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April 1, 2021

Strategizing specialty recruitment

Just like the job market, the physician recruitment market is constantly fluctuating. That’s why it’s helpful to stay on top of updates so you have an idea of how to direct your efforts when recruiting certain specialties.

Each quarter PracticeLink develops the Physician Recruitment Index with this in mind, capturing which specialties are currently most in-demand and the hardest to recruit.

These indexes are based on the supply and demand of specialty jobs and specialists. The more jobs per candidate in the system, the more difficult the search may be when recruiting those specialties.

View the lists below:

As you assess this information, does the data align with your organization’s current recruitment challenges and needs?

Prioritize your candidates - and their well-being

To capture and maintain the attention of specialists in these groups, it’s important to make your potential hire feel like a long-term investment rather than a present objective.

A good starting point is ensuring you’re in tune with any concerns during the physician job search. This includes being mindful of one specific, but major, threat to an employee’s experience: their likelihood of burnout.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst, 96% of medical professionals agree that burnout is an issue in the industry. It’s a frequent cause of depression, anxiety and suicide among health workers, and has even been influential enough for some to consider alternative occupations.

However, it may be surprising that the main drivers of burnout have remained consistent throughout the pandemic. In fact, a Medscape survey of more than 12,000 physicians in 29 specialties indicated only 8% of physicians said treating COVID-19 patients was their primary cause of burnout, while nearly two-thirds cited excessive bureaucratic demands, and 37% cited long hours.

Burnout stemming from stress of treating coronavirus patients makes up a small fraction of cases and, unfortunately, is an area where employers don’t have much control. However, you may have influence over other prominent causes.

Physicians recognize some organizations are more dedicated to maintaining their staff’s mental wellness than others. As intuitive individuals and job hunters, they’ll be noting any signs your staff is burned out, conditions that might lead to them becoming burned out and other similar deterrents.

As you seek out those hard-to-recruit and in-demand specialties:

  • Elevate your openings by focusing on your organization’s resistance to burnout drivers
  • Tout flexibility and the importance of proper work/life balance
  • Emphasize your understanding and supportive community
  • Show a prioritization of mental health
  • Demonstrate an open line of communication between staff and leadership

Also keep in mind some candidates will reach out to members of an organization to get a feel for the community and work culture, which is another important reason to assess and frequently check in with your previous hires. How are they doing? Are they showing signs of burnout? The last thing you want is for your present staff to report "long hours and excessive bureaucratic demands" to those considering your opportunity.

No matter where they place on these indexes, most physicians are drawn to organizations that recognize their staff’s limitations and prioritize their mental health. When candidates are faced with multiple options, make sure you stand out as the employer who has addressed the hard topic of burnout and demonstrates active strides to prevent it at your health system.

Read PracticeLink articles by Alexandra Cappetta

Alexandra Cappetta

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