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|How to successfully hire a neurologist: Trends in the neurology job market - Summer/Fall 2016|
By Cyndi Port, RosmanSearch, Inc.
If you have been trying to recruit a neurologist in the past few years, you have probably noticed that filling these positions is neither quick nor easy. You are not alone. A quick search of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) website shows that there are currently over 500 open neurology positions. There are some recent trends in the neurology job market that might explain why hiring a neurologist has become so challenging.
The increase in neurological conditions with the aging population and the explosion of innovation in neurology created a situation where specialization became de riguer. There is so much more a neurologist can do now than even 20 years ago. Interventions are more common, more involved, and most importantly, more effective. For many of the neurologists just coming out of training, it may seem that residency just scratches the surface. This problem is compounded when the neurologist comes out of fellowship, because at that point it may have been 3 or 4 years since the last time she evaluated a condition outside of her specialty area.
This poses a problem for the practice looking for a general neurologist. The retiring neurologist who once saw patients with every type of neurological condition now has to be replaced by several neurologists, all of whom specialize in one or two specific areas. The good news is, the demand for neurological services is on the rise as well—due to increased population growth, aging population, and the increase in insured patients through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.² So while the cost to fully-staff the neurosciences department might be more than planned, the patient base will increase as well, as your practice can provide services to patients who would otherwise seek treatment elsewhere.
Out-patient/in-patient split, or lack thereof
Of course, there remain patients with acute neurological issues who need a neurologist to care for them. Furthermore, some procedures, like t-PA for stroke, require rapid evaluation and intervention by a certified neurologist. Increasingly, hospitals are employing inpatient neurologists, or neurohospitalists, to attend to a variety of inpatient neurology needs that just did not exist 20 or 30 years ago. The “increasing complexity of in-patient medicine” combined with “diminished internal medicine training in neurology” creates a perfect scenario for this new breed of neurologist who finds the hospital setting more rewarding than outpatient practice⁴ and an opportunity for hospitals to provide the community with improved continuity of care.
Having a telemedicine program in place is another way to deal with the problem of hospital call. Having tele-neurology in place means that the doctor covering the ER can get the stroke patient immediate neurological attention without having a stroke neurologist in the hospital. Tele-neurology programs are becoming increasingly common. The American Stroke Association has said that having a telemedicine program in place will help solve the problem of shortage of inpatient neurologists and allow hospitals to become acute stroke ready.
Hiring a neurologist in today’s tough job market requires a position that appeals to someone’s desire to subspecialize and significant compensation (and, as always, a bit of luck!).
1. www.aan.com/uploadedFiles/Website_Library_Assets/Documents/8.Membership/1.Your_Membership/2. Member_Benefits/3.Residents_and_Fellows/2011%20AAN%20Resident%20Survey%20Final%20Report.pdf