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All Roads Lead Home: How One Recruiter Helped a Primary Care Physician Find His Way

Jackson Physician Search
August 31, 2021

Physicians are in high demand, but this doesn’t mean the physician job search is easy. After going on multiple physician interviews, it’s not always clear which option will be the best fit. In fact, experts estimate, more than half of new physicians leave their first job within five years. Of course, it’s not just new physicians who have a hard time assessing how well they will fit with the employer.

This is why it’s especially helpful to have a physician recruiter who knows the market and has worked closely with physicians employed by the various organizations in the area. That recruiter has an inside track on where physicians can earn the most money, where physicians are most overworked, and where they report the highest job satisfaction. This insight can be invaluable – that is, if the physician takes the physician recruiter’s advice to heart.

Evaluating Physician Job Opportunities

It was 2016 when Vice President of Recruiting, Tara Osseck first met Dr. S. Serving in Alaska on active military duty, Dr. S and his wife were exploring their post-military physician employment options in the Midwest, where they both had family ties. While searching online, Dr. S found the Primary Care job opening with Tara’s client, a small hospital serving the metro St. Louis area, and expressed his interest.

After speaking at length with Dr. S, Tara knew he was a good fit for her client – one she had worked with since 2015. Having placed multiple physicians with the organization, Tara could confidently tell Dr. S what he could expect as an employee. Leadership at the organization valued physician input, respected physician autonomy, and prioritized quality patient care – all things Dr. S professed to be important in an employer.

Of course, Tara’s client wasn’t the only organization Dr. S was considering. He agreed to on-site interviews with four organizations, and while he felt at home with Tara’s client, he ultimately accepted a higher offer from a competing organization. Tara was disappointed but wished him well. As she does with every physician she works with, Tara asked if they could stay in touch.

“I hated to see him make that decision,” Tara says now. “I know this market inside and out, and I told him then, my client was most closely aligned with his goals. I just knew he would regret going elsewhere.”

A Second Chance at the Right Physician Job

Tara’s prediction was right. Six months later, Dr. S reached out to her for help. Unhappy with his new employer, he felt like a ‘cog in the wheel’ rather than a physician caring for patients. Though Tara had warned him, he had overlooked the red flags during the interview process. He wanted to know if he had other options. Would her client still consider him?

Tara wanted to help, but his employment contract had a strict non-compete clause. Even if she could persuade her client to give him another chance, she feared it would prevent him from practicing in the area. Still, she approached her client, and they were willing to offer him a position at one of their facilities located outside the non-compete radius. Dr. S was grateful, but he ultimately decided the long commute would be too hard on him and his family. He decided to accept his fate with his current employer.

Chasing Physician Job Satisfaction Across the Ocean

While Dr. S wasn’t happy with his physician job, he was dealing with it. After all, his wife and children were planting roots in the community and settling into their new life. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed all of that. Suddenly, his wife was alone at home with the children and the ties they had made in the community seemed irrelevant. They dreamed of a home near a beach where, regardless of COVID case counts, they could at least enjoy the ocean.

In an impulsive move, Dr. S and his family relocated to Hawaii. It was as beautiful as they imagined, and yet, Midwesterners at heart, they didn’t feel they belonged. They missed their church, their old neighbors, and the low cost of living. Dr. S reached out to Tara one more time to help him find a Primary Care physician job back home.

Third Times the Charm

Tara was pleased to hear from Dr. S. The time in Hawaii, though brief, made the non-compete agreement with his former employer no longer a factor. Tara was willing to present Dr. S to her client yet again – on one condition.

“I told him he had to trust me this time,” Tara says. “And I needed to know he was serious. He assured me that he would do everything he could to make it work.”

The client had an opening and was willing to consider Dr. S one more time. They quickly scheduled a virtual interview and extended an offer in a matter of weeks. I think the history with Dr. S certainly allowed the process to move more quickly,” Tara says, “But generally, this client has an extremely efficient process. I have now placed over 20 physicians with the organization, so we have worked together over the years to streamline the physician recruitment process.”

Dr. S was thrilled to accept the offer, and Tara’s client was happy to have him on board. Though the path was winding, Dr. S is grateful to have finally found where he belongs.

It is critical to add a physician recruiter to your professional network. Luckily, Dr. S had worked with Tara for years, but the important factor that resulted in his homecoming was that he finally put his full trust in her. Physician recruiters have first-hand knowledge of what it is like to work for their client, and also their competition. They can offer valuable input about negotiating compensation and the physician contract.

In our recent Physician Job Search Playbook, we outline everything you need to begin your next job search including the importance of working with physician recruiters. Check out the playbook, here.

Are you searching for a physician job with an employer who shares your values? The recruiters at Jackson Physician Search are ready to assist and advise you in your search. Contact us today.

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