you’re seeking a new opportunity, keep applying for positions that interest you and read on to learn what you may expect as the new “temporary” normal.

Video Interviewing Takes Precedence

Virtual interviews are frequently used in many other industries to conduct the initial screening, to interview candidates who will work remotely, and to interview out-of-town candidates in lieu of travel. With air travel drastically reduced, and social distancing practiced everywhere, video interviews are becoming more prevalent throughout the physician hiring process. Here are a few tips to consider when preparing for your video interview:
  • Choose a Location. With stricter shelter-in-place orders more common than not, chances are that you will be doing the video interview from your home. If you don’t have a home office, choose a room that is well-lit and one where you won’t be interrupted. It is also best to avoid having a lot of clutter visible in the background.
  • Test your Setup. Even if you are familiar with video conferencing technology, always do a test run with a friend or family member. This is to make sure your internet connection is stable, your webcam produces a clear picture, and your audio is working clearly. Have a light source in front of you rather than behind you and put your computer/webcam at eye level for the best video.
  • Dress for an Interview. Treat the video interview as you would a face-to-face meeting. You wouldn’t wear workout clothes for an in-person interview, so don’t do it for a video interview. Wearing a suit or other professional attire will project your professionalism and also subconsciously put you in an interview frame of mind.
  • Close Unnecessary Tabs. Before the scheduled video call, shut down any tabs or programs on your laptop that aren’t needed for the interview, especially social media and email. Your interviewer will see if you are distracted and working on other things during the meeting.
  • Turn Off the Cellphone. At a minimum, keep your cell phone on silent mode, but preferably turn it off altogether to avoid the potential for distraction.
  • Be Prepared. In a typical interview environment, you would walk in with your CV, a pen, and a pad to write on. Have those same essentials available during your video interview. Jot down any questions that come up and have your CV available for reference.
  • Act Naturally. One of the most widely accepted interview tips is to maintain natural eye contact with your interviewer. That shouldn’t change with a video interview. Maintain eye contact, nod, and smile as you normally would to demonstrate engagement. Looking off into space or continually turning your eyes toward something off-camera is not a good look. Also, if you typically talk with hand gestures, don’t try to depress your natural way of communicating. Be yourself, and your personality will come across as authentic.

Conduct Your Own Virtual Community Site Visit

While the projection models show that we’re going to be dealing with COVID-19 for the near foreseeable future, there’s no way to know precisely when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, travel will resume, and life will return to normal. Physicians who are actively pursuing a new career opportunity are often looking at jobs from one coast to the other. Moving your family is a very real part of the job-hunting consideration process, so finding new ways to narrow down your options is important when a traditional community site visit isn’t viable.
 
In addition, assessing cultural fit with the organization and its people is vital to long-term employment. You might not be able to shake hands – or even tap elbows or bump feet – but you can still meet your colleagues and staff before accepting an offer. Here are some suggestions:
  • Video Site Visit. Typically, the site visit is an opportunity for physicians to get a first-hand look at the facility and to meet potential colleagues. Now, you may be invited to a video conference to meet your fellow physicians, members of the board, and even some of your staff. Much like when you were the video interviewee, this may be your best chance to assess the different personalities on the team and determine if you are finding a good cultural fit. Plan your questions ahead of time and interview everyone you can about the organization.
  • Community Information. With travel mostly prohibited, you can do investigative work online to learn as much as possible about the community, including school systems, religious centers, sports teams, entertainment options, and anything else that is important to you and your family’s happiness and well-being. Your potential new employer will likely have someone assigned to “show you around,” but now it will be a virtual experience. Instead of being there in person, they will probably point you to online resources and give you telephone and email information for important local contacts, so you get your questions answered from the comfort of home. An excellent resource to find out about crime, schools, and even weather for any community in the United States is www.city-data.com. Travel and tourism websites are also great options and many feature drone video footage to give you a bird’s eye view of the area. It may take a leap of faith to consider accepting an offer in a community unseen, yet physicians and other adventurous executives do it every day.
  • Real Estate. If you are planning to buy a house in your new location, you may end up doing a lot of the preliminary work online anyway. This might include interviewing real estate agents via phone or video and doing virtual tours of houses on Zillow or other real estate websites. Just like it would be if you were there in person, finding a good real estate agent is going to be the key to a successful house hunting experience.
 
It goes without saying that much of life feels upside down right now for everyone. At Jackson Physician Search, we’re here to support you by continuing to work day and night to help facilitate your next career opportunity, while also assisting hospitals and healthcare organizations with staffing their facilities. As our new “temporary” normal continues to take shape, we’re here to guide you through the interview and job selection process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have – together, we will get through this. You can also review our commitment to you during the COVID-19 crisis by clicking here.
 
If you are looking for a physician job search partner, contact a Jackson Physician Search recruitment professional.

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IMPORTANT COVID-19 MESSAGE FOR CANDIDATES FROM OUR PRESIDENT, TONY STAJDUHAR

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Hello,

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, COVID-19 hit. I continue to be inspired by the way you, other healthcare workers, and first responders are responding to this crisis. Your dedication doesn’t really surprise me. But it seems when life is most difficult and people need help, you are the very people who transform into superheroes right before our eyes. It’s remarkable.

I want to reassure you that our entire Jackson Physician Search team is working overtime – day and night – to support you. One of our guiding values is to be an ‘Others First’ organization, so if you receive a call or email from us, I hope you will trust that our intent is not to be disrespectful or insensitive.

By nature, recruiters are great listeners. We want to listen and meet your needs – even if what you need most at the moment is to vent about the day’s challenges! We are committed to being the best matchmakers in the industry, but if in trying to meet your immediate needs, we happen to catch you at an inopportune moment, please let us know. We will always respect your wishes.

Our team has transitioned to a fully functional work-from-home model, allowing them to continue to connect you to our hundreds of clients across the nation – uninterrupted. We will continue to provide Nordstrom-level service and to think outside-the-box. We have been asked to adapt our process and assist with complying to new hospital policies. Some of these changes may include scheduling video interviews, or scheduling interviews outside of the medical campus.

Hopefully, sooner, rather than later, this crisis will pass. And as we all know, there is already a physician shortage that COVID-19 isn’t going to improve. While you focus on you and your family’s most pressing needs, we’re still focused on your future career goals.

I am praying for everyone daily, and our thoughts are with you and your family – please take care of yourself and feel welcome to call us at any point. Together, we will get through this and, hopefully, come away with valuable lessons learned.

Be well,

Tony Stajduhar
President

How the Traditional Physician On-Site Interview is Changing During Covid-19

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We’ve reached a point where the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is affecting us all. While this is uncharted territory for many, our healthcare system has successfully responded to pandemics and outbreaks in the past – always coming out stronger and wiser on the other side. We understand that this is an unprecedented time for physicians, nurses, and other care providers, and we are grateful for your dedication to protecting and restoring health in our communities.
 
As a physician recruitment firm, our mission is to facilitate the perfect match between a physician and a healthcare organization. We serve as an advisor to both throughout the recruitment process, ensuring a positive candidate experience. Currently, many of the healthcare organizations that we work with are making temporary changes to their on-site interview process for the safety and well-being of everyone. But even with these temporary changes, our clients are actively recruiting to fill physician vacancies.
 
So, as you keep your job search on track, we’re here to prepare you for three possible interview scenarios.
 

1. Continuing with on-site interviews but implementing additional screening

 
Understandably, some healthcare organizations have growing concerns about on-site interview visits. Pre-screening candidates is an effective strategy to mitigate exposure to COVID-19 on their campuses. Below is a sampling of screening questions you may be asked prior to scheduling an interview:
 
  • Are you currently under self-quarantine for COVID-19, because you have been diagnosed or have had direct exposure to an infected individual?
  • Have you traveled internationally in the last 28 days to China, Italy, South Korea, or any other countries with wide community spread?
  • Are you experiencing any flu-like or respiratory symptoms common to COVID-19, such as fever, sore throat, runny nose, and cough?
 
Furthermore, healthcare organizations that are continuing with on-site interviews may medically screen candidates for fever and other symptoms upon arrival.
 

2. Moving the interview off-campus

 
Some healthcare organizations are eliminating the risk of exposure to patients, providers, and other employees by moving interviews to an off-campus location. Any location that offers a distraction-free and private area to focus everyone’s attention on the interview will work – hotel or airport conference rooms are two viable options.
 
While this means you likely won’t have an opportunity to meet quite as many staff members, take a campus tour, or get an overall “feel” for the environment, many healthcare organizations have professional pictures and recruitment videos that will suffice. Plus, you can still visit the community to better assess your family’s interest in relocating. If you need help with that, check out our blog about preparing for an on-site interview.
 

3. Using video conferencing to conduct a “virtual” interview

 
With some areas experiencing more rapid community spread than others, such as New York City, or in states under a stay-home order, travel is not advised. If the organization must temporarily suspend face-to-face interviews, many are inviting candidates to participate in a video interview using Skype, Zoom, or another video conferencing tool. First impressions are still key to recruitment success, so be sure to make eye contact and eliminate potential distractions. Prepare for it as you would an in-person interview. It might help you to make notes about what you want to talk about. Our guide on defining your physician brand can help you refine your talking points and zero in on what you want the conversation to focus on.
 
Our expert physician recruiters should be viewed as a resource and are happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have. Part of their responsibility is to aid communication between you and the hiring healthcare organization. Keep in mind that finding the perfect opportunity can take some time, so we will continue to share job opportunities with you via email. You can sign up for job alerts to receive those emails or visit our job board to see all our open searches.

Make the Most of Your Physician Job Search

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Match Day 2020: Amid Uncertainty, Still a Time for Celebration

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Match Day is a time for celebration at the 155 medical schools in the United States, as it marks the day residency and fellowship training positions are announced.  Unfortunately, due to concerns about the spread of Covid-19, some of the planned activities are being canceled or scaled back to reduce the size of gatherings.  Covid-19 concerns aside, nothing should dampen the overall celebratory feelings of the more than 44,000 fourth-year medical students who are anxiously awaiting their match results. After four years of late nights, long days, and hard work, medical students across the nation can finally see the sun rising on their future careers.  In 2019, of the 44,000 registrants, more than 35,000 were matched to one of their choices.

While the majority of Match Day applicants receive a position to continue their medical training, there is a small percentage that does not get placed in one of the residency or training slots.  How does that happen and what can be done?  It’s important to understand the challenges the candidates you’ll be recruiting one day face.  Let’s answer some questions medical students who are about to graduate — and who will eventually become the next generation of physicians — might have about Match Day and beyond.

Why is there a shortage of residency slots?

One of the major contributing factors directly relates to an Act of Congress.  In 1997, as part of a Balanced Budget Act, Congress legislatively capped the number of residency training slots to be funded through Medicare.  At the time, it helped to reduce the Medicare budget.  Still, today’s physician shortage highlights the need for Congress to act with a greater sense of urgency.  In 2016, 2017, and again in 2019, legislation was brought to the floor of both Houses of Congress to address the physician shortage through an expansion of residency slots.  In each case, the bill stalled.

What’s next for those who don’t receive a match?

It doesn’t mean the end of their medical career, residency slots are still available.  The National Resident Matching Program®, in association with the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, offer a joint Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP).  This program allows applicants who didn’t match to a program of their choice to apply to residency positions that went unfilled after Match Day.  To be eligible for SOAP, applicants must be registered for the Main Residency Match.  Then, they must be eligible to enter graduate medical education on July 1, 2020, and be unmatched or partially matched on Monday of Match Week.

Not matching is just a temporary setback. Here’s what else can be done.

Medical school graduates have worked hard to get to this point and should know that not matching is only a temporary setback.  The worst course of action would be to give up.  There are steps that can be taken if match day and SOAP doesn’t work out.  Clinical Work is an option.  Typically, they won’t be able to participate in the direct care of patients, but that doesn’t mean they have to keep their clinical skills on the shelf for a year.  One of the best ways graduates can stay close to the action and be involved is to work as a scribe for a medical practice.  Practicing physicians will be grateful for any opportunity that frees them up to focus more on patient care and less on administrative activities.

Keeping graduates involved in the healthcare industry and on the path to becoming a physician is crucial.  It is also beneficial for healthcare administrators to utilize educated and motivated individuals.  Encourage graduates to focus on improving their skills, gaining clinical experience to enhance their resume, and help them get set up for a successful Match Day 2021.

Residency is a pivotal point on the path to becoming a physician and our best option for catching up with the demand for physicians. At Jackson Physician Search we work to support the hospitals and health systems across the nation that are training the next generation of physicians. If you need help recruiting residents or recruiting physician leaders to train residents, reach out to Jackson Physician Search today.

 

What to Know When Recruiting Residents - Medscape Takeaways

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Amid the fanfare of balloons, school mascots, cheers and tears, thousands of medical school students and graduates experienced life-changing news on Match Day 2018.

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How to Drive Retention by Creating an Inclusive Workplace

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The first thing most healthcare administrators think about when considering the current physician shortage is, “How are we going to recruit to fill vacancies?”  That is certainly a valid question, but it is one that needs to be asked in tandem with, “How are we going to retain the physicians we already have?”  According to Gallup research, workplace culture is one of the leading drivers of physician retention, and healthcare organizations that ignore that fact are setting themselves up for a steady stream of physician vacancies.

Over the past several decades, physicians graduating from medical school are increasingly diverse and come from a wide range of ethnicities, religions, and world views.  This level of diversity in our healthcare system is an achievement and reflective of American society in general.  But a diverse workplace doesn’t necessarily mean an inclusive one, and that is an important distinction.  An inclusive environment is supported by a workplace culture where the collective group of employees all feel welcome, valued, and included.  With the role that culture plays in retention, let’s review some strategies that will contribute to a more inclusive work environment.

Instill a top-down approach.

In healthcare organizations where the executives and other higher-level administrators are too far removed from what is happening in the trenches, there is no way of gaining a full appreciation of the actual workplace culture that exists.  A prime example of this was illustrated in the results of a study conducted by Jackson Physician Search, where significant differences were found in how executives and physicians rated their workplace culture.  For example, in response to a statement about physicians always being treated with respect, only 48% of physicians agreed versus 78% of the executives.  Administrators and other leaders have to be personally invested in fostering a culture of inclusion and engagement in their organization.

It’s more than a one-hour sensitivity training.

It is safe to say that any healthcare organization that doesn’t conduct periodic sensitivity, diversity, or other bias-related training sessions will not have an inclusive workplace environment.  But these training sessions are only part of the solution.  Utilizing a one-hour training class to check a box is not getting it done.  As alluded to with our top-down approach, sensitivity, and other training sessions have to be used to develop proactive, actionable items that can be implemented throughout the organization.  The classes are a tool to help educate leadership and staff at all levels about behaviors that are inappropriate.  A proactive result from the training might include a mechanism for reporting bias or a strategy for how to deal with employees who exhibit harmful behavior.  Another way a healthcare organization can demonstrate a true commitment to inclusion would be in the formation of an employee-driven inclusion committee. Most likely, your organization has a celebrations committee, forming one that is dedicated to driving a more inclusive workplace is a strong first step.

Give everyone a voice.

If you don’t have a clear picture of what type of culture exists in your workplace, it is important to find out before it is too late.  A Mayo Clinic study on physician burnout and well-being cited workplace culture as a major factor in physicians leaving to find a better opportunity.  Creating an environment where all staff is encouraged to respond to workplace surveys or participate in focus groups is the only true way to understand workplace culture.  It is critical for healthcare administrators to think about the type of culture that will keep staff engaged, drive them to better performance, and support the organizational brand. A few keys for managing this include:

  • Conduct a full audit or assessment to gain a data-driven measure of the environment.
  • Identify gaps regarding inclusiveness and bias.
  • Collect, measure, and report on the data.
  • Develop strategies and set goals, and publish them.
  • Communicate why you want an inclusive culture and how it impacts the bottom line.

Celebrate Your Diversity.

We have already suggested the formation of an inclusion committee, but even if you aren’t prepared to take that step, you can still celebrate the diversity within your workplace.  It is important to remember that it is as much about celebrating and recognizing diversity as it is about removing bias.  From creating breast pumping rooms to having meditation or prayer rooms, employing physicians and other staff from such diverse backgrounds means that unique solutions are needed.  Another strategy to combat unintentional bias is with a more creative pot luck program. Let’s face it, your hospital or health system has regular pot luck luncheons, we all do.  These informal gatherings provide the perfect opportunity to center them around a different ethnic or cultural background.  Encourage your teams to discover new recipes and post fun cultural facts that will help everyone to appreciate and gain a better understanding of varying cultures.

Encourage Gratitude.

Most healthcare organizations have some form of gratitude program.  Is it effective?  How many of your physicians make an effort to formally recognize others?  A well-constructed and properly intentioned gratitude program is one that encourages anyone to recognize anyone else at any time. Whether it is a patient recognizing their doctor or nurse, a doctor recognizing maintenance staff, or a nurse highlighting a security guard, gratitude should always be more than a “program.”  Having a culture that fosters the expression of gratitude can be a powerful part of a healthy workplace environment.  It is also a means to understand and eliminate unconscious bias that may exist by learning who is being recognized and how often.  Wouldn’t it be helpful to learn which departments are engaged with the recognition program and which aren’t?  Or if physicians were being recognized by staff, but they weren’t reciprocating that appreciation in return.  Using these tools to identify gaps and taking actions to address them is a valuable exercise in developing a healthier workplace.

If you need help finding ways to recruit and retain physicians for your vacancies, partner with a firm that was founded on decades of healthcare industry success. Contact the professionals at Jackson Physician Search today.

 

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New AAPPR Survey Sheds Light on Physician Recruitment Technology Adoption

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There’s no disputing that physician recruiters benefit from today’s sophisticated recruitment and marketing technologies. To hire physicians who fit the culture and will succeed in the role, recruiters need to be able to reach them where they are with the right messaging. Technology serves to streamline that process. Let’s look at the ways in which in-house recruiters use technology and how access to the right technology stack differs based on the size of the organization.

 

New Survey by the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) Clarifies Technology Adoption by In-house Recruitment Teams

Jackson Physician Search recently sponsored a new AAPPR survey that examined how in-house physician and provider recruitment professionals use technology for applicant tracking, time management, communication, and general staff productivity. The resulting survey, titled ‘Physician Recruitment Technology Utilization and Satisfaction Study,’ shed much-needed light on how healthcare organizations – both large and small – invested in and used this technology. In the process, AAPPR learned that investments in technology to support physician recruitment lags behind other technology investments by hospitals and health systems.

Furthermore, healthcare organizations with smaller in-house recruitment teams who perform 50 or fewer searches per year are at a disadvantage in this competitive physician recruitment environment, as they have made fewer investments in recruitment technology.  Larger healthcare organizations and health systems (those who conduct more than 200 searches per year) often have more resources to spend on technology that can create efficiencies in their recruitment and hiring process.

 

Investments in Physician Recruitment Technology

With the astronomical pace of advancing technologies, one would assume that healthcare organizations would all be investing in technology as a way to improve efficiency and create greater success in physician and provider recruitment.  According to survey respondents, 60% of organizations have made sizable investments in technologies designed to improve the daily processes of their recruitment professionals.  As expected, larger health systems have invested more money and more frequently, while smaller health systems report that they have never made a significant investment in recruitment-centered technologies.  Overall, less than half of the survey respondents cited a large investment in technology in the past twelve months.

Larger healthcare organizations that employ sizable in-house recruitment teams are better positioned to take advantage of available technologies that can create an edge in the competitive recruitment environment. Smaller health systems typically don’t have the budgets to support major tech investments. One way smaller healthcare organizations can level the playing field is by partnering with an outside physician recruitment firm that can provide smaller organizations with access to technology and candidate pools that they don’t have on their own.

 

Types of Technology in Use

Applicant Tracking Systems and Customer Relationship Management Systems

Out of all available technologies, over 94% of in-house recruitment professionals are utilizing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and/or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.  Unlike the difference between large and small health systems concerning technology investments, it appears that an ATS and/or CRMs are integral to recruitment teams of any size.  Almost 90% of the smallest healthcare organizations and up to 100% of the largest health systems are using an ATS and/or CRM.  The difference between large and small organizations is that the larger in-house recruitment teams are using commercially available ATS/CRM technologies.  Small health systems with fewer in-house recruiters are using homegrown systems such as Excel spreadsheets or other systems they have developed in-house.

While spreadsheets are good for many things, managing critical recruitment functions is not one of them. These types of inefficiencies in the recruitment process can be the difference between landing the perfect candidate for your physician vacancy or losing out to a competitor. Smaller in-house recruitment teams that are losing candidates or are unable to reach candidate pools need to advocate to their administrators that a technology boost is needed.  A compelling case can be made that with today’s physician shortages, having a digital recruitment strategy is a critical component in finding and hiring qualified candidates.

 

Broadcast Emails

The key to successful physician recruitment is to reach candidates through a variety of means. From engaging them on social media platforms or connecting with them via email, physicians are as digitally connected as most Americans.  Utilizing broadcast emails was another area where the size of the organization didn’t matter in the survey results.  Almost 83% of all healthcare organizations use broadcast emails in their sourcing efforts.

For medical practices, hospitals, and healthcare systems, physician recruitment has become much more than posting openings to job boards or sending out mass emails to candidates in their database.  Targeted recruitment is the key to reaching passive physician candidates who are not actively seeking new opportunities.  This is another area where large in-house recruitment teams and permanent physician search firms have an advantage – they are more likely to have well-nurtured and segmented candidate pools.  Smaller healthcare organizations can close this gap by developing a relationship with a trusted search partner.  An experienced physician recruitment firm can supplement an in-house recruitment team’s efforts with a digital recruitment strategy that includes access to a nationwide candidate pool and critical technologies.

 

Other Software Technologies

One of the more surprising aspects of the recruitment professionals’ responses to the AAPPR survey was an apparent lack of motivation to integrate other sources of software technologies designed to create efficiency in their processes.  For example, software designed for time management, social media management, or onboarding functions are only used by a small fraction of in-house recruitment teams.  The largest health systems, and especially those that employ ATS and CRM systems, are more likely than others to use these additional types of software, but the small numbers were still surprising.  Only 8% of recruiters use time management software, another 8% use a social media management platform, while only 13.5% use onboarding software.

Clearly, technology is ubiquitous in today’s society.  You would be hard pressed to name someone who doesn’t use a cell phone than to name five people who do, but the inconsistent usage of recruitment and other software technologies is certainly something to keep an eye on over the next few years.  As competition in the physician recruitment marketplace continues to increase, healthcare organizations of all sizes will continue to look for ways to gain an edge in attracting candidates to their searches.  In many cases, that edge can be gained through finding ways to implement technology solutions to create efficiency and improve communication channels with those they are trying to reach.

If you want to partner with a physician recruitment firm that combines decades of industry experience and access to the latest recruitment technologies, contact Jackson Physician Search today and learn more about what we can do for you.

The Jackson Physician Search team wishes to thank AAPPR for conducting such a well-conceived and informative survey and for allowing our sponsorship. You can download the full ‘Physician Recruitment Technology Utilization and Satisfaction Study’ here.

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