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General Surgeon Secured at Minnesota Hospital

Going the Distance: Hospital Changes Course to Secure Sought-after Surgeon


A Minnesota hospital keeps an open mind and listens to the advice of Vice President of Recruiting Tara Osseck to secure the General Surgeon it needs.

Going the Distance: Hospital Changes Course to Secure Sought-after Surgeon

When the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) endorsed Jackson Physician Search as its first and only recruitment partner, healthcare organizations around the state took notice. For more than a century, MHA has worked to provide Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems with the resources, best practices, and guidance to deliver exceptional patient care. So, when MHA leadership, after meeting with and vetting multiple physician recruitment firms, announced their endorsement of Jackson Physician Search, Minnesota hospital leaders knew they could trust the recommendation.

The President and CEO of a small, regional hospital in central Minnesota was one such leader. She had worked with recruitment partners in the past without much success, but she was hopeful that an MHA-endorsed business partner would be different. At her first meeting with our Business Development Manager, the CEO was not disappointed. He highlighted the benefits of leveraging a 100% digital physician recruitment strategy, explaining how strategically targeting physicians where they spend their time, online, rather than in their mailboxes results in quicker placements and greater ROI.

The CEO was eager to see what Jackson Physician Search could do to help with her organization’s immediate need and the search was assigned to Vice President of Recruiting, Tara Osseck. The hospital sought to hire a surgeon to support Dr. R, the longtime, sole general surgeon at the facility. The overload of patients put him at risk of burning out, and yet, the patient volume was not quite high enough to justify two full-time surgeons. For this reason, the CEO ideally wanted to hire someone part time. Tara wasn’t sure how candidates would respond to the unusual request, but they agreed to move forward with the search.

The Pros and Cons

Though Tara had been uncertain, candidate response was enthusiastic. Tara attributes the high initial interest to the increasing levels of COVID-induced physician burnout. It’s a phenomenon discussed in a recent White Paper by Jackson Physician Search on the impact of COVID-19 on physician jobs. Jackson Physician Search Vice Presidents across the country report seeing an influx in physician candidates seeking a slower pace of life and better work-life balance.

The initial interest in a part-time position is understandable, but would these physicians, eager to apply to a part-time position, be as enthusiastic about part-time pay?

“We saw a lot of interest,” Tara explains, “However, most candidates indicated that, should they take the position, they would likely seek out additional opportunities to supplement the part-time pay.”

The Right Fit, Right From the Start

Dr. C was one of the first to express interest in the position. She had been let go by her employer in the early days of the pandemic when hospitals around the country were forced to halt surgeries. Though she’d found temporary work at a VA hospital in Minnesota, it wasn’t what she wanted long term. The central Minnesota position, however, ticked almost every box.

Tara presented Dr. C to the CEO within a few days of opening the search. They scheduled her on-site interview right away, and in a matter of weeks, she was touring the facility, hitting it off with Dr. R, and impressing the administration and other staff. Dr. C was everything they were looking for, and yet, leadership felt due diligence required them to interview a few more candidates. Dr. C understood. She proceeded with her job search but kept the opportunity in the back of her mind.

The Importance of an Open Mind in Physician Recruiting

Unsurprisingly, none of the subsequent candidates surpassed Dr. C, and by July, the CEO was ready to extend an offer. Dr. C was still available, however, she had been upfront about her preference for something full time.

“Dr. C wanted the opportunity, but ultimately, she would need to do some moonlighting to supplement the part-time income,” Tara explains.
The CEO did not like the idea of sharing her surgeon, so Tara counseled her on the only way to avoid it – making the position full time. The two worked together to conceive a plan that would leverage Dr. C’s unique skill set to grow the patient volume enough to support two full-time surgeons. The CEO agreed it would work, but would the lead surgeon be on board?

Going the Extra Mile for the Right Physician Candidate

Dr. R was not difficult to persuade. In fact, he had been so impressed by Dr. C that he drove an hour and a half to meet with her, convey the hospital’s interest, and ask her exactly what it would take to get her on staff.

“The significance of this gesture can’t be overstated,” says Tara. “Surgeons just don’t do that! The fact that he cared enough to go to her and have a face-to-face conversation about her needs and what their future together might look like, well, it told her everything she needed to know about her new partner.”

Of course, asking the candidate what they need to accept an offer is one thing, but coming through with an offer that meets the terms is another.

“It’s great to ask a candidate what they need to see in an offer, but if they tell you and then you deliver something short of that, they are going to feel unheard,” says Tara. “In this case, leadership was able to craft an offer that met and exceeded Dr. C’s expectations. We could not ask for better collaboration from a client on that front.”

Ultimately, Dr. C was thrilled to accept the position and work alongside Dr. R to grow the volume of surgical patients at the organizations and better serve the community.

The story demonstrates the importance of all parties keeping an open mind during the physician recruitment process. From leadership’s willingness to trust MHA-endorsed recruitment partner, Jackson Physician Search, to their flexibility on the part-time nature of the position, to the candidate’s openness to something other than a full-time opportunity. All parties were flexible, transparent about their needs, and willing to go the extra mile to work together.

If you are seeking a physician that is worth going the distance for, Jackson Physician Search can help! Our experienced recruitment specialists will not only present top physicians who match your needs, but they’ll also provide counsel on how to win the candidate you want. Contact us today.

Key Takeaways

  • Flexibility with the original parameters of a unique search can make all the difference in finding the best candidate for a healthcare organization.
  • Taking extra steps to make a candidate feel welcomed and wanted is extremely influential.

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