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

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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.

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