The physician shortage continues to be top of mind among healthcare leaders around the nation, but perhaps nowhere is it felt more deeply than in the nation’s rural areas. Intensifying the problem is the fact that rural physicians are retiring in droves and the number of medical residents who grew up in rural areas is declining. These, of course, are the physicians most likely to return to rural areas to practice.
Fortunately, a new report from Jackson Physician Search, Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey Results, suggests the tide could be turning for rural physician recruitment. In the recent survey, 90% of physicians and advanced practice providers said they would consider practicing in a rural location if conditions were well aligned.
The physicians are willing if the right opportunity is presented to the right person at the right time, but it takes a true recruitment expert to successfully combine these factors. A recruitment expert at Jackson Physician Search recently demonstrated her expertise in doing exactly this for a rural hospital in Arkansas. Learn how recruiter Tonya Hamlin helped her client secure two specialists to practice rural medicine.
A Reputation for Successful Rural Physician Recruitment
When the CEO of a 90-bed facility in northwest Arkansas met with Gary Seaberg, Regional Vice President of Business Development at Jackson Physician Search, he was aware of the firm’s reputation for successful rural physician recruitment. The facility had an existing relationship with a competing physician search firm, but the CEO had concerns about their ability to fill an urgent general surgery vacancy.
Gary pointed to the JPS track record of rural physician recruitment success and explained the 100% digital physician recruitment strategy that worked so well for their clients. The CEO was eager to move forward, so Gary turned the search over to Tonya Hamlin. Tonya applied her digital recruitment magic and found the perfect General Surgeon in just 90 days.
The client was thrilled and wondered if Tonya could produce similar results with an OB-GYN vacancy that had been open for over a year. He canceled the search with the competing firm, and entrusted it to Jackson Physician Search.
The Search for a Rural OB-GYN
To ensure full transparency and help set the client’s expectations, Tonya was forthright about the challenges involved with placing an OB physician in a rural market. She discussed the supply and demand data for OBs, which showed more vacancies than qualified physicians available.
The odds may have been against them, but Tonya was not discouraged. She had visited the location and was impressed by the breathtaking mountain views and the engaging people, both at the facility and in the community. The facility itself was impressive and she knew potential candidates would find it attractive if she could persuade them to give it a chance. The hospital was one of the premier employers in the area and was located just 90 minutes from a major metropolitan area.
Tonya utilized a comprehensive digital search strategy focusing on the quality of the facility, the salary potential, and the organizational culture. She wanted to find a candidate who fit and would be successful in the position long-term. The opportunity would be right for someone, but who?
A Commitment to Rural Medicine
Healthcare administrators in any setting–rural, urban, or suburban– recognize the value in hiring a physician with ties to the area. So, when a young resident, originally from Arkansas, responded to the online job posting, Tonya set aside her concerns about the timeline and investigated further. She learned the candidate was committed to practicing in a rural area upon completing her training.
The resident’s commitment to practice rural plus her ties to the area made her an extremely attractive candidate, but the fact that she still had over a year to complete her residency was not ideal. Tonya made the case for her, and in presenting her, they learned that the candidate already knew one of the OB physicians on staff. With so many factors in favor of this resident, the facility invited her to an on-site interview.
Once the candidate met the team, it was clear she belonged. The CEO ultimately decided that it would be worth waiting for her to finish residency. She was such a good fit for the facility and the community that any time lost would be more than made up for in better retention and fit.
Secrets to Rural Physician Recruitment Success
Tonya’s success with her client stems from her commitment to finding the right fit and keeping the client updated throughout the process. Also, by spending time at the facility, Tonya was able to paint an accurate picture of the opportunity for potential candidates, knowledgeably answering questions about the location and the quality of the facility.
In the end, the candidate’s ties to the state and her commitment to working in rural medicine gave her the best chance of lasting success in the position. The existing OB truly believed the resident was the best fit, and she was instrumental in convincing the CEO that she would most certainly be worth the wait.
If you are looking to find a physician search partner who prioritizes finding candidates who will find lasting success with your organization, contact Jackson Physician Search today. Our recruitment team has access to the latest tools and technology and can provide you with the nationwide reach to find even the most difficult specialties.
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