From Skeptic to Raving Fan: Rural Hospital Fills Two-year Vacancy in 11 Weeks

By

Six months is the average amount of time it takes to fill a Family Medicine vacancy, and for a rural hospital with limited resources, the search often takes even longer. Meanwhile, other physicians are picking up the slack to care for patients, risking an increase in burnout.

This unfortunate predicament was playing out for a rural Texas hospital that had spent two years trying to recruit the right physician. Other physician recruitment firms attempted to help, but the candidates they presented weren’t the right cultural fit. The hospital’s leadership prioritized long-term retention in their recruitment efforts and knew settling for a candidate would be a short-term solution at best. They had understandably grown frustrated with the process, and the CEO was skeptical that any recruitment firm would be able to fill the role.

Respectful of the CEO’s hesitancy to try another firm, Senior Vice President Dane Altman made a clear case for exactly how Jackson Physician Search would approach the search. Impressed with the transparency of our all-inclusive fee structure, 100% digital recruitment strategy, and Dane’s forthright communication style, the CEO decided to partner with us.

Our Mission, Rooted in Four Decades of Service in Healthcare, is to Always Deliver What We Promise.

As the physician recruiter teaming up with Dane, Senior Search Consultant Jeff Payne understood the hospital’s history and sought to provide assurance. With our mission in mind, Jeff laid out a clear plan for how often and what methods he would use to provide search updates.

Jeff’s primary contact had a wide variety of responsibilities, with hiring being just one. Nevertheless, she was engaged throughout the process. She emphasized that she was only interested in seeing candidates who met a specific list of criteria. Jeff used her direction to create a detailed profile from which he would build out the physician job description and marketing plan.

The hospital initially wanted to see six or seven strong candidates, however Jeff felt that would be doing them a disservice. He explained, “Evaluating seven physicians takes an organization a lot of time. Part of the value I bring is doing that work for them. My aim is to present two equally qualified physicians who will both be a great cultural fit. From there, they simply have to choose a favorite.”

Rural Hospital CEO Instrumental in Making Candidate Feel Welcomed and Valued.

A potential favorite emerged early in the form of Dr. D. She was finishing her residency in West Virginia and met all of the hospital’s criteria. Likewise, the smaller hospital in a semi-rural setting was appealing to the candidate.

After three successful phone interviews, the hospital invited Dr. D for an on-site interview. Due to prior commitments, a month and a half would pass before the candidate’s schedule would allow for the visit, however, Jeff ensured communication channels remained open. He anticipated that the hospital’s salary offer could be a sticking point for Dr. D, so he proactively began initial negotiations even before the on-site interview took place. Simultaneously, he kept a conversation going with Dr. D and worked to adjust her expectations.

As predicted, Dr. D’s visit went well. The hospital arranged for her to spend time with the experienced Family Medicine physician on staff who would be her mentor, and the two physicians hit it off. The hospital built in plenty of free time for Dr. D to explore the town. They had also identified some potential land for sale where she and her husband might do some hobby farming – something for which she had expressed an interest. Their careful attention to detail and efforts to help her envision a life in Texas made the decision an easy one for Dr. D.

The hospital was excited to finally extend an offer. While Jeff and the hospital coordinator handled the back-and-forth negotiations to finalize contract details, the CEO emailed Dr. D directly and invited her to contact him with any questions or concerns she had. Unsure of protocol, Dr. D asked Jeff if he thought she should reach out to the CEO. “I told her since he’d offered it to her, she could most certainly take him up on it,” explains Jeff. “The fact that he offered her that level of access, even before she was officially on board, says a lot about how much they valued her.” It also signaled to Dr. D that the organization prioritized open communication, an attractive quality in an employer.

From Search Initiation to Signed Contract in Just 11 Weeks!

Jeff attributes the quick success to our digital candidate sourcing strategy combined with consistent communication between all parties. Jeff particularly valued his working relationship with the liaison at the hospital. “We were both committed to open communication,” Jeff says. “She did a great job in helping to move the process forward.”

The feeling was mutual. The client provided overwhelmingly positive feedback about Jackson Physician Search, and specifically, Jeff.

“We were impressed with the transparency of the fee-structure, detailed preparation and presentation of our opportunity, and the communication throughout the process. [Jeff] was very results-oriented and paid close attention to our wants and needs for our search. This level of professionalism resulted in a quick positive outcome for our search, not to mention our recruiter’s knowledge, experience and work ethic is to be admired.”

If your organization is seeking a physician recruitment partner that will keep you informed every step of the way, Jackson Physician Search is ready to help. Contact a recruiter today.

[Infographic Guide] Win More Physicians: 6 Tips for a Best-in-Class Interview Experience

Physician recruitment can be a lengthy and costly process. A vacancy not only impacts your facility’s ability to care for patients, it also can have a detrimental effect on your bottom line…

Recruit with Physician Retention in Mind: Why Cultural Fit Matters

Put simply, organizational culture is the development and proliferation of a shared mission and vision that helps drive success. A healthy organization cultivates and rewards behaviors that are aligned with those values and strengthen the workplace culture…

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

By

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

By

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…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

By

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

By

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.

Medscape Reports New Survey Shows COVID Tied to Big Turnover of Docs

By

A Year of COVID Tied to Big Turnover Among Employed Docs: Survey

Expect more turnover among employed physicians, says Jackson Physician Search, a leading recruitment firm. And the turmoil in the field is at least partly due to the extra burden the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on clinicians, according to new survey data.

Based on survey responses from 400 practicing physicians and 86 administrators of healthcare organizations, a Jackson report finds that 54% of employed doctors are ready to make major career decisions. Of those physicians, 50% said they’re planning to switch employers; 21% are opting for early retirement, and 15% intend to quit medicine. The rest have other plans.

Thirty percent of the administrators said they’d already lost physicians during the pandemic. Coupling that with the physician responses to other questions, the Jackson report commented, “It appears a mass exit of talent is yet to come.”

(cont. on medscape.com)

Read the Entire Article on Medscape.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 Proof is in the Placement: How a Physician Group Recruited a Psychiatrist in 54 Days

By

Psychiatry is a very tough specialty to recruit. Just prior to the pandemic, U.S. News reported that more than 115 million Americans live in areas where there is a shortage of mental health providers. Undoubtedly, with the stress of COVID-19, the number of people seeking mental health services is rising. Yet, access has been dwindling since the 1980s. While primary care physicians have helped to bridge the gap, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects that the country will face a deficit of 3,400 psychiatrists by 2032.

Overcoming the Psychiatrist Shortage to Fill a Vacancy

An established behavioral health private practice with multiple locations throughout the mid-Atlantic region and a team of 45 therapists and 6 psychiatrists had just lost one of its psychiatrists. Eager to find a replacement as soon as possible, the group’s Vice President of Business Development did what most of us would do – she went online. Early in the search results, she saw a physician job description posted by Jackson Physician Search Senior Search Consultant Emily Franty and reached out to talk about her practice’s vacancy. After a brief conversation, Emily arranged for her to meet with Trevor Strauss, Regional Vice President of Business Development.

Trevor explained to the practice’s senior leadership team how Jackson Physician Search differentiates from other physician search firms with a vast digital footprint and nationwide reach. This technology-driven approach was extremely appealing to the group’s CEO and founder, who reiterated the need to quickly recruit a psychiatrist in order to meet patient demand. Typically, placing a psychiatrist can take 8 months or more, but Trevor assured the group that he and Emily would use every tool at their disposal to source the right candidates, fast.

Set for Success: Finding a Psychiatrist Who Would Thrive in the Role

Emily immediately dove in. She knew that the position would be attractive because it contained a blend of adult, outpatient clinical work, and telepsychiatry. Plus, the 20-year history and reputation of the practice would be a nice drawing card. Emily began utilizing the tools, technology, and comprehensive digital footprint at her disposal. A Forbes article notes that only 30% of candidates are actively seeking a new position, the remaining 70% are passively looking. Emily was confident that by casting a wide net, she would reach both active and passive physician candidates.

At the same time, Dr. K., a psychiatrist based on the East Coast, found himself questioning his desire to stay at his current job. The organization he was working for had undergone an ownership change, and Dr. K found that his practice philosophy was no longer aligned with the new corporate direction. He wasn’t aggressively seeking opportunities because of his family roots in the region, but Dr. K was keeping his eyes open for potential psychiatric job openings.

Dr. K saw the job description on a physician job board and was immediately intrigued. Because the vacancy’s clinical location was exactly what he was looking for, he got in touch with Emily.

“Excellence without effort is as futile as progress without preparation.” – William Arthur Warde

The group’s leadership team was extremely motivated. So, when Emily presented three well-qualified candidates, they acted with a sense of urgency. Within 48 hours, they had contacted the candidates and set up virtual meetings with each of them.

Dr. K. ultimately rose to the top of the list. Likewise, he was very impressed with the organization and support levels within the system for psychiatry referrals. Knowing they had an opportunity to land an esteemed psychiatrist, the practice kept the momentum moving forward. They were very flexible in their approach to coordinating virtual meetings, making sure to include key leadership and clinical staff members in the interview process. Once they had decided Dr. K was the right fit, they quickly presented a physician contract.

“It is so rewarding to help a client fill a need, especially a psychiatry position, knowing the difference that physician can have in a patient’s life. I am excited for the group and their future with Dr. K!”

– Emily Franty, Senior Search Consultant

Keys to a 54-day Psychiatry Placement:

Clearly, it is not realistic to expect every hard-to-fill physician vacancy, like Psychiatry, to go from search initiation to hire within 54 days, but many factors contributed to this success story. Here are just a few:

  1. The private practice knew that Jackson Physician Search’s digital physician recruitment strategy worked – in fact, they found us through one of our physician job posts.
  2. These digital physician recruitment strategies allow for sourcing a wide range of physicians including both active and passive candidates.
  3. The private practice moved with a sense of urgency and kept communication flowing.
  4. As it became clear that Dr. K was the right fit, the group had a contract prepared and ready to go. This ensured their ability to close the deal as quickly as possible.

If your organization has been struggling to find the right balance in your approach to filling physician vacancies, contact Jackson Physician Search to learn about the difference our digital recruitment strategies can make. Our recruitment professionals use a nationwide network of contacts and a digital reach that is unmatched in the industry.

[Infographic Guide] Effective Staffing Plans Consider These Factors

If you are working on your 2021 Staffing Plan and want to ensure your organization’s success, consider these three factors: the current state-of-the-market, retaining physicians, and planning for retirements. We dive into each in this helpful Infographic Guide…

[Case Study] How One Hospital Met Expanding Community Demand Through a Strategic Partnership

Challenge: Due to rapid community growth and its relatively close proximity to larger cities, a 230+ bed Maryland hospital was struggling to build a pipeline of physician candidates…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

Four Ways to Improve Communication and Increase Physician Engagement

By

Dr. M, heavily recruited out of med school, begins her career enthusiastic about the healthcare system that has hired her. Like many of her generation, she is uninterested in the business of running her own practice and feels she can better serve the community as part of an established healthcare organization. 

Dr. K spent the better part of a decade managing a private practice with his partners. The stress of running a business at times took away from what he sees as his primary purpose–helping patients. For this reason, he was open to and eventually excited about the opportunity to be acquired by a large healthcare system.

However, in the months and years that follow, both Dr. M and Dr. K feel less enthusiastic about their employers. They see the expectations placed on physicians as unrealistic, and yet, physician concerns go unheard. Dr. M’s supervisor regularly cancels or postpones their scheduled check-ins, and when those meetings do take place, she feels merely placated. Patients see Dr. K as the face of his organization, and yet, he has no real authority or autonomy to make decisions. Other physicians feel similarly, and as a result, the work environment has become unhealthy. What can be done?

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. This disconnect, or lack of engagement, can lead to physician burnout and turnover, which ultimately, have a negative impact on both patient care and revenue.

In the fall of 2020, Jackson Physician Search conducted a survey of physicians and administrators to understand their current views on physician retention, and specifically, how lack of engagement, burnout, and now, COVID-19 contribute to the problem. The findings, reported in the White Paper: On the Verge of a Physician Turnover Epidemic, suggest little has changed in recent years. In the Physician Retention Survey Results, nearly seven in ten physicians rated themselves as actively disengaged with their employer. Meanwhile, only 35% of administrators rated their physicians as actively disengaged.

Further questions about meetings at the organization, leadership training, and recognition programs shed light on the methods used to address physician engagement and how those efforts are perceived. Improving physician engagement will certainly require a multi-faceted approach, however, the single most important step may be enhancing communication.

Download the Physician Retention Survey Results

Why Communication Is the Key to Physician Engagement

When the C-suite thinks about improving communication with physicians, the first question is likely, “How can we better communicate our mission and objectives to our physicians?” However, the more appropriate question is, “How can we better listen to our physicians?” or “How can we make our physicians feel heard?”

If physician engagement is low (and the data suggests it most certainly is), leaders must first ask questions and listen to their physicians in order to understand what factors are contributing to the problem. Solutions won’t likely be immediately obvious, however, asking the right questions and encouraging physicians to speak freely may be half the battle.

A 2019 article in the Journal of Healthcare Leadership examined the antecedents of physician engagement, and “communication” was near the top of the list. The article cites multiple components of an effective communication strategy, including two-way communication, transparency, non-judgmental feedback, and data sharing. Administrators can adopt these tactics by focusing on the following four actions.

  1. Talk to Physicians

Though it may seem obvious, the most effective way to improve communication with physicians is to talk to them–and it’s worth adding–to encourage them to talk to you. Effective two-way communication means making time for meetings. Physicians should not only have regular check-ins with their supervisors, they should also attend periodic one-on-one meetings with key leaders. In the Jackson Physician Search Study, only half of physicians and administrators report consistent meetings between physicians and supervisors or other key leaders.

Of course, when “overworked” is at the top of the list of physicians’ problems, finding the time for meetings is an issue all its own. However, making time becomes easier when the positive impact of these meetings is clear. Ask physicians to provide a rating after each meeting to measure its effectiveness and adjust if the value is not apparent.

It’s important to note that formal meetings are not the only means of talking to physicians. In order to understand the challenges they face, administrators should develop multiple feedback channels including surveys and online forums. Leaders should make time to occasionally round with physicians or attend a pre-shift huddle. Take a physician to lunch or coffee. The insight they provide could be invaluable, and the encounter will go a long way toward increasing engagement.

  1. Encourage Honesty 

When talking with physicians, they must feel comfortable to speak freely about the problems as they see them. Issues should be acknowledged without judgement. Leadership has an opportunity to express empathy and support. Physicians may be asked to consider potential solutions and invited to present them at a future meeting. From there, they can collaborate on the best path forward.

Just as you encourage honesty from physicians, you must be honest with them. Organizational transparency is critical in any workplace culture, and this is especially true with physicians. They are highly educated, critical thinkers who often need to understand the big picture in order to buy into a policy. Share the data driving new policies and be clear about the reasons for requested actions. Physicians are more likely to embrace a change when they understand its significance.

  1. Invite Participation and Solutions

To further conversations and promote transparency, leadership should invite physicians to be a part of the decision-making process. While not every physician at the organization can have a seat at the table, their voices should be represented by a physician leader who listens to his or her peers and is willing to convey their thoughts and concerns to leadership.

However, physician representation should bring more to the conversation than complaints and observations. Invite physician leaders to be proactive in finding solutions. This might involve forming a committee of physicians willing to collaborate and solve problems. Schedule time for leadership to hear the ideas–but only if they are truly open to considering a new process or solution.

The impact of placing physicians in leadership roles goes beyond increasing engagement. As described in a 2019 article for Healthcare Management Review, hospitals with physicians in leadership and management positions received higher quality scores than those without physician leaders. The correlation is not surprising for a variety of reasons, one of which is the known impact of physician engagement on the quality of care. If physician leadership increases engagement, one would expect quality scores to increase under physician leadership.

  1. Measure and Share Results

Effective communication doesn’t end with a survey or suggestion box. As discussed, healthcare leaders must listen to physicians in order to understand their challenges, but the goal of these conversations should be to identify potential solutions. Not every idea will be successful, so it’s critical that the impact of the change is measured and shared with physicians.

Where the data shows a positive impact, leadership should strive to scale the solution. Where the data does not support the change, they can adjust the course of action. Even when a new process does not prove effective, the willingness to change the status quo demonstrates that leadership is listening and taking steps to address concerns.

Increasing physician engagement requires a multifaceted approach. However, before the issue can be fully addressed, administrators must consider the status of communication at their organization.  If they don’t have multiple channels for listening to physician feedback, they cannot begin to address the reasons for a lack of engagement.

Fortunately, improving communication begins with the series of simple actions outlined here: talk to physicians, encourage honesty, invite participation, and measure and share results. Leaders can also address the issue on the front end by hiring physicians with excellent communication skills who fit the culture of transparency.

The Jackson Physician Search recruitment team excels at helping healthcare organizations recruit and retain physicians who are a good fit both clinically and culturally. Contact us today to learn more.

Recruit with Physician Retention in Mind: Why Cultural Fit Matters

Put simply, organizational culture is the development and proliferation of a shared mission and vision that helps drive success. A healthy organization cultivates and rewards behaviors that are aligned with those values and strengthen the workplace culture…

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.

New Year, New Physician: A Georgia Private Practice Started 2021 by Welcoming a New Physician

By

A private group of orthopedic clinics and outpatient surgery centers with locations throughout Georgia needed to quickly recruit a family medicine physician in order to meet increasing patient demand. On December 1, 2020, Jackson Physician Search Senior Search Consultant Ross Hegenwald was selected to lead the charge.

With the holidays fast approaching and determined to meet the group’s sense of urgency, he immediately conducted a site visit to gather all the details he would need to find a physician who not only met the qualifications but would fit in with the group. Hiring for cultural fit is imperative with any search as long-term physician retention begins with a doctor whose beliefs align closely with the organization.

“Strong Interest” from the Start

Less than 48-hours after our partnership commenced, our 100% digital sourcing process was put into action. The physician job description was published on several physician job boards, on physician-forward social network Doximity, and distributed via email to our robust database of physicians. A few days later, Ross received an email from Dr. P with the subject line, “Strong Interest.”

In the email, Dr. P explained that he was finishing up a sports medicine fellowship in Savannah, Georgia. He had seen the physician job description posted online and wanted to learn more. Ross called him that very night and it was during this conversation that Ross said his intuition kicked in. He listened carefully to everything Dr. P was looking for, and Ross immediately knew the position would check all of those boxes. Likewise, Dr. P appeared to be everything the client wanted.

“Sometimes your intuition just kicks in. I had a really good feeling that this was going to happen.”  

– Ross Hegenwald, Senior Search Consultant

Ross passed along Dr. P’s information to the client immediately, and the practice manager called him the next day. Ross appreciated the quick response. “Timely communication is so critical in placing physicians,” he said. They were off to a great start.

A Perfect Match

Despite the sports medicine requirement, the job would not largely involve the treatment of athletes. Most of the clinic’s patients suffered from chronic pain, so the new physician would spend a majority of time administering injections. What could have been a turn off for some applicants was exactly what Dr. P was hoping to find. The impressive base salary – with a productivity-based option for more – was certainly attractive, but it was clear to Ross that Dr. P’s interest was about more than money. The specifics of this particular job in an Atlanta-area location made the position exactly what Dr. P wanted.

With this confirmed, the next step would be to find out if Ross’s instincts were right. Would the client like Dr. P as much as he suspected they would? After several productive conversations with the partners, Dr. P’s on-site interview was scheduled for December 21st.

As Ross knew they would, Dr. P and the partners hit it off. The exceptional on-site interview and facility tour confirmed for Dr. P that the job was everything he was looking for, and Dr. P’s enthusiasm for the work, coupled with his down-to-earth manner, made him a great cultural fit for the group.

They extended an offer on January 1st – just one month from the date of search initiation.

The Importance of Timing and Intuition in Physician Recruiting

Ross attributes the quick success to the transparent and timely communication between everyone involved. Dr. P sent an email to Ross as soon as he saw the job description online. Ross called Dr. P on a Friday night and immediately had a good feeling about him. The client called the very next day, a Saturday, and set up additional calls with the partners. All parties were motivated to keep the process moving and respectful of each other’s time. Physician recruiting is competitive and a strong recruitment partnership often requires going above and beyond, which is why it was so pivotal that both Ross and the practice manager worked beyond standard business hours to reach Dr. P.

The speed at which Ross was able to find and present a strong candidate impressed the client, and as a mark of their confidence, they’ve asked Jackson Physician Search to lead searches at two additional locations.

Recruiting physicians isn’t an exact science. Certainly, there are necessary steps involved – crafting a job description, advertising the position, broadcasting the need to an existing network – but so many other factors come into play. Timing obviously matters – is the time right for the physician to make a move? Can the clinic wait for the right physician to finish a fellowship? But the timing of communication is also critical. In the competitive physician market, everyone involved in the recruitment process must be willing to work together and act quickly.

If your physician recruitment efforts have stalled and you’re not sure why, perhaps it’s time to trust the timing and intuition of a physician recruitment firm with proven success. The team at Jackson Physician Search is ready to help you find your perfect match. Contact a recruiter today.

Recruit with Physician Retention in Mind: Why Cultural Fit Matters

Put simply, organizational culture is the development and proliferation of a shared mission and vision that helps drive success. A healthy organization cultivates and rewards behaviors that are aligned with those values and strengthen the workplace culture…

Physician Recruiter Saves Orthopedic Surgeon from Almost Missing His Dream Job

We successfully placed an Orthopedic Surgeon with an Arkansas hospital five years ago and, when that physician departed for personal reasons, the hospital came back to Regional Vice President Gary Seaberg to find a replacement…

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 White Paper on Physician Retention Featured in Fierce Healthcare Article

By

COVID-19 is exacerbating physician retention and burnout. Here are some tips to address it.

A surprisingly large percentage are considering leaving the practice of medicine entirely, planning to retire early, or leaving to work for another employer, based on a survey of 485 physicians and administrators by Jackson Physician Search.

COVID-19’s impact on front-line healthcare staff will unfold for years to come, but it appears to have already had an effect on physicians’ career plans, according to a new survey.

A surprisingly large percentage are considering leaving the practice of medicine entirely, planning to retire early, or leaving to work for another employer, based on a survey of 485 physicians and administrators by Jackson Physician Search.

The financial realities of physician turnover are staggering. Recruitment costs can add up to $250,000 or more per physician, including sourcing, relocation, and sign-on bonus, according to the survey. Plus, lost revenue can easily exceed $1 million during a specialist vacancy.

(cont. on fiercehealthcare.com)

Read the Entire Article on FierceHealthcare.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.