How Personal Recruitment Will Ease Your Physician Shortage


The conversation around the physician shortage is often about the numbers and the complexity of meeting the needs of a patient population that is growing faster than – and is aging along with – the physician workforce. You can be prepared for the future by expanding your understanding of new and effective recruiting tactics, like how personal recruitment can ease your physician shortage.

When the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) issued their most recent projection of a shortage estimated to be between 40,800 to 104,900 physicians by 2030, they dramatically illustrated how meeting America’s goals for population health – especially for people living in underserved communities – requires the training of more physicians as well as advanced practice providers.

The symptoms of the shortage are immediately apparent in the highly competitive recruitment landscape. The large volume of advertised physician openings far eclipses the number of recruitable physicians, including those in their final year of residency plus physicians who are likely to change jobs or willing to relocate. The result is a noisy, highly inefficient recruiting landscape.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help overcome the impact the physician shortage has on your organization.  Start by discovering the factors you can control, then develop a recruitment strategy that will attract the right physicians and advanced practice professionals to your organization.

Don’t Just Recruit the Physician – Recruit the Person

The reality is, physicians and advanced practice providers are people, not numbers. They have families, friends, hobbies and interests that are important to them. Their individual needs, motivations, values and work styles significantly influence how and where they will choose to practice medicine. The more you can learn and adapt to these factors, the greater the opportunity to hire physicians who will fit, succeed, and stay.

Although location and the size of the candidate pool are factors well beyond the control of the organization or the recruiter, a strategic recruitment plan that enables the in-house recruiter to critically evaluate the needs of their community and organization will help a hospital attract and retain the right physicians.  Organizations can achieve their recruitment and retention goals by addressing incentives, the structure of the medical practice, the organization’s overall culture as well as engagement with the community as key differentiators that influence the quality of life a physician will experience.

For example, integrating the recruitment of advanced practice providers with physician recruitment and retention initiatives will increase the quality and speed with which you can build the teams you need to efficiently meet the demand for patient care. Structure your team so that everyone practices at the top of their license by reducing paperwork, clerical activities and other tasks not necessary for a physician or advanced practitioner to perform. That alone can help create a less stressful, more patient-driven practice that will attract top physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

To get ahead – and stay ahead—of the physician shortage, your recruitment strategy should focus on:

  • A rewarding workplace
  • Strong organizational culture
  • Well-trained support staff
  • Non-traditional incentives
  • Recruitment process efficiency
  • Hiring for fit – and retention

In summary, the realities of supply and demand point not only to challenges, but opportunities. Healthcare organizations can differentiate themselves through investments in technology, staffing models, delivery systems, workplace amenities and incentives that will make the practice of medicine more attractive and rewarding for physicians at every stage of their careers.

A deeper review of trends driving the physician shortage, and practical advice about what healthcare leaders can do today to prepare for the future, are presented in the white paper: “Physician Workforce 2030: Get Ahead of the Recruitment Curve,” now available for download.

Contact us if you’d like additional insight into your own recruitment strategy as well as recommendations on ways to meet demand and attract the right physicians for your organization and community.

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