Skip to main content

3 Things You Need as a Candidate for Physician Executive Jobs

Tom Rossi
February 7, 2024

It takes a certain type of person to become a physician – smart, disciplined, and highly motivated. These qualities are must-haves to successfully navigate four years of medical school, followed by three or more years of residency and possibly a fellowship. When new physicians finally start their first physician jobs (post-training), the need to achieve and grow does not usually subside. However, unlike in the corporate world, where the path from associate to manager to director and so on is typically clear, the growth trajectory for physicians can vary widely. Physician career paths may unfold in several ways – owning or becoming a partner in a private practice, running a department, pursuing research, medical directorships, or eventually becoming a CMO or even CEO of a large healthcare organization. 

As the Vice President of Physician Executive Search at Jackson Physician Search, I work daily with healthcare leaders seeking to hire physician executives for their organizations. As more and more healthcare organizations recognize the benefits of physician leadership, demand for qualified physician executives is on the rise. The jump to leadership may seem daunting for physicians, but the path is attractive for many reasons. In addition to financial benefits and professional prestige, physician executives have an opportunity to develop and enact policies that may have a broad and lasting impact on the health of the communities they serve.

Must-Haves for Physician Executive Jobs

Could you be a candidate for physician executive jobs? If not now, what skills or training do you need to be considered? In my work with clients across the nation, I’ve identified several things universally desired by those seeking candidates for physician executive jobs. Keep reading for three things you need on the path to a physician executive job.

  1. External Training – While not all physician executive jobs require an MBA or MHA, additional degrees and certifications will certainly make you a more attractive candidate. The American Association of Physician Leaders offers a certification program (CPE) that also carries weight in the industry. Additional education or outside training is often necessary because nearly half of employers don’t offer management or leadership training internally. According to a 2022 MGMA Stat poll, just 53% of medical group managers said they offer management training at their organizations.

Takeaway: If you hope to be considered for physician executive jobs, additional training in business and management will likely be necessary. If your employer does not offer a robust physician leadership training program, it is best to seek an MBA, MHA, or CPE program designed for practicing physicians.  

  1. An Ability to See the Big Picture – While physicians spend most of their time addressing the needs of individual patients, physician executives must be able to step back and evaluate how well the organization serves the community and consider how changes to policy or procedures might allow the organization to improve patient care and generate more revenue. This is a significant shift in thinking, so it may help to work with a mentor to develop this trait.

Takeaway: If you are pursuing physician executive jobs, it’s essential to start thinking beyond your individual patients and consider how your actions and those of the practice impact the broader community. Ask yourself what changes or policies might increase the volume of patients or improve the quality of care. Start thinking beyond your day-to-day duties and work with a mentor to discuss big-picture ideas.

  1.   Emotional Intelligence – Good physician executives are aware of their own emotions and can identify, adapt, and empathize with the feelings of others. They are active listeners and respect everyone regardless of status or education level. Physician executives are often expected to be the bridge between the clinical staff and administration, so being able to adapt communication styles to individuals within both groups is critical. From nurses and staff to patients and peers, physician executives must create connections and open channels for effective communication.

Takeaway: Emotional intelligence can be thought of as knowing how to “read the room” and then adapting your style to enter it. If you are unsure if this is an area of strength or weakness for you, work with a coach or mentor who can help you develop a better understanding of how you are perceived. With improved self-awareness, you can then work on identifying the emotions of others and adapting your communication style to better communicate with and support them.

The role of physician executive will vary from organization to organization, so the must-have traits and types of experience will also vary. However, it’s fair to say the three things discussed here will always be on the list. To be considered for physician executive jobs, candidates must have some kind of business and/or management training, an ability to see the big picture, and a high EQ. Physicians interested in pursuing physician executive jobs should enroll in an external training program and work with a coach or mentor to develop big-picture thinking and emotional intelligence. These are the three must-haves for physician executive candidates.

Are you interested in physician executive jobs? The Physician Executive Search team at Jackson Physician Search is eager to learn more about you and what you seek in your next job. Reach out today to learn more about our clients’ current needs.

About Tom Rossi

Tom Rossi has over three decades of dedicated experience in recruitment and leadership within the healthcare sector. Prior to joining Jackson Physician Search as the Vice President of Executive Search in 2023, Rossi served as National Vice President of Physician Recruitment for HCA Healthcare for 20+ years. Before spearheading physician and provider recruitment, Rossi played a pivotal role in HCA’s executive recruitment division and spent six years prior to that leading a team of executive recruiters for a professional services firm.

Outside his professional endeavors, Rossi engages in meaningful volunteer work, contributing to organizations such as Football Parents at Ohio State (FPAOS) and Habitat for Humanity. Rossi cherishes family life and is a proud parent of three adult children.


search jobs icon

Search Jobs

Ready for a change? Whether you’re looking for better work-life balance, greater autonomy, higher compensation, or just a change in scenery, we have job opportunities in wonderful locations across the U.S. Embark on your next job search today.

Search Now

job alerts icon

Sign Up for Job Alerts

We believe everyone deserves to find their dream job. Be the first to hear about new practice opportunities in exciting locations across the U.S. Simply fill out the form, and we’ll email you when a new job in your specialty becomes available.

Sign Up Now