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[Infographic Guide] 4 Questions to Guide Rural Physician Recruitment and Retention

Jackson Physician Search
March 18, 2022

The results of the recent Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey give rural healthcare organizations reason to be optimistic about their recruiting efforts. The new data shows 90% of physicians are open to considering a rural physician job. The report provides insight not only about who will consider physician jobs but what they are looking for in a rural healthcare employer and what those organizations can do to improve rural physician recruitment. Keep reading to find answers to the four questions that guide rural physician recruitment.


4 Questions to Guide Rural Physician Recruitment and Retention

Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey Reveals Promising New Data to Answer 4 Critical Questions

1. Who Will Consider Practicing Rural Medicine?

Good news: 

90% of physicians surveyed would consider rural practice if conditions are well-aligned

Takeaway: Don’t discount anyone! Physicians are more open than ever to rural opportunities.


2. What Makes Physicians Consider Rural?

The data indicates higher compensation, flexibility, and improved work-life balance are the most common reasons physicians say they would consider rural medicine.

  • 64% Higher Compensation, Bonuses, and Benefits
  • 47% Ability to Work Part-time or Flexible Hours
  • 46% Improved Work-Life Balance
  • 33% Strong Organizational Culture
  • 29% Affordable Cost of Living

Administrators recognize the importance of work-life balance. However, they tend to overestimate the appeal of a lower cost of living (58%) and underestimate the importance of higher compensation (36%).

Takeaway: Understand what makes rural medicine appealing in order to more effectively recruit.  Consider the cost of recruitment and lost revenue (resulting from a physician vacancy) to justify offering higher compensation if needed. 


3. What Aspect of a Rural Organization’s Culture Is Most Important? 

Physicians, regardless of their location, prioritize autonomy as the aspect of an organization’s culture that matters most. 

40% of Physicians say Physician Autonomy but only 24% of Administrators think this is most important.

Rural physicians are more likely to prioritize a patient-focused culture (34%) and a family-friendly work environment (24%)

Takeaway: Consider the ways you can increase autonomy and improve other aspects of the organizational culture to increase the chances of attracting and retaining physicians. 


4. How to Improve Rural Physician Retention?

55% of physicians say higher compensation, bonuses, and benefits would motivate them to stay 5+ years

Just 37% of Administrators think compensation has this kind of impact

Money clearly matters, but so does fulfillment. 

27% of rural physicians describe their level of fulfillment as “enthusiastically happy.”  

Takeaway: Rural administrators must offer competitive compensation and promote the fact that rural physicians report higher levels of fulfillment than physicians practicing in suburban (21%) and urban locations (20%).

Visit our thought leadership page for more helpful presentations, case studies, and infographics. Or, reach out to a Jackson Physician Search representative for more information.

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