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Hiring Physicians: How to Position Your Practice vs. a Health System - Office Practicum

by Dr. Sue Kressly

Hiring Physicians: How to Position Your Practice vs. a Health System

Independent pediatric practices who are growing and thriving need to position themselves in a way that attracts new physicians to their practice. In an ever-challenging healthcare job marketplace, how can practices compete with health systems in their quest for talent? Successful practices have realized the following two necessary components:

1. The practice must unburden themselves with historical physician work schedules and re-imagine the way to give great care to patients and have personally fulfilled pediatricians working in a way that is meaningful to them.

2. The practice must look for modern and innovative ways to sell themselves to prospective physicians.

Let’s examine some key elements of both.

Balancing the needs of patients and families with the needs of physicians and their families!

  • The world no longer works on 9 am to 5 pm schedules. As a result, if they haven’t started to do so yet, your patients will expect access to you and your staff outside of these standard operating hours. Consider early morning and later evening office hours, and allowing physicians to work something other than an eight-hour day to cover those needs.
  • Traditionally physicians work four in-office days in addition to their on-call assignments. What if you changed that to five six-hour sessions per week? Some folks working 7:30 am – 1:30 pm and some working 1:30 pm – 7:30 pm.
  • Does hospital care still make sense for your practice? As many regions are providing newborn nursery (often as an extension of the NICU services) and pediatric inpatient care (hospitalist program), does it still make sense for your pediatricians to do hospital work or would they be better utilized doing those 7:30 am walk-in visits so parents can get to work and patients to school? What about 7:30 am well visits for families with two working parents?
  • What should your “on-call” look like? Should you consider utilizing your own nursing staff or a third-party pediatric after-hours triage service to decrease the burden on the on-call physician while still providing the service to your patients?
  • Is there a part-time physician who would be willing to extend your reach to patients via telehealth which they could do from anywhere or do newborn rounds only at their convenience?

Bottom line: you’re an independent innovative practice. You can be creative about the ways you balance your patients’ needs and your physicians’ needs. The health system can’t be that flexible or innovative because of their multiple layers of bureaucracy. Go think outside the box and be creative. It’s inspiring to come to work for an inspiring, innovative practice.

Now, how do you market yourself so other physicians say “I want to be a part of that”?

1. Be inspiring

Don’t just make one of those boring ads that says “FT pediatrician wanted, competitive starting salary, on call one night in 4, every 4th weekend. Awesome community to work in.” That’s not marketing.

2. Be personal

Create a video (it’s really not that hard or expensive – use your phone, iPad, etc.) that highlights the PEOPLE in your practice team. Include compelling reasons why you want to welcome someone who has their own areas of interest, is creative and can leave their individual mark on your practice. Highlight your doctor who has been able to bring an asthma program to your practice, or someone who is having a great time serving the special needs children in your community. Physicians are smart and they want to be valued. Welcome the value they bring to your practice. (If you haven’t done this for the physicians that already work for you, then you have some work to do first! If you are lucky enough to attract someone awesome they won’t stay if you don’t let them shine.)

3. Be understanding and supportive

Many young physicians are graduating with an enormous amount of medical school debt and have delayed starting a family because of it. Find a way to meet them where they are and make them feel understood and valued. This is an investment in your practice’s future! Will a one-time relocation package or a signing bonus for a new physician help ensure your practice’s future success?

4. Be creative

Where are these new physicians you want to hire? On social media? On listservs? In a nearby training program where you can let them rotate through your office and give them a firsthand look at your awesome practice? Host them for happy hour at your house and mentor them.

You have a distinct advantage over the health system. You ARE doing the job these new physicians want to be doing. You went into pediatrics to care for families and follow your passion. Use your passion for your practice and your willingness to be creative, innovative, and inspirational to attract new physicians to grow your team. Good luck!


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