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Don’t agonize – get organized! – Fall 2014

By Miranda Grace, FASPR, Physician Recruiter, Geisinger Health System

Miranda GraceI am a checklist fanatic. I make them for almost every occasion - grocery shopping, chores, packing, etc. I’ve even been known to add things to my list that I’ve already done, just to check them off! There’s so much satisfaction in completing a task and crossing it off my list. It may sound a bit obsessive, but checklists help keep me organized and focused. (After polling some members on Chat, I learned many of you are just as “obsessed” with organization as me!)

As you would imagine, I also use several checklists at work. These have become such a vital part of my process that now, I couldn’t function without them. Each morning, I make a to-do list with the tasks to be completed that day. I also use a detailed physician recruitment checklist for each candidate, which outlines all candidate activities from receiving a physician’s CV through completing the hire. On my checklist, I include such things as the date I receive a physician’s CV, status of licensure and board certification, interview dates, candidate dietary restrictions and more. My colleagues and I also use a CV screening checklist to verify all requirements are met before a candidate is forwarded to the hiring manager.

Donna Ecclestone, FASPR, Assistant Director of Physician Integration at Duke Medicine and Secretary, ASPR Board of Directors, uses an interactive onboarding checklist to stay organized. The checklist is shared with each person or department involved in the onboarding process and each new hire, respectively, in order to keep everyone on the same page. “We created a physician onboarding checklist that lists the tasks that are planned for them, when they’re scheduled, and the point person for completion of each task,” Ecclestone said. “Sharing the checklist with our new providers allows them to be informed, engaged, and a collaborative part of the onboarding process. It’s a win-win for all!”

Michael Tolzman, Physician Recruiter at Allina Health, uses the “Task” feature on Microsoft Outlook to keep himself organized. “I’ve been (nearly) 100 percent paperless for 3+ years now and sticky-note free since 2002. As a result, I live and die with Outlook, particularly relying on the “Task” function. I commonly link spreadsheets, new hire checklists, incoming voice mail logs, etc. to Tasks via hyperlinks, as it works quite well for me. The hyperlinks lead to source documents saved on a back-up drive,” Tolzman said.

“One phenomenally helpful tool for me is visual voice mail,” says Therese Karsten, FASPR, Senior Physician Recruiter with HCA Physician Services. “All 800 calls to my extension and my direct line go to voice mail when I’m not available. Within seconds after the caller hangs up, an email pops into my inbox with a transcript of the first 20 seconds of a message. Granted, it can be a tad garbled. For example, a message left as: ‘Therese, I need to think about this,’ equals, ‘Therese, I need to drink about this’…but I can always get the gist. Without dialing into voice mail, I return the urgent calls on my iPhone by clicking the call-back number (which is more helpful than the source number that shows in conventional voicemails),” Karsten said. “Also, it saves a .wav file of the message I can forward to a practice or hospital liaison outside of our division phone system when the tone of a message needs to be shared.”

A portable filing system helps Deanna Grange, Physician Recruiter for Intermountain Healthcare keep track of all her candidates. “A trick I use to keep myself organized is a portable filing system (a-z index tabs in a large folder) that I keep CVs in. I am speaking with about 50 providers at a time and have everyone filed in one place so I am not searching around for their information when I get them on the phone. My packets include the CV, a job screening sheet and a checklist. My checklist walks me through the entire recruiting process from start to finish,” Grange said.

Other ways to stay organized include: color coding tasks, prioritizing work, and setting realistic goals to keep work flowing efficiently. Sophie Kotomski, AASPR, Physician Recruiter for Northeast Medical Group, Yale New Haven Health, said she uses these and other tactics to stay organized, “I focus on prioritizing my work and then ignoring the ‘noise’ that can easily distract me. Also, I consider multitasking overrated. I aim to do one thing at a time and do it well.”

One of the greatest benefits of ASPR membership, apart from JASPR, is ASPR’s Resource Library. In it you can find a variety of tools that physician recruitment professionals, just like you, use to stay organized. Even better, you can customize any of the items to fit the needs of your organization. Amy Quinn, FASPR, Physician Recruitment Manager at Asante Physician Partners, serves as co-chair of the Resource Library Committee. She urges all members to utilize the Resource Library and take advantage of the tools available, “I became a member of ASPR soon after I started in my role and I heavily utilized the ASPR Resource Library. Although I had been in healthcare for 10 years, there was still so much to learn about starting a physician recruitment program from scratch. The ASPR Resource Library was a tremendous help to me and I was able to find valuable information on sourcing, screening, candidate tracking, on-boarding, retention and more. This is a wonderful resource for ASPR members - especially those who are new to the exciting and ever-changing world of physician recruitment!”

No matter how you stay organized, it’s important to share your tools, ideas, successes and even your failures with colleagues. It’s through sharing that we all learn and grow! Thanks to all those who have submitted materials to the ASPR Resource Library. I encourage others to follow their lead and contribute items you feel your fellow recruiters could benefit from. To submit content to the ASPR Resource Library, please email:

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