The longer it pervades our lives, the more evident it becomes that COVID-19 isn’t a threat limited to our physical health. The pandemic has changed everything we know about day-to-day life - unearthing a greater awareness that such immediate and intense shifts to routine and structure impact our mindset. For what feels like the first time, mental health isn’t just relevant to those with pre-existing psychological conditions; the pandemic has proven none of us are exempt from its effects.
As the world copes with a new series of burdens and challenges, this month’s National Mental Health observance can relate to each of us in a new way.
There are things we can do to cope with stress, but what happens when the unexpected and unprecedented seem to become the norm? How can you care for yourself and continue recruiting candidates effectively? And how can you help candidates cope with job-search stress when a global health crisis is added to the mix?
They say the best way to help others is after you’ve helped yourself. It’s imperative you’re nurturing your own mental health during your candidate search in order to best support your candidates’ mental well-being during their job search and onboarding.
Finding the right physicians and advanced practice providers for your organization is no small task, and the obstacles with COVID-19 make additional stress a real possibility for recruiters. Your personal and professional routine has shifted; there’s no doubt physician recruitment embraces a new dynamic when in-person interviews and site visits are not possible and networking events have switched to virtual.
By now, you’ve likely adjusted your recruitment strategy with these things in mind. As you continue to recruit in the current healthcare landscape, be sure your updated strategy respects the flexibility and time you need to properly care for yourself.
Help your candidates
Surely, you can remember how stressful the job search can be - high-pressure interactions, life-altering decisions and the uncertainty that can linger even after choices have been made. The greater the commitment, the more stress that accompanies a decision, which is why job-search stress may be intensified for physicians. It’s not just a commitment when they accept a position. It’s a binding contract.
During this time, new physicians and APPs can’t be exactly sure what entering the field will look like, only adding more uncertainty to their decision. Keep this in mind as you continue connecting with candidates. It’s typically advised that individuals avoid making important and enduring commitments during crisis. However, the physicians who can help are needed now more than ever - and they want to serve.
See if short-term contracts are an option that your organization is willing or able to offer prospects. Some of their stress might be alleviated without the pressure to cement themselves to a long-term commitment. For more on this, see the "contract flexibility" section in this recent article.
When physicians select an organization to continue their career, they aren’t just thinking of their own needs and wants surrounding the opportunity. They’re thinking of their families. Signing might bring candidates more anxiety right now because heading to the front lines has greater physical and mental implications for their loved ones, too. For medical professionals outside COVID-related specialties, changes to protocols and organizational procedures will alter the way they practice once they’re able to resume. While these conflicts are a universal reality for physicians at this time, you can assist your new hires and current staff by offering resources and access to mental health services. This tells candidates considering your opportunity they’ll have more than hypothetical support. They’ll have the tools needed to ward off burnout in the distant or near future.
Additionally, identifying and understanding the greatest concerns of healthcare workers battling COVID-19 can help you anticipate the potential concerns of your candidates. Here’s more on how you can support your current healthcare workers.
Help your community
COVID-19 has brought with it a realization of vulnerability. It injected fear into society, capsizing routines and dissolving any sense of normalcy. Everyone everywhere has experienced changes, and though some are adjusting more easily than others, no one remains untouched. Many individuals are taking precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus, but gloves and masks don’t protect from mental vulnerabilities that spread as quickly as the disease.
According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, "nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus." As professional and personal lives are affected, the general public is at an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Even long after the nation has reopened and physical health concerns have dwindled, the mental health ramifications of the pandemic will remain with society. This creates a greater need for specialists who can help - and a greater need for recruiters like yourself to find them.
Help your community by making sure your organization can provide access to the professional help that may be severely needed in the coming months. When you continue to seek and recruit physicians in specialties that can serve in areas of mental health, like psychiatry, those physicians can begin to help others heal from the far-reaching psychological effects that emerge during a global pandemic.
We’re here to support you
PracticeLink’s mission has always been to make your search for the candidates your organization needs as simple and effective as possible. With this continued goal in mind, we’ve developed a series of resources to assist your recruitment efforts during this time:
- PracticeLink Chat (PL Chat): Use this new free feature of the PracticeLink Recruitment Management System (PL RMS) to connect in real-time with candidates and applicants by text, voice or video from practically any device.
- The PracticeLink Rapid Response System (PL RRS): Post and automatically send a Rapid Response Alert email to PL candidates who have opted in to receive alerts in the event of a medical crisis with this new and free feature of PL RMS.
- PracticeLink Virtual Career Fairs: Identify, connect with and prequalify potential candidates from across town or the country.
- MedNavigator | Provider Database + Recruitment Marketing: Easily search, select and connect with every physician, resident, fellow, advanced practice provider and GME program director and coordinator nationwide.
This year, National Mental Health Month has new significance as the COVID-19 pandemic adds visibility to the mental health battle also facing our nation. Throughout this month and as you navigate forward, invite awareness and sensitivity into your social and professional interactions. Be honest with yourself, speak up when you feel overwhelmed or burned out and encourage your candidates to do the same. Remember: Mental health is health. You want to be protecting yours and positioning yourself, your candidates, community and current healthcare workers toward better days that are coming.
They say the only way out is through - and none of us should go through these challenging times without support.
If you’re struggling with the effects of COVID-19 on your mental health, here are some additional resources to help you cope: