3 Steps to Forecast Physician Retirements


As the healthcare industry faces the challenge of an aging physician workforce, individual healthcare administrators must promptly find ways to manage increasing physician retirements within their organizations. However, the most commonly proposed solutions — educating and training more physicians, increasing the number of residency spots, making it easier for foreign-trained physicians to get licensed, etc. — alone won’t solve the immediate obstacles created by physician retirements happening now and in the near future.    

So what can administrators do to ease dilemmas created by physician retirements? Certainly, there are steps to take in response to a physician’s retirement announcement that will ease the aftermath, but a more proactive approach involving industry research, internal surveys, and open communication will allow you to forecast retirements, so you can prepare for a seamless transition.

Forecasting Physician Retirements: The First Step in Succession Planning

The most proactive thing healthcare administrators can do to ease the impact of physician retirements is to develop a forecasting system so they can better prepare for the eventual reality. This first step in succession planning, forecasting physician retirements, may seem obvious, and yet, most organizations don’t have a physician succession plan in place. According to the latest physician retirement research from Jackson Physician Search, 69% of administrators reported they do not have formal succession plans at their organizations. 

Succession plans aren’t the only things administrators are missing. A recent STAT poll from MGMA found a majority of medical groups (77%) do not have a formal physician retention plan, a process that, when implemented, is likely to lengthen the amount of time physicians work with organizations before they retire. Both succession plans and retention plans play essential roles in solving workforce challenges at healthcare organizations, including those related to physician retirements.   

Research Industry Data on Physician Retirements, Turnover, and Retention

What is the average age of physician retirement? Which specialties have the highest number of physicians nearing retirement? What is the average time-to-fill in your market for the specialists you’ll need? The answers to these questions and other industry data points can help administrators make educated guesses about when physicians are most likely to retire and how much time it will take to replace them. The aforementioned physician retirement report from Jackson Physician Search is full of useful data points covering not just the when but the why and how physicians tend to retire. 

Download the Physician Retirement Survey Results

In addition to physician retirement trends, administrators must consider the community’s needs and the organization’s plans for growth and then determine how the projected physician retirements will impact both. When there are inevitable retirement-related vacancies and the need for expansion, a dedicated physician recruitment partner can be a true asset in your organization’s physician recruitment journey. A physician recruitment partner allows your organization to connect with various top physicians catered to your organization and community’s needs so that everyone can move forward and adapt with a team they’re confident in. 

Conduct an Internal Survey to Estimate Physician Retirements

Gather data on the physicians currently on staff to understand their demographics, specialties, skill sets, and patient volumes. Use this internal data, along with your industry research, to create a timeline that estimates the number of physicians likely to retire in each specialty for the foreseeable future. Industry data on physician retention can help you estimate other attrition as well. 

The survey also presents an opportunity to ask physicians about job satisfaction. Invite physicians to share which issues contribute to their dissatisfaction as well as what they like most about working at the organization. Use this information to create a physician retention plan that speaks to the issues causing the dissatisfaction and strives to make physicians happier in their job and, therefore, more likely to delay retirement. 

Normalize Talking About Physician Retirement Plans

According to Jackson Physician Search’s research, administrators prefer physicians to give more than one year of notice prior to retirement, and yet most physicians believe three-six months is a reasonable amount of time. So, if administrators want more time to plan, they must start talking about retirement plans much earlier. We advise initiating a physician retirement conversation with every physician beginning at the age of 55. The discussion can be casual as it is simply an attempt to gauge their short and long-term plans. Of course, their plans may evolve considerably in the years between 55 and 65, but by starting the conversation well in advance and revisiting it regularly, you will remove any awkwardness surrounding the topic. 

The retirement conversation should be ongoing and involve questions not only about timing but also about how physicians envision making the transition to retirement. Do they think they will want to shift to part-time or take on a more consultative role as they ease into full retirement? Make sure to provide them with options that allow them to keep working in some capacity as long as they are willing and able. Express support for their desires and choices and encourage them to be open with you as their timelines and intentions change.


While no one can predict the exact number and timing of physician retirements, there are proven steps administrators can take to be much more prepared for retirements whenever they occur. When it comes to succession planning, start by forecasting physician retirements via external research, surveying internal physicians, and fostering open communication. Additional useful tactics involve identifying a physician recruitment partner, creating a timeline, and making a contingency plan. By projecting physician retirements and detailing the actions required when a physician gives notice, the organization lessens the burden felt throughout the practice and ensures continuity of patient care.

Are you beginning to prepare for an incoming wave of physician retirements? The team at Jackson Physician Search has the experience and expertise to advise and accelerate your efforts. Reach out today to learn more.

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Big Shoes to Fill: Physician Recruiter  Finds Foot and Ankle Surgeon to Replace Departing Physician Executive

Director of Recruiting Olivia Georgia works closely with a client to refine the candidate profile and find the perfect foot and ankle surgeon to replace a well-respected physician at the close-knit group…

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Big Shoes to Fill: Physician Recruiter Finds Foot and Ankle Surgeon to Replace Departing Physician Executive


When a well-respected foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. P, took a physician executive job at a Western Colorado regional hospital, she knew it could be challenging for the group she was leaving to discover the particular candidate needed as her replacement. Most of the physicians in the private practice had been working together for a decade or more, and finding the right fit would be essential. As the new Chief Medical Officer at the hospital, she would continue to work closely with the group, and it was in everyone’s best interest for her to help them find a replacement to fill the role she was leaving behind.

In her new role as hospital CMO, Dr. P decided to be proactive by initiating a search with the hospital’s existing physician recruitment partner, Jackson Physician Search. While the partners at the group initially believed they did not need external help finding the right candidate, they got on board after Director of Recruiting Olivia Georgia presented them with data on the physician shortage and the average time-to-fill for similar searches. However, they insisted they would not compromise their standards and would only hire someone if he or she was indeed the perfect fit.

Olivia committed to doing everything she could to find the right physician for the role. She would begin by learning as much as she could about what the stakeholders wanted, but she knew from past experience that the picture would become even clearer after she received feedback on candidates the partners did not like. The physician recruitment process could be tedious, but she was confident she would find the perfect candidate to fill the shoes of the departing Dr. P.  

Preparing for a VIP Search

Olivia listened carefully to the partners and Dr. P to learn exactly what they wanted in an ideal candidate for this important role. Dr. P had been the only foot and ankle surgeon in the region for years and was focused on finding the physician she knew her patients would respond best to, while the partners wanted someone clinically impressive who would be a team player and get along with everyone in the group. 

In the early days of the partnership, Olivia had visited the regional facility to meet the hospital’s leaders and familiarize herself with the community. She knew from four previous successful placements with the hospital that some candidates would be drawn to the area’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation while others would be turned off by the fact that it was a five-hour drive from Denver. 

Even though the location could be a pro or a con, the group itself was an attractive employer. It had a well-established patient base and was backed by the 72-bed regional hospital. The job came with a path to partnership, and work-life balance was a priority for all the partners. It was undoubtedly an enticing opportunity, and Olivia did not struggle to find interested candidates; however, Dr. P and the partners felt these candidates could have been better-fit personality-wise. Never discouraged, Olivia asked questions each time to help draw a clearer picture in her mind of who would be that “just right” candidate. 

An Impressive Resident with Ties to the Area

When Dr. B reached out to Olivia after seeing the job ad, Olivia sensed that this candidate might be the one. He was in his final year of residency at an impressive Texas program, which Olivia knew the partners would like. He also had ties to the region; his wife’s family was in Utah, and he had grown up in Idaho. Most importantly, based on the phone conversation, she believed his personality would mesh seamlessly with the organization. Olivia also felt the group was a good fit for Dr. B’s needs. The location was ideal for him, and he shared the priority of work-life balance, so he was attracted to the idea of joining an established practice where call would be manageable. 

Olivia presented Dr. B to Dr. P and stressed the need to act quickly. As a 2023 resident, he would be making a commitment soon. Dr. P called him right away, and the two hit it off. She soon scheduled an on-site physician interview so he could tour the facility and meet the partners face to face. 

The on-site interview was seamless. Dr. B impressed the partners, and the feeling was mutual. He and his wife enjoyed a dinner with Dr. P and several of the partners as well as a community tour that highlighted the town’s natural beauty and the many outdoor recreational activities in the area, which thrilled Dr. B and his nature-loving family. When the offer came in, Dr. B knew what his answer would be. 

The Secret of Physician Recruitment Success

Olivia’s ongoing partnership with the hospital has brought many successes and is made possible by Olivia’s persistence in finding qualified candidates for the group as well as her ability to take feedback from each “no,” to better understand who would be a “yes.” Because of these tactics, by the time she connected with Dr. B, she had a clear picture of who she was looking for and recognized Dr. B as that person right away.  

As a retained recruitment partner, Olivia was able to fully understand the needs of the group, and with each candidate turned away, she learned a little more about who they needed. The feedback provided by the partners and Dr. P was essential, but Olivia’s ability to take the feedback and adapt her approach was the true secret of physician recruitment success. 

Does your organization have an important role to fill? As a retained physician recruitment partner, Jackson Physician Search will work to fully understand your needs and refine the ideal candidate profile until we find exactly who you are looking for. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.

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4 Reasons More Organizations Are Hiring Physician Executives


While physicians have long been thought of as leaders in the community, the last decade has seen an increase in the number of physician executives leading healthcare organizations. However, a broader look at the timeline reveals the current percentage is still much lower than it was nearly a century ago. In an article for the Journal of Hospital Administration, author Amol K. Gupta notes that the number of physician-led healthcare organizations has decreased by 90% since 1935. Upon the article’s writing, in 2019, only 5% of healthcare organizations were led by physician executives. 

While we may not see this percentage achieve its historical high, for a number of reasons, we can expect to see a continued increase in the number of physician-led organizations. Keep reading to learn more about why we will continue to see an increasing number of organizations hiring physician executives. 

Higher Quality Scores Correlate with Physician CEOs

The US News and World Report’s annual list of the nation’s best hospitals hold a disproportionate number of physician-led organizations. Despite the fact that only a small percentage of healthcare organizations have physician CEOs, more than half of the organizations on the list are led by physician executives, including familiar names such as the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins. 

The aforementioned article for the Journal of Hospital Administration explored how leaders’ professional backgrounds might influence the quality of the healthcare organizations they lead. The author notes a correlation between these physician-led organizations and higher quality scores. However, further research is required to prove causation is the professional background and not some other quality or characteristic those CEOs have in common. Certainly, the indication that the presence of physician CEOs increases quality scores is one reason more organizations are seeking to hire physician executives. 

Physician Executives Improve Communication 

The benefits of physician executive leadership are many, though often the first to come to mind is their usefulness as liaisons between hospital leadership and medical staff. Because they have direct experience with patients, physician executives may garner more trust and respect from staff than other executives. As a result, news of policy changes and other decisions may be more easily digested when it comes from a physician leader. Physician executives also bring a clinical perspective to the boardroom, ensuring administrators understand the potential impact of their decisions on clinical staff and patients. 

In this way, physician executives are able to improve the lines of communication between clinical staff and administration, which ranks high in importance for most physicians. In a 2022 JPS-MGMA study, physicians ranked two-way communication with management as the most important factor in job satisfaction — above compensation. However, when asked to rate their employers in this area, just one in four said two-way communication at their organization was “good” or “very good.” Physician executives are well positioned to improve in this area and thus increase physician job satisfaction at their organizations.  

Market Creating More Physician Leaders

In order to stay relevant in today’s market, healthcare organizations must act more like corporations, with patients as customers. This corporatization of medicine is creating more business-minded physicians. In the past, physicians were focused primarily on diagnosing and delivering care. Now, physicians in every type of practice setting are all too aware of the need to grow the patient base, obtain referrals and positive online reviews, and of course, stay up to date on insurance-related issues. For these reasons, every physician receives an education in the business of healthcare from day one.

While many receive this education by default, still others are doubling down on their advanced degrees, either opting to pursue an MBA alongside their MD or choosing to go back to school for an MHA or MBA while working full-time as a physician. The number of physicians who also have a business degree is increasing annually

As more and more physicians gain the foundational business skills required to lead healthcare organizations, the candidate pool for physician executive jobs expands, making it more likely that organizations will be able to hire physicians for executive jobs successfully. 

Role of Physician Executive Evolving

As organizations seek new ways to reach patients and improve the way care is delivered, they will need leaders who not only understand business but who are also experts in the services sold — in this case, healthcare. Now more than ever, organizations need physician executives who not only serve as a bridge between administration, clinical staff, and patients; they need physician executives to think strategically about how to grow the patient base and innovate on the best ways to deliver care. The role of physician executive is evolving, and as it expands, physician executives will only become more valuable to the organizations they serve.

If your organization is seeking a physician executive to lead your organization, the Physician Executive Search team at Jackson Physician Search is eager to leverage our considerable network to help you find the best physician leader for your organization. Every physician executive role is unique, and we look forward to learning more about your needs. Reach out today for more information.

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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The Resident and the Retiree: New Physician Recruiter Secures Two Family Medicine Physicians for Virginia Urgent Care Center


As a Research Consultant for Jackson Physician Search, Katherine Hurford was frequently involved in successful physician placements throughout the Eastern division. Her dedication to proactive physician sourcing made her one of the most productive Research Consultants in the Alpharetta office, so it was no surprise when she was promoted to Search Consultant last year. In her new role, she would continue to leverage her thorough sourcing methods to serve clients directly. 

One of her first clients was a group of urgent care centers in coastal Virginia. In order to keep up with patient demand, administrators wanted to add at least one Family Medicine physician, possibly two. Katherine immediately proved she was up to the task by quickly presenting candidates from all over the country at various stages of their careers. From a third-year resident finishing his training in Colorado to a West Virginia-based retiree looking for a flexible physician job, both candidates were excellent matches for the organization and were found in fewer than 90 days. 

Proactive Physician Sourcing 

As the group of urgent care centers saw more patients, more help was needed to keep up with demand. They were looking for someone willing to spend time in several different clinics approximately 30 minutes apart. The proposed schedule was flexible, which made the opportunity attractive, but having to travel between the clinics would likely be seen as a negative by candidates. Katherine mentally prepared for those conversations and got to work crafting and distributing the job description through the Jackson Physician Search network of job boards. 

It wasn’t in her nature to sit back and wait for applications. Her time as a Research Consultant made her an expert communicator, so she searched the databases for physicians matching her criteria and started making calls. 

“I left a lot of voicemails,” laughs Katherine. “But sometimes I’d connect, and for the most part, the physicians were willing to hear about the opportunity. And then every once in a while, one would say ‘Tell me more…’ and that was just the opening I needed.”

A Resident With an Eye on the Location

One such opening came right away from Dr. L, a Family Medicine physician finishing his residency in Colorado. Katherine’s enthusiasm about the opportunity shone through over the phone, and Dr. L agreed to be presented for the job. When she learned that he and his wife had an upcoming visit planned to see family in the area, she knew the client would need to move quickly. 

Katherine presented Dr. L to the client and urged the administrator to call him right away. If the call went well, they would need to do everything possible to schedule an interview during his already-planned visit. The administrator understood the need to keep momentum with an interested candidate.

“The client’s ability to act quickly was critical in the success of this placement,” says Katherine. “If you aren’t able to keep the process moving, candidates often lose interest. We weren’t going to let that happen.”

Dr. L was able to interview during that trip, and the admin quickly made an offer, which was gladly accepted. Impressed with her rapid results, the administrator initiated a second search with Katherine. 

A Retiree Looking to Get Back in the Game

Katherine found the second physician by contacting Family Medicine physicians already in the area. Dr. W had recently retired from a full-time position and was staying busy with some part-time work at a clinic attached to a grocery store. The part-time work wasn’t particularly challenging, though, and when Katherine told him about the flexible schedule that came with the urgent care job, he was interested. Even the change of scenery that came with rotating through the various locations was appealing.  Similar to the responses of many physicians in our Preparing for the Wave of Physician Retirement Survey, Dr. W felt that even though he would soon approach retirement age, he still had much to give if the circumstances were right.

Once again, Katherine presented him to the client and expressed the need to act quickly. The administrator called Dr. W and invited him to interview immediately. The interview proved the opportunity to be a great fit, and soon Dr. W was signing a contract. 

The Importance of Momentum

Katherine’s initiative and expertise in physician sourcing certainly accelerated the success of these searches. She knew exactly how to navigate the various physician databases, allowing her to hone in on the physicians most likely to be both qualified and interested in the job. Her willingness to make countless calls and successfully convey the opportunity to potential candidates is to be commended. 

Equally important, however, was the client’s ability to act quickly and build on the excitement that Katherine had created around the opportunity. Because the client called candidates right away and scheduled interviews as soon as possible, the momentum of the process never slowed. Katherine and the client worked well in this regard. Katherine promptly presented qualified candidates, and the client was quick to move the process forward—resulting in two successful placements in fewer than 90 days.   

If you are seeking a partner who will proactively source candidates who meet your needs, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search has the national reach and regional expertise you need. Reach out today to learn more.

[Infographic Guide] 4 Physician Hiring Trends to Inform Your Recruitment Strategy

In a 2023 report, Physician Recruitment Trends: Responding to a Changing Post-Pandemic Market, the Jackson Physician Search Regional Vice Presidents of Recruiting share notable hiring trends and takeaways for clients….

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[Infographic Guide] 4 Physician Hiring Trends to Inform Your Physician Recruitment Strategy


Despite the tightening physician recruitment market, Jackson Physician Search is placing more physicians year after year, and the average number of days it takes to place them has decreased. This demonstrates that physicians can indeed be found when the recruitment process is strategic, and the offer is right.

This leads to the question,”What does it take to recruit a physician in the current market?”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but in a 2023 report, Physician Recruitment Trends: Responding to a Changing Post-Pandemic Market, the Jackson Physician Search Regional Vice Presidents of Recruiting, based in offices around the country, discuss their clients’ most pressing challenges and share the recruitment strategies they find most effective in today’s evolving market. The key physician hiring trends and takeaways are as follows.

4 Physician Hiring Trends and How to Respond

A recent report from Jackson Physician Search, Physician Recruitment Trends: Responding to a Changing Post-Pandemic Market, identifies several developments in the national recruitment market. The following four trends, seen in our placement data and observed by our tenured physician recruitment team, serve to inform your approach to the tightening market. 

Physician Hiring Trend #1: Increasing Need for Primary Care, Mental Health, and Advanced Practice Providers

  • Primary care placements increased 24% in 2022, with OBGYNs seeing the most growth. 
  • Mental health placements increased 85% from 2020 to 2022 as mental health problems climbed nationwide. 
  • Nurse Practitioner placements in 2022 were 4 times the volume of NP placements in 2020. 
  • Demand for CRNAs is at an all-time high, as are the rates to staff them.

Takeaway: Know which specialties are in the highest demand and be prepared to try something new in your recruitment strategy, be it a signing bonus, more flexibility, or broader search parameters. 

Physician Hiring Trend #2: Rising Demand for Specialists Who Care for Broad Patient Panels

Specialists coming out of training today want to focus on a subspecialty and treat patients in their niche area of expertise rather than a broad patient panel. However, organizations need specialists who will see a broad patient panel, as many retiring specialists do today, specifically neurologists, urologists, and ENTs.

Takeaway: Get creative to find ways a subspecialist can pursue his or her passion while also providing care for the broader panel of patients. 

Physician Hiring Trend #3: More Signing Bonuses and Higher Salaries

Signing bonuses, once nice to have, are now standard, and starting salary guarantees are often above the median as reported by MGMA DataDive Provider Compensation

  • Nationally, 3 out of 4 placements included signing bonuses.
  • In the Midwest, 92% of placements had signing bonuses attached, and 60% had salary guarantees above the median.

Takeaway: A signing bonus may not be in the budget, but when you factor in lost revenue caused by a vacancy and the cost of a locum tenens provider, if it allows you to fill the position faster, a bonus will save the organization money in the long run. 

Physician Hiring Trend #4: Shifting Expectations

Physicians old and young seek better work-life balance. 

  • Flexible schedules such as a 4-day work week, 7 on / 7 off, or 3 weeks per month are increasingly standard.
  • More or unlimited paid time off, paid sabbaticals, medical mission opportunities, job sharing―organizations are getting creative in order to differentiate themselves and satisfy new expectations.  
  • Specialists that can work via telehealth (psychiatry, radiology) are difficult to recruit for positions that require them to be in the office full-time.

Takeaway: Organizations that offer flexible schedules, more paid time off, and the option to spend time working remotely are more likely to succeed in attracting and retaining physicians.  

The market is always changing. Trust a physician recruitment partner with national reach and regional expertise to advise on what’s happening in your specific market.  Reach out to the Jackson Physician Search Team today.  

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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Despite Tiny Candidate Pool, Recruiter finds Physician to Launch a New Program and Plant Roots in a Western Rural Community


Based in Jackson Physician Search’s Denver office, Senior Search Consultant Misha Fabick knows all too well the specific challenges of recruiting physicians in the western region. While clients in small, remote areas often struggle to attract enough candidates, others, usually in the more picturesque mountain towns, may get applicants but have difficulty with retention. For the latter, the Jackson Physician Search approach of recruiting with retention in mind is especially important.

“Sometimes physician candidates have an idea of what they think life will be like out west, but that first winter can be a harsh reality,” explains Misha. “So occasionally clients partner with us, not because they need help finding someone, but because they need help finding someone who will stay.”

Recruiting for Physician Retention

This was precisely the focus of one of Misha’s clients, a private orthopedic group in an idyllic mountain town. The partners had decided to launch a pain management and rehab program and needed someone who could start the program and run it independently for the foreseeable future. The ideal candidate would be experienced enough to successfully meet the challenge and, ideally, have ties to the area with a desire to put down roots.  

It was a tall order. The type of experience needed was very specific, and there were relatively few fellowships for the specialty. Misha did extensive research to identify a few other paths a candidate might have taken to obtain the necessary experience, but it was still a small candidate pool.

Nevertheless, the location was a draw, so Misha had a number of applicants. However, as she spoke to each of them, she found most had the right experience but did not have ties to the area. She had yet to come across a candidate who indicated the location would be a good long-term fit. Misha recognized that the person she was looking for–a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist who had once lived in the region and wanted to return–may not exist. Still, she wasn’t willing to accept this without using every available resource.

Knowing When to Take a Proactive Approach 

Misha continued to screen applicants but decided also to take a more proactive approach. She used her access to the Profiles database to look for physicians in the right specialty with ties to the region. Her search ultimately led her to Dr. C, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician completing his training in Dallas. Dr. C was from Montana, and his in-laws lived in the very town where the group was located. In fact, his mother-in-law was a patient of the practice! 

Misha’s only pause was due to the fact that Dr. C would be fresh out of training. The partners specifically wanted a candidate with enough experience to launch a program and run it independently. However, her instincts told her this candidate had what it takes. She talked with him at length about what the role required, the experience he had gained in training, and how he felt about the challenge. Ultimately, she believed Dr. C’s extensive training had prepared him for the role. He, too, felt confident in his ability to successfully launch and run the program.

Trusting Physician Recruiting Instincts

So, despite the group’s instructions not to bring them candidates straight out of training, Misha trusted her instincts and presented Dr. C– along with the reasons she felt they should make an exception and consider him a serious candidate. 

“They were open to talking to him, which is a huge credit to them,” says Misha. “Had they stuck to their original criteria, they would have missed out on him completely.” 

One phone conversation was all it took for the partners to see the same potential in Dr. C that Misha did. They invited him for an on-site interview as soon as possible, which was arranged for the next month. The interview went predictably well, and Dr. C and his wife were able to extend the trip to a visit with family. Clearly, their ties to the area were strong, which reinforced the client’s desire to bring him on board. 

Negotiating the details of the partnership took some time, but within a few months, the contract was signed, and Dr. C will begin with the group upon completing his fellowship this summer.

Secrets of Physician Recruitment Success

Misha took matters into her own hands. Despite an abundance of applicants, she proactively leveraged her resources to find a candidate with ties to the area. Then, when the candidate checked nearly all of the client’s boxes with the exception of one, she trusted her instincts and presented him anyway.

“It’s always a risk,” says Misha, “When you present a candidate who isn’t everything the client has asked for, but in this case, I had to follow my instincts. Fortunately, the client was extremely happy that I did!”

Misha’s proactive approach was critical to the success of the search, but equally important was the client’s openness to speaking with a candidate who didn’t check every box. Because they trusted Misha, they were willing to give Dr. C a chance. As a result, the client hired a qualified physician who is eager to put down roots in the area and grow with the organization.  

If your organization is struggling to find candidates who are likely to stay for the long term, a Jackson Physician Search recruitment specialist in your region can help you connect with physicians who are both a clinical and cultural match. Reach out today to learn more.

[White Paper] Preparing for the Wave of Physician Retirements Survey Results

A new report from Jackson Physician Search reveals the current thinking on physician retirements, according to both physicians and administrators. Download the whitepaper for the key takeaways from this important research…

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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What to Expect from a Physician Executive Recruitment Partner


Can physician executives lead the healthcare industry through these unprecedented times? Physician CEOs lead some of the most respected and successful healthcare organizations, and the trend is catching on. Healthcare organizations increasingly recognize the value that physicians bring to healthcare leadership roles and are hiring more physician executives

There is little doubt that an intelligent physician executive has the potential to bring tremendous benefits to an organization. However, identifying and hiring a qualified physician executive who will be effective in your organization is no small task. This is why many organizations will partner with a trusted physician executive search firm to help them establish and execute an effective search.   

What should you expect from a physician executive search partner? To find out, we asked Dirk Jansson, Director of Physician Executive Search at Jackson Physician Search, to share the process he outlines for clients as he prepares them for an effective search.  

Expect to Spend Considerable Time Upfront Defining the Role of Physician Executive

Perhaps the most important part of the physician executive search process is defining what the role looks like at your organization and coming to a consensus with all stakeholders about what the ideal candidate looks like. 

“If our client organization can calibrate this correctly on the front end, it can make a major difference in the timeline of the search,” says Dirk. “If we present candidates who fit the criteria that one administrator has about the role, but other decision-makers covet a different set of qualifications, those candidates will likely be rejected, and it’s possible you are back at square one 60-90 days into the search.” 

Dirk stresses that the role of physician executive is unique in every organization. There is no template job description, so it’s imperative that all stakeholders agree on what is needed from the role at your specific organization. Once clear, a good physician executive search partner can help you identify an acceptable compensation range for the role. However, what the physician executive job entails varies drastically, so there is not always clear market data on compensation for the role. For this reason, clients must expect to be flexible on compensation and be prepared to offer compensation commensurate with the criteria they set. 

Expect a Targeted Pool of Physician Executive Candidates

In a traditional physician search, a recruiter can pull data on the number of physicians in a given specialty in the market and then use statistics to estimate what percentage of those specialists are likely seeking a new job. This gives you an idea of the size of the pool of potential candidates for your physician job. There is no equivalent formula to determine the size of the pool of potential physician executives for your role. This is because the requirements of your specific job are more nuanced and unique to your organization. Finding any one candidate, much less a “pool” of candidates, who checks all the boxes and is open to accepting a new position is challenging. There is a reason you’ll occasionally hear recruiters say they are “searching for a unicorn.” 

That’s not to say the ideal candidate for your role doesn’t exist. Dirk explains: 

“Typically, after around 60-75 days, our team has vetted enough prospects to provide a comprehensive analysis of the true candidate market, including a rolling slate of the most qualified and interested candidates for our client to interview.  

“Occasionally, a search’s criteria is so specific that the market analysis indicates an especially limited pool of qualified and attainable prospects, or that the attainable ones are not in the established “price range.” In those cases, we’ve often been able to identify alternative experiences/qualifications that closely resemble or simulate the unmatched criteria or have details on the compensation range needed to secure the target candidate, and we’ll use that data to consult and collaborate with our clients on how best to move forward. Ultimately, we’re going to give our clients all the information they need in order to be comfortable and confident with whatever decision they make.”    

Expect a Proactive, Network-Driven Approach

Online physician job boards and job alert emails are essential for effective physician recruitment in a digital world. Likewise, a comprehensive physician executive recruitment strategy will also leverage these tools. However, because of the unique candidate requirements, it is unusual for the majority of incoming applications to be from qualified physician executive candidates. In addition, most physician leaders who are qualified for executive roles are simply not actively seeking new jobs. So, while a well-distributed physician executive job advertisement may elicit a few qualified applicants, a physician executive search team will spend extensive time proactively researching and building a pool of potential candidates. 

“In building the target candidate pool, we look at all aspects of the client, including geographical location, organizational size, type, and setting, and the scope and functional needs of the specific role. Then, a strong research team will use a suite of best-in-class resources to identify a list of prospects that are most likely to be qualified for and interested in the opportunity. Among other activities, they may cross-reference an internal database or use a social platform to network,” says Dirk. “And then finally, when a search consultant reaches out, it doesn’t always end where they’re recruiting that person specifically, because even if they are not interested, but our research is accurate, he or she may know someone else who would be a good fit.”   

A proactive approach like this may be part of the process when filling a physician job, but clients searching for a physician executive should expect this to be the cornerstone of an effective recruitment strategy. This is why it’s essential to partner with a physician executive search firm that has been nurturing its network of physicians for decades. 

When the Time Comes, Expect to Act Quickly

When a physician executive candidate is identified as a good fit, clients must prioritize scheduling the interview. With multiple high-level executives involved, it may be impossible to find a convenient time for everyone, so be prepared to reschedule other meetings in order to move the process forward with a candidate. 

“We talk a lot about the importance of establishing a process and being ready to execute it quickly when the time comes,” says Dirk. “From the beginning, I’m clear about the steps we’ll be taking in order to bring them candidates. We then collaborate to outline the expected steps once we present candidates. We stress that they must be prepared to act quickly — not just with respect to scheduling the interview, but also collecting feedback, scheduling follow-up calls, determining the offer, and then negotiating that offer. The process should be outlined before we reach this stage.”

The speed of a physician executive search largely depends on the client’s preferences and ability to act. By establishing a process in the early stages of the search, all stakeholders will know what is expected and be able to execute their parts quickly. 

Preparing for a Successful Physician Executive Search

It’s critical that organizations have a well-defined process for identifying and recruiting physician executive candidates. A good physician executive search partner can help to establish and execute this process. Much of this work is done on the front end of the search when administrators can expect to spend time defining the physician executive role for their specific organizations and outlining what the recruitment process looks like once a suitable candidate is presented. That is, what steps are needed for scheduling interviews, gathering feedback, and determining if, when, and what kind of offers are made? These questions must be answered early in the process in order to keep the momentum going when a candidate is identified. 

The physician executive search process requires patience and commitment from all stakeholders. By setting expectations early, all parties involved know what parts they will play and when they will be expected to play them, which is essential for a successful physician executive search.

Is your organization seeking to hire a physician executive? Reach out to the Physician Executive Search team at Jackson Physician Search today to learn how our experience and expertise, not to mention our relationships with physicians in all stages of their careers, can ease and accelerate your search. 


3 Reasons to Hire Physician Executives

Now, with circumstances related to the pandemic greatly improved, those executives who put off retirement or a new opportunity are likely ready to move on… but who will fill their shoes?

3 Qualities of an Attractive Physician Executive Job

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

Physician Recruiter Makes Her Own Luck, Secures 13-Day Family Medicine Placement for a Nebraska FQHC


Exactly how long does it take to place a physician? How long, and of course, how much will it cost? While there are several industry resources to guide expectations (the Jackson Physician Search Recruitment ROI Calculator and MGMA’s DataDive Provider Compensation Data, to name two), the reality is sometimes it boils down to good timing and a bit of luck. This is how Search Consultant Addyson Wilgus humbly explains her recent success at an FQHC in Nebraska. The 13-day Family Medicine placement would be a triumph for any recruiter, but was it luck or the results of a dedicated physician recruiter working the process?  

A 13-day placement is almost unheard of, and I hesitate to share this story for fear it could skew clients’ expectations, and yet, it’s worth examining how a 13-day placement was made possible. 

I’d say luck was involved, sure. Addyson created her own luck by diligently working the tried and true Jackson Physician Search process of digital physician recruitment–a process we established over a decade ago and one that we continue to hone every day as new tools and technologies become available. By following the process, Addyson executed a record-setting search for a client with an urgent need.

Setting Expectations for a Physician Search

In my role as Regional Vice President of Business Development at Jackson Physician Search, I regularly speak to practice administrators, CEOs, and other healthcare leaders in the Midwest who are in urgent need of physicians, and they always want to know how quickly our team can fill the position. Perhaps they’ve already spent a few months trying to recruit independently, so the urgency intensifies with each passing day. Many only want to engage a search partner if we can promise to fill the position quickly. 

I can’t always make that promise. A variety of factors impact the time it takes to place a physician. What is the supply and demand for the specialty? How attractive is the location? Is the compensation competitive? Can they offer flexibility? These are the things that matter most, according to recent physician hiring trends

I will promise potential clients access to two things: 1) unmatched digital recruitment tools, including Doximity, the largest online network of physicians, and 2) a recruitment team with regional expertise and national reach. These things, combined with our reputation for transparency and track record of success, are typically what makes organizations choose Jackson Physician Search.

Trusting the Digital Physician Recruitment Process

The circumstances that led to Addyson’s 13-day placement were not unusual. I approached the administrator of the FQHC in Nebraska to see if they required assistance. I certainly couldn’t promise him speed, but I knew from experience that our process would work for them in time. The director shared that they needed not one but two primary care physicians as soon as possible. I assured him our team would do everything in our power to complete the searches quickly, but I set the expectation that it could take a while. After all, we wanted to find candidates who were not just interested in the job but who were also a great cultural fit, as that is what traditionally leads to long-term retention. 

We officially opened the search on December 1st and assigned it to Search Consultant Addyson Wilgus. She diligently profiled the job opening, interviewing the administrator to learn exactly what the FQHC was looking for. The facility was impressive, but the compensation was below average, which worried her some. Still, she carefully crafted a job description, highlighting what she saw as the positive aspects of the job–a small, midwestern metro, a beautiful new facility, and a collaborative team. She distributed the job through the vast Jackson Physician Search job board network and also emailed it to relevant physicians in the Jackson Physician Search opt-in physician database. 

Unmatched Access to the Most Effective Tools 

She didn’t want to sit around and wait for the ad to get traction, so Addyson immediately dove into Doximity. Jackson Physician Search is currently the only physician recruitment firm that invests in a Doximity license for every single one of its recruiters, so Addyson was able to log in to her individual account and search the database for potential candidates. She first reached out to primary care physicians who were local to the area to tell them about the job. She immediately received a response from Dr. B. He was working locally, but his current practice was slow. He wanted a change that would bring him new challenges, and the opportunity with Addyson’s client sounded ideal. 

No Time to Waste

Addyson spoke to Dr. B on Friday, just three days after opening the search. She presented him to the client right away, and the administrator called him immediately. Because Dr. B was already local, the administrator invited him to interview in person as soon as possible, which turned out to be the following week. After a day of meeting the administrator and other physicians in the group, they all went out to dinner, where the administrator extended an offer. The contract was signed the next day.  

I had emphasized to the client the importance of acting quickly when the time came. Addyson, of course, had reinforced this with him as well, so when she presented him with a solid, local candidate, he knew what he had to do! The administrator’s ability to call the candidate and get him on-site right away was critical. In these circumstances, it’s essential to keep momentum going. Physicians hear about job opportunities every day, so if they express interest in yours, you have to act quickly if you hope to keep their attention. This is exactly what our client did, and it paid off.

Physician Recruitment Success

As I mentioned, this example of lightening-speed results is the exception, not the rule. That said, Addyson’s success wouldn’t have happened without her access to cutting-edge recruitment technologies and her expertise in how to leverage those tools effectively. She created the circumstances that allowed for her record-setting results, and, of course, the client’s ability to act quickly played a big part in the speed of the placement. 

Addyson has continued to work the process in search of a second Family Medicine physician for the group. Fortunately, the quick placement of Dr. B alleviated some of the urgency, but after interviewing several promising candidates, another successful placement is imminent. 

If your organization is struggling to recruit physicians, our time-tested, digital recruitment strategy, executed by a recruiter with regional expertise and national reach, is sure to deliver results. Reach out today to learn more.

About Brent Barnacle

Brent serves as Regional Vice President of Business Development for the Upper-Midwest Region. Before joining JPS, he worked extensively in organizational business development and training, spanning nearly 20 countries. Brent applies this experience to build win-win strategic partnerships with Hospital and Physician Group administrators who need to recruit physicians and advanced practice providers. He also consults on healthcare market trends, speaks at local and regional industry events, and is known as a well-respected, trusted advisor. Brent was born and raised in Stillwater, Minnesota and maintains a strong focus on rural physician recruitment. He understands the importance of recruiting for cultural fit, which leads to long-term retention for clients.

Brent can be reached at bbarnacle@jacksonphysiciansearch.com or 314.788.6861.


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4 Ways to Respond to a Physician Retirement Announcement


A wave of physician retirements is coming, and most healthcare organizations are not prepared. According to a 2022 report from AAMC, 46.7% of physicians were age 55 or older in 2021. This means two in five will reach traditional retirement age in the next eight years. Beyond age, rising physician burnout is also impacting the volume of retirements. In a newly released Physician Retirement Study from Jackson Physician Search, one in four physicians said they expect burnout will be the primary reason they choose to retire. Between a disproportionate number of physicians reaching retirement age, and burnout causing even younger physicians to retire, the industry must be ready for the impact of these departures.

The new study from Jackson Physician Search reveals that organizations are not as prepared as needed. Just one in four administrators reported having a succession plan to ease the transition when a physician leaves. Succession planning is a must, but there are other actions administrators can take in response to a physician announcing his or her intention to retire. Here we’ll discuss four things to do when a physician initiates a retirement conversation.

1. Express Support for the Physician’s Desire to Retire

Physicians put in years of training followed by decades of service to patients. When they feel ready to retire, they should not be made to feel as if they are letting anyone down. Administrators should express gratitude for all they have done up to this point and support for whichever path they plan to follow next. 

2. Ask Questions About Physician Retirement Motivation

Once you’ve expressed your gratitude and offered support, it’s okay to ask questions about what is motivating them to retire now. Chances are, your assumptions are incorrect. According to the new study, 50% of administrators think age is the primary reason physicians retire, but just 12% of physicians say they expect age to be the driving factor. In fact, the most common reason physicians predict they will retire is burnout (24%), followed by lifestyle (23%) and achieving financial stability (22%). The only way for administrators to know for sure what is behind the decision is to ask. 

Have they reached a financial status where they no longer have to work? Has their age or a health event made them realize they don’t want to spend their golden years in the clinic? If either is motivating the decision, ask them what they plan to do in retirement. Will they practice medicine in any capacity? Knowing their motivation can inform the options you propose for making (and perhaps prolonging) the transition.  

On the other hand, if burnout and exhaustion are driving the decision, ask more questions to learn the exact pain points. This will inform the options you provide as you discuss the transition. If you can resolve the issues causing burnout, they may be willing to stay in some capacity or at least prolong the transition. 

Download the Physician Retirement Survey Results

3. Discuss the Physician Retirement Timeline

Before you attempt to address their motivations with options, ask them what timeline they envision for their retirement. According to the aforementioned study from Jackson Physician Search, a majority of physicians think providing notice of six months or less is ample time. In fact, 41% say three months or less is acceptable. Nearly half of the administrators (47%), however, prefer one to three years.   

Of course, depending on location and specialty, it could take a year or more to recruit and onboard a replacement. That said, the longer the physician’s transition to full retirement, the better. Don’t pressure the physician to stay, but rather, provide him or her with options that will address the reasons for retiring and highlight the benefits of easing into it over an extended period of time.

4. Provide Options to Prolong the Transition

According to this new study, just 12% of physicians intend to retire and stop working altogether. Nearly half (43%) of physicians hope to reduce their work hours in the years leading up to retirement, and a third of physicians plan to retire from their current job and work locum tenens or work part- or full-time with another organization. 

So the question becomes if these physicians want to continue working in some capacity, what options can you provide to encourage them to continue working at your organization? Most administrators are already open to part-time hours and schedule flexibility, and nearly half are willing to reduce or eliminate call duties for retiring physicians. These options are appealing to physicians regardless of their motivation for retiring. If due to age and financial status, part-time and flexible schedules allow them to step back without stepping away completely. If the retiring physicians are driven by burnout, fewer hours likely equates to reduced stress. 

When physicians in the study were asked what else might persuade them to stay on with their employers, 21% said the opportunity to teach or mentor, and 30% said a retention bonus. One in four said the chance to work locum tenens would be of interest. This may be especially appealing to those retiring due to age, financial status, or even pressure from a spouse as it addresses fears about boredom and losing a sense of purpose (which 39% and 44% of respondents say are top concerns about retirement, respectively).

Communication is Key

When a physician announces his or her intention to retire, it is essential to follow the steps outlined here. However, in an ideal situation, you are not surprised by a physician’s retirement announcement, and you already know the answers to the questions mentioned here because you initiated the conversation long before retirement was a reality. If you create an environment that fosters open communication on the topic, you will have a clear picture of where physicians are in terms of thinking about retirement and even how they envision transitioning. 

Initiate conversations about retirement with physicians starting at age 55. Start the conversation early and normalize talking about their retirement plans. When the time grows nearer, the talks should be more focused on the how, when, and why. Knowing their true retirement motivations and post-retirement plans will help you offer options to persuade the physician to keep working in some capacity — which is, of course, the best way to ensure continuity of care as you plan for the future. 

Are you recruiting to replace a retiring physician or proactively recruiting as part of your succession plan? The team at Jackson Physician Search has the experience and expertise to advise and accelerate your efforts. Reach out today to learn more.


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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

[White Paper] Preparing for the Wave of Physician Retirements Survey Results


A record number of physicians are nearing retirement age. According to a 2022 report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), nearly half (46.7%) of practicing physicians were already over the age of 55 in 2021. This means more than two of every five active physicians will reach age 65 within the next ten years. Combine this data with what we know about increasing physician burnout, and it’s not overreacting to see the impending wave of retirements as a serious threat to an industry already stretched thin.

The question is not if but when the healthcare industry will feel the full force of the wave. So, just as cities under threat of a hurricane have an emergency plan in place, so too, must healthcare administrators have plans to protect their organizations (and the patients they serve) from a potential tidal wave of retirements… but do they have such a plan?

In an effort to investigate the current plans of both physicians and healthcare administrators, Jackson Physician Search launched a Physician Retirement Survey in November/December 2022. We wanted to find out not only when physicians plan to retire, but also why they will retire and how they hope to make the transition. We asked administrators similar questions with respect to the physicians in their organizations.


The results show a disconnect between what physicians are planning and what administrators expect.

  • Physicians think notice of six months is more than enough time, while administrators would prefer 1-3 years.
  • Most physicians don’t want to fully retire but plan to work part-time or contract somewhere else. Administrators are more likely to believe that when retiring physicians leave, they are leaving medicine for good.
  • Physicians rank burnout as the top reason driving their retirement plans, but administrators believe it’s age.
  • Economic concerns have caused four in 10 physicians to delay retirement.

Much of what we learned confirmed our expectations about how and why physicians retire; the when, of course, remains hypothetical for many and is therefore more difficult to ascertain. However, there is evidence to suggest that, regardless of age, many physicians will retire as soon as they are financially able, so healthcare organizations must have a plan in place.

In this report, we’ll first determine if indeed the volume of physician retirements is already increasing. We will then explore the when, why, and how of physician retirement as well as what organizations can do to ease the impact of what is sure to come.

Download the White Paper to Get More Insight Into Physician Retirements as well as Strategies to Prepare Your Organization for the Upcoming Wave of Retirements.


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

About Jackson Physician Search

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

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