Letter from the Editor
By Lori Jackson Norris, FASPR, senior physician recruiter, Dignity Health, AZ
Baseball, hot dogs, and physician recruitment — Although spring is still in the air, spring training is over. Players who were vying for positions have been selected, and the regular season is well underway. The starting lineup is in place, although adjustments will be made throughout the year if players don’t measure up or if injuries arise. And I’m not just talking about baseball! The process of physician recruitment has many similarities. I’ll get to those soon, but let me set the stage: On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Arizona, some weeks ago, I was at a spring training game between the Oakland A’s and the Chicago Cubs. I’m not a big sports fan, but the son of a dear friend was playing for Oakland — Eric Sogard #28. Eric was born and raised in Arizona. Fortunately for his family and friends, the A’s training camp is based in Phoenix. So, on that wonderful weekend after-noon, we lucked out when Eric was put in the lineup, covering second base. However, the real treat was watching him at bat as he hit 3-for-3 in this particular game, missing a homer by a few ridiculous inches. Besides being a great ballplayer, he also is well-respected by his teammates and fans. Eric does a little bit of everything for his team. He gives it his all, turning challenges into advantages. As a baseball player, he is considered short in stature, comparatively; he wears prescription eye glasses on the field; he bats left-handed.
When Eric wasn’t up to bat or in the field, my mind wandered. (Remember, I told you I’m not a big sports fan!) I thought about the work I should be doing instead of sitting outside watching baseball, enjoying a dog and a cold one. Monday morning was looming, and I couldn’t help but think about what lay ahead of me at work the next day, including writing this column for JASPR! I think it’s a phenomenon of the physician recruitment profession, called Looming Monday: the inability to completely disassociate with one’s job, even over a weekend. However, while I was watching Eric interact with his teammates, I thought about the similarities between his job and ours. Many of us do a little bit of everything for our teams. We give it our all, turning challenges into advantages. As physician recruitment professionals, we might be short in staffing; working in an organization that needs help with its vision; expected to adjust to adjust our swing to meet the norms of our culture.
Like major league coaches, many of us have just finished with a “spring training” of our own, selecting the candidates we hope will play on our teams for the “regular season.” (Okay, maybe we’re more like line coaches or batting coaches!) Spring is a busy recruiting time as many candidates strive to solidify the deal and get relocated during the summer months before their kids start school; most new grads want to be in the starting lineup as soon as they complete their training programs at the end of June. As a result, the summer and fall seasons can bring an increased number of orientations and onboarding in order to get our new physicians up to bat.
In this issue of JASPR, learn how some of our colleagues are implementing their game plans for the upcoming seasons. In the article “Taking the fear out of tracking,” by members Shelly Tudor, FASPR, and Lynne Peterson, FASPR, learn such things as how to justify a bigger budget or additional staff by supporting your request with cold, hard facts. In another article, Jennifer Feddersen, PHR, MSM, DASPR, writes about how her organization implemented the LEAN process in the physician recruitment department. Feddersen provides compelling data on how this process has made impressive improvements in the department’s overall results. And, in her regular column on social media, Miranda Grace, DASPR, points out how an ASPR member, Kendra Hall, used the popular Pinterest social media site to pin down a valuable site visit. I hope you enjoy this issue of JASPR. Maybe you can find some tips or words of wisdom that will help you do your job better, and hit one out of the park!
By the way, after making an impressive showing during spring training, #28 was named to the starting lineup for Opening Day for the A’s and is on the roster for the season! Way to go, Eric Sogard! You’re a great team player and an even greater inspiration!
Journal of ASPR - Spring 2013