When a Wyoming hospital’s only two physicians announced their upcoming departures, the facility’s administration turned to its physician recruitment partner, Jackson Physician Search.
Have you ever visited a town that didn’t have a single stoplight? Now, imagine living in this town and knowing that there are just two physicians to care for all of its residents.
This is the case for a 10-bed Critical Access Hospital in rural Wyoming serving a community of approximately 8,000 people. For decades, the hospital employed two Family Medicine physicians for a ranching and farming community spread out over miles and miles of countryside.
When both of the hospital’s physicians announced their upcoming departures, one retiring and the other relocating, the facility’s administration began to re-examine the care model and felt it was time to have at least one Emergency Medicine physician on staff.
Having placed one of the physicians, Jackson Physician Search Director of Business Development Ben Stajduhar was aware of the challenges in recruiting physicians to an extremely rural community. Finding one physician would be a difficult task, but needing two would require the right combination of skill, diligence, and a bit of luck. He enlisted the help of Search Consultant Misha Fabick, who happens to excel at rural physician recruitment.
Experienced Physician Recruiter is Integral in Understanding the Intricacies of the New Program
Without experience in hiring an Emergency Medicine physician, the administrators leaned on Misha to help them understand everything from scheduling to competitive compensation packages, and to develop a strong physician job description. Emergency Medicine physicians have different skillsets than a Family Medicine provider, and it was vital to find one who had experience with inpatient processes, admissions, and administrative aspects.
The facility needed someone with significant experience who could be the face of the hospital and new emergency services program. Misha provided the administrators with current, accurate information on salaries, scheduling options, and other factors that would make this an attractive opportunity for the right candidate. This is a prime example of how valuable an experienced, trusted physician recruiter can be for healthcare organizations.
Positioning the Opportunity
Since the vacancies occurred at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recruitment and interview process faced some challenges. One unusual aspect was the sheer number of Emergency Medicine candidates that responded to the physician job description. Many physicians were trying to relocate out of big cities that were struggling with COVID outbreaks.
This created a scenario where the physicians needed to be educated on the highly remote nature of the position. At the beginning of the search, the facility accommodated a few interviews, but the rural community caused some candidates to pause. However, the discussions were fruitful in that they allowed the administrators to listen to the candidates and learn more about ways to improve the position and make it more attractive.
Misha played an integral role in helping the client through this process and attuning them to the constructive information coming out of the interview process. At the same time, she was conditioning the candidates toward a clearer understanding of the nature of this opportunity. She helped candidates focus on the outstanding quality of life aspects of the community, and all of the outdoor activities available during downtime from the hospital.
Finding Physicians that will Fit, Succeed, and Stay
Strong candidates emerged for consideration at around the same point in the recruitment process for both the Emergency Medicine vacancy and the Family Medicine position. Dr. K, a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician was very intrigued by the opportunity to play a role in building a program from the ground up.
The administrators wanted to have their final candidates participate in a “working” interview. This was designed to ensure that they were a solid cultural fit. While some candidates were hesitant, Dr. K was very receptive to the idea of a working interview, as it would provide an authentic “day-in-the-life” experience.
On the Family Medicine side, another strong candidate emerged. Misha played an active role throughout this process and acted as a bridge between the candidate, Dr. F, and the administrative team. She helped them formulate a strong compensation package and other contractual factors that ultimately sealed the deal on a very successful search and hire.