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Strategies for Recruiters in a Physician Shortage

by Alex Bloodworth, Jackson & Coker Senior Recruiter

Two years ago, my wife and I were blessed with a beautiful son. I remember thinking at the time that I couldn't imagine any better day in my life. Now, we're about to welcome our second child into the family, and I feel truly lucky.

As a recruiter at physician staffing firm Jackson & Coker, I can't help but think what life would be like if my family didn't have access to healthcare. What if my little one fell and hurt himself, and we had to drive two counties over to see an ER doctor? Or what if my wife didn't have a close-by OB to keep her healthy during her pregnancies?

Unfortunately, this is a very real problem I'm seeing while recruiting psychiatrists in Florida. Recent studies show psychiatry is facing the largest doctor shortage of any specialty in Florida over the next 10 years. Across the state and country, people are without access to psychiatric services because of the lack of mental health professionals available.

With such tough competition for psychiatrists, it can be easy to feel discouraged about finding the right staff for your facility. But in my experience, I've learned some tricks that will help staff physician recruiters find great candidates in even the toughest physician market.

#1 Start early. As part of your overall strategic recruitment plan, you can anticipate the upcoming needs of your facility. There are certain things you can foresee (a retiring physician, vacation time for your staff) and some you may not (medical leave, a physician suddenly leaving the practice). Be prepared for both.

Don't get caught accepting a physician who's not the right fit or leaving your patients without services while you're getting a doctor credentialed.

#2 Cast a wider net. Avoid falling into the trap of using the same old job boards. Social media, medical schools, and physician networking events should all be a part of your search. Set yourself up with a LinkedIn Recruiter account, which enables you to search for candidates by keyword, location, job title, group membership, etc.

Don't be afraid to look beyond your immediate community. Many physicians are open to traveling/moving or may be looking specifically in your area, though they are currently based elsewhere.

#3 Know yourself. Know your physician. Be realistic about what your job, facility and community have to offer, and highlight the best aspects when you're writing job ads or speaking to a candidate.

Get to know your candidate on a personal level. Maybe she's a foodie, and you can show her the local hotspots for good food in your town. Or maybe he has children who love sports, and you can get him connected with the local little league. That personal touch can go a long way to make your physicians feel more at home.

#4 Form relationships before you need them. "Always be hiring." You've heard the idea, but do you practice it? At Jackson & Coker, we are always connecting with physicians for which we may not have an immediate position.

That practice proved extremely beneficial when we were working with a client in Texas. We were called upon to help find physicians for the facility’s new mental health unit. Before long, we had staffed the entire unit of over 70 beds by placing physicians we already had working relationships with.

#5 Consider a staffing agency (or two). Using a staffing agency can be beneficial for many reasons: they market to physicians who are actively searching for a new opportunity; they know the specifics of your state's regulations; they can help you get your physicians credentialed.

Staffing agencies can help you reach a pool of physicians you may otherwise be missing. Physicians like Dr. Rufino Ramos, someone I've worked with for years who enjoys using the knowledge he's built over his long career to help patients in underserved communities.

Communities a lot like yours.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn. To view the original article and leave feedback, click here.

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