When you write a physician contract, most information such as benefits, compensation and hours will be detailed, but there are other aspects of the job that will need to be discussed once the offer is signed. Smooth and thoughtful onboarding and training once physicians and advanced practice providers sign their offers will quickly integrate them into your organization and keep them satisfied in their roles.
Here are a few ways to train and onboard physicians, help them start practicing and improve their quality of life as a member of your organization.
When a physician is recruited from another city, relocation expenses may be negotiated in the contract. If all the details aren’t covered in the offer, share and discuss what your organization can provide for the hire.
Many employers will not provide a flat fee, but rather reimbursement for the employee’s move. This may include providing a moving company, packing and unpacking, a visit to look for homes, transportation for the family to move and temporary housing until a home is purchased and inhabited.
While some physicians are moving their families to a different state, others might be moving immediately after residency or fellowship, so relocation expenses will vary greatly. This also means one hire will need different resources than another. Be cognizant of what drew the employee to your practice and city, along with what they - and their families - require for their move. This is one of their first impressions of you as their new employer, so you want the move to go as smoothly as possible, making them glad they chose to practice at your facility.
Partnering with a local real estate company or Realtor is a great way to help your hire find their home in an area that is unfamiliar. This can be seen as an added benefit of relocating with your organization.
Physicians will also need to meet the licensure requirements for the state in which they are practicing, so you will want to ensure they have everything they need in order to do.
For a hire to become successful and feel a part of your organization, you need to get them acquainted with the community, staff and practice. You should also cover credentialing, human resources orientation, IT assessment and marketing integration. If there are forms and paperwork the physician needs to complete, making them available digitally will allow the hire to take their time and thoroughly review materials, creating an easier way to familiarize them with the onboarding process.
To create a smooth transition, you will want to have an orientation checklist. This might include credentialing, malpractice and other insurance coverage, finances and forms and paperwork. Assign a project manager and roles with members of staff to ensure they know the part they play in guiding new hires, keep the process on a timeline and hold one another accountable. The project manager can work as a liaison for the employee to communicate the needs of each department to the employee and vice versa.
Providing a physician mentor to work with the newly hired provider will also help them better assimilate to the new environment and practice. That mentor will also get a feel for how the physician is adjusting to their new position. Another way to measure the onboarding process is to conduct surveys and see what is going well and where you can improve.
The onboarding process can take 90 to 180 days, so putting time and effort into onboarding will help decrease turnover and improve retention of your hires.
There are numerous practice options for residents, fellows and physicians, so it’s good to know the appeal or deterrents of your organization/practice and how they affect onboarding and the early stages of the provider’s role with you. Some common practice types physicians and APPs consider are:
A physician can choose to start their own practice and build and run it themselves, placing the responsibility on them to bring in patients and hire and manage a small staff.
When physicians start their own practice, they get to make the decisions in regard to the hours they work, with whom they work and how they treat and care for patients.
If your organization does not provide good work/life balance or the structure a physician desires, they may look to start their own practice to regain control of their patient care and time.
Many new physicians will join group practices. They choose this out of residency due to the appeal of stability, call coverage, clinical backup, referrals and salary plus production-based bonuses.
Physicians in a group practice can also expect mentorship, collaboration, administrative support and help with the business side of practice management.
The downside of group practice can be seen as inequality in salary and experience in assigned support staff. Most physicians with greater seniority will be better paid and able to choose the nurses and providers with whom they get to work. Your practice’s compensation package and staff structure can balance the differences and help incentivize younger physicians to continue practicing at your organization.
Including a partnership or ownership clause in your contract attracts younger physicians with hope of buying into the practice one day, along with a competitive compensation package.
Hospital-based practices are departments within a hospital or group practices owned by a hospital. The advantages to working in these types of practices are access to a hospital with established lists of patients, steady salaries and support of other physicians and administrative staff.
Physicians looking to gain unique experience, advance their career and work on a temporary basis might choose a locum tenens position as these assignments can range from days to months. Offering varying experiences in patient care and flexible schedules can give physicians a reason to continue practicing with a group over seeking a locum tenens role.
Supporting new hires as they start practicing sets apart your facility from others and increases retention. You’ll want to give physicians the tools they need to succeed. This does not necessarily mean they will serve as a practice manager, but rather develop leadership skills and help guide other staff at your organization.
Most physicians join the field to care for patients. Allow them to focus their time on patient care by ensuring you have the proper staff and administration in place to let physicians do what you hired them to do.
Make sure the practice sticks to the expectations set in the contract. This gives the physician a chance to set their schedules and get used to their hours. You’ll also want to stick to the agreed-upon budget and compensation package. It’s important to pay well and reward for skill and performance to attract and retain strong physicians.
When you have systems and procedures in place that work well, you can more easily train and transition new hires, maintaining smooth onboarding for their first months of practice, continuing throughout their career. Clear onboarding and training strategies, a positive environment with extensive resources and detailed goals will keep and sustain a steady flow of quality physicians.