Some physician specialties are a little easier to recruit than others, but Gastroenterology (GI) just isn’t one of them. With physician retirements on the rise and only 500 GI Fellows completing training each year, these can be some of the most challenging searches a hospital or medical group will face.
Such was the case for a 200-bed hospital in Southwestern Illinois that had been facing a vacant Gastroenterology position for well over two years. The hospital’s administrators had partnered with another physician search firm but weren’t having any success finding the right candidate. They decided to turn to Jackson Physician Search for help.
Fortunately, Senior Search Consultant Katie Moeller doesn’t shy away from challenging searches and immediately jumped into action.
The Importance of the Physician Job Ad
This particular job opportunity was very unique, which may have played a part in the lengthy vacancy. The hospital’s strategy was to set up an inpatient-only, GI/Hospitalist model, while maintaining relationships with a couple of private practice GIs in the area that were essential to providing continuity of care.
As is often the case, Katie consulted with the hospital’s leadership team to ensure the hospital could develop an attractive GI/Hospitalist position without infringing on the private practice Gastroenterologists. She presented the hospital’s administrators with local market data, including what a competitive compensation package entailed and advice on how to structure scheduling and contracts.
Katie also explained that building work/life balance into such a unique role where candidate supply was especially slim would best position the organization to attract strong candidates. The hospital agreed to provide a 7-days on/7-days off work schedule.
Because physicians receive hundreds of job opportunities every year, the job ad is the first – and possibly only – chance a recruiter has to get their attention. Katie invested extra time up front to craft a compelling job ad and digital recruitment strategy that would effectively and efficiently drive candidate acquisition. She developed a targeted email strategy and posted the job ad on more than 10 job boards. She highlighted the generous work/life balance, the hospital’s premier status, as well as the unique opportunity a motivated physician would have to build a GI/Hospitalist program from the ground up.
Despite the challenging nature of filling Gastroenterology searches, Katie’s marketing strategy resulted in an enviable response rate – five times the normal rate, in fact. This gave the hospital a bevy of highly qualified candidates from which to choose.
A Bright Future for the Group and Their Newest Gastroenterologist
Due to the effects of COVID-19 and lessons learned, the hospital was committed to utilizing a virtual interview process to get interested candidates in front of the leadership team as quickly as possible. Katie stayed fully engaged to ensure that the candidate interview process was proceeding with a sense of urgency.
As it became clear that one of the candidates would be an ideal fit for the opportunity, the hospital was very open to listening to his ideas about the department’s future. Knowing that participatory decision making was important to strong physician engagement, the hospital’s leadership team didn’t shy away from the candidate’s vision of expanding the types of procedures that could be offered, even though it would require an investment in new equipment. By collaborating with the physician, the leadership team had confidence in his ability to grow the program beyond their original vision.
Katie then played a key role in lining up professionals in the community to ensure the physician would enjoy a successful community tour. This included a real estate tour, school system information, recreational activities, and other amenities that would be important to the physician’s happiness outside the hospital. Katie even stayed engaged throughout the contract negotiations to ensure both sides felt heard and that an amenable agreement was reached.
Keys to Physician Recruitment Success
- Based on the success of six previous searches with Katie and the Jackson Physician Search team, the client drew on that trust throughout this engagement.
- By writing a comprehensive and compelling physician job ad that highlighted the most desirable aspects of the position, Katie attracted a strong candidate pool.
- The client and Katie worked together to keep the ideal candidate fully engaged during the interview and contract negotiation process, which can often be lengthy with large organizations.
If your hospital or health system needs a trusted, experienced search partner, the Jackson Physician Search team can be just the difference you need. From hard-to-fill specialties to providing support for your in-house recruitment team, contact us today to learn how we can help.
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