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Help! I’ve just been asked to recruit an advanced practitioner for my organization – Fall 2014

By Maddie Wagner, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, ASPR

Maddie WagnerIt’s Monday morning and you’re gearing up for your weekly team meeting. You have no idea your boss met with the vice president of HR the previous Friday to discuss the organization’s recruitment of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Due, in part, to a re-organization of the HR team, they decided the recruitment of these providers would best be handled by the physician recruitment team.

The meeting starts out as usual – reviewing open positions, candidate status and outstanding offers. Then, your boss tells the team he has some exciting news. In addition to recruiting physicians for the organization, you will now be tasked with recruiting all medical staff. After all, how difficult can it be? Since you are the senior recruiter on the team, your boss gives you the assignment.

You head back to your desk and pull up your applicant tracking system to discover there are 26 open requisitions and they are spread over 10 different specialty areas. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists. Where do you begin? How do you source these individuals? Do you give them the “white glove” treatment your physicians are used to? You schedule a meeting with the recruiter who previously handled these searches to get the lay of the land. Here is some of the insight gathered from that meeting.

Understand the recruitment cycle
It’s no secret that recruiting a physician may take months, even years. However, the recruitment cycle for advanced practitioners generally moves more quickly. In fact, you may even have candidates for your opening within days of posting it. While this may seem great from a sourcing standpoint, you could find yourself overwhelmed with the screening and interview process.

Advanced practitioners seeking a new position will likely apply for multiple positions and may be courted by several organizations at the same time. This means you must contact them as soon as possible and keep the process moving. If a candidate is left waiting weeks to hear back about an interview – or an offer – s/he may end up taking a different position.

Identify with the needs of the candidate
Advanced practitioners are not physicians. While they are clinically adept, they often have very different views about patient care and what they may be looking for in a position. Nurse practitioners typically like hands-on patient care, while physician assistants may find their passion lies in the operating room. Understanding what role an advanced practitioner is seeking will help you avoid forcing a square peg into a round hole.

Generally, advanced practitioners are open to discussing what is important to them, both professionally and personally. Be sure to ask specific questions to better understand their personality traits – and practice preferences – so you can place them in a practice setting where they will thrive.

Understand what candidates are looking for in a new position
Advanced practitioners may be looking for different features in a position than a physician. They will have a lot of questions about working for your organization, including some of the following:

  • Does the collaborating/supervising physician have experience working with advanced practitioners?
  • Is call required and is there additional compensation for taking it?
  • What training opportunities exist in your organization? (This will be especially important for new graduates who may lack the confidence to work independently.)
  • How are advanced practitioners viewed by the organization overall? (While some departments may thrive using a care model that includes advanced practitioners, there may be other departments who view working with them as burdensome.)

Be familiar with their scope of license and credentialing requirements
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the prescriptive authority and oversight differences between the various types of advanced practitioners. Variations in what an advanced practitioner can do within the scope of licensure may make them ineligible for certain positions. Also, be sure to have a basic understanding of the different types of degrees – some states allow licensing with a bachelor’s degree, while others require licensure candidates be master’s prepared. Your organization may also have specific educational requirements, so be sure to ask your hiring departments what training they require.

Keep in mind, many advanced practitioners will be hired as new graduates and may not understand the licensing or credentialing processes. Know enough about the requirements so you may coach them through this process.

Treat them like royalty
In many organizations, HR recruiters manage the recruitment process for advanced practitioners; therefore, candidates are often not used to special treatment. The best way to ensure a memorable experience for your candidates is to treat them like you treat your physician candidates. Cover interview expenses, provide a community tour – if they are not already in your area – and take them to dinner if the schedule permits. This will give candidates a warm, welcoming experience and they will remember your organization when it comes time to make a decision between multiple offers.

In many ways, recruiting advanced practitioners is very similar to physician recruitment; for that reason, it makes sense to have this level of staff recruitment handled within the physician recruitment department. It may take time to learn about their qualifications and where to find them, but if you do your homework, you will find recruiting advanced practitioners very enjoyable.

© 2016 Association of Staff Physician Recruiters. All rights reserved.
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