By Julie Phelan, MD, MBA, President, Biomedisys Inc.
Recent publications have reported that pertinent topics in the inhouse
staff physician recruitment industry include physician burnout
and shortages.1,2 Three members of the Association of Staff Physician
Recruiters (ASPR) were asked about transforming the industry. To
help hone the discussion and to determine the most relevant or common
themes, they answered three questions: How would you transform
your work setting or make it easier, what is your perfect/ideal
work setting, and why is what you do meaningful?
Defining the industry
Given that most in-house staff physician recruitment professionals
have their own department, i.e., separate from human resources — but
work to fill gaps in needs for providers — human resource professionals
and chief executives do not understand precisely what in-house
staff physician recruitment professionals do, but they do know that
the role is necessary. Amy-Catherine McEwan, FASPR, physician
recruiter at Meritus Health, Hagerstown, MD, indicated that defining
the industry “would make her job easier.” To express her commitment
to her career, McEwan recently earned an ASPR fellowship certification,
FASPR, and believes it has helped to address this gap, as it proves
that she “has been recognized by [her] industry and that [she] know[s]
the science and method to physician recruiting,” as well as “indicates
to C-suite and others that [she takes] what [she does] seriously.” The
certification also provides a sense of pride in what she does: after earning
her certification, she had her door sign updated with “FASPR,” so
administrators, providers, and hospital personnel can see that she has
the qualifications and training to perform her job.
ASPR is a place where members speak the same language —
know and understand the field, can share stories, and advocate for one
another, according to Frank Gallagher, ASPR president and director of
provider recruitment at New Jersey-based AtlantiCare. In-house staff
physician recruitment professionals can demonstrate to those outside
the field what the role entails, including new physicians and advanced
practice professionals who may not know what an in-house staff physician
recruitment professional does or can do for them.
Ensuring cohesiveness between key stakeholders
Jill Little, FASPR, regional director of physician recruitment at
Detroit Medical Center, Southfield, MI, indicated that, ideally,
increasing the level of cohesiveness between all key stakeholders and
physicians regarding open opportunities would help to satisfy the
market. As for transforming, restoring a staffing model for physician
recruitment would increase effectiveness and the ability to provide
more educational opportunities to providers.
Good hiring teams
Gallagher indicated that for a provider to join an organization, the
in-house staff physician recruitment professional ensures that a
candidate sees the collectiveness and touchpoints of an organization,
so the provider would want to join an organization. Throughout
these touchpoints, the in-house staff physician recruitment professional
ensures that the provider has a first-class experience that is
vital given doctor shortages and supply-demand issues. Gallagher
further explained that “no one joins because of [him] or the team
but because of the relationship and who they meet during visits.”
McEwan discussed how she tries to introduce candidates to staff and
providers in all departments, from a friendly and welcoming cafeteria
cashier, who asks candidates what their specialty is and takes a
real interest in their background, to environmental services personnel,
operating room staff, etc. Whenever McEwan walks a candidate
around — a person wearing a suit — hospital staff, providers and
administrators know that she will approach them to introduce the
candidate. These details demonstrate to candidates how welcoming
the organization is.
Another consideration is strategic planning to fill a need in a community.
McEwan stated that strategic planning, e.g., 18 months
in advance of knowing when a coverage gap will need to be filled,
helps to focus on areas that need to be hired over that time. Such is
the challenge of the primary care shortage. This approach allows for
targeting to fill a future need versus being reactionary to fill a need in
real time: proactive versus reactive.
Ideal work setting?
Gallagher mentioned a supportive setting for in-house staff physician
recruitment professionals; leadership that understands macro
issues, such as the physician shortage; and leadership that understands
that each provider who joins the organization has unique
individual interests. Typically, it helps to capitalize on these individual
Why is the role important?
In-house staff physician recruitment professionals have a unique
opportunity to impact and enhance the local community, according
to Little. Little further explained that she can increase the level of
healthcare quality and is able to meet quality metric requirements in
the community in which she lives and provides support. Increasing
access, the level of care, and the quality of services provided, as well as
the ability to meet healthcare needs within the local community are
why the role is essential.
Gallagher explained that “each time [he] meets a provider candidate,
[he asks] is this someone [he] would send family members
to?” Further, the in-house staff physician recruitment professional
determines coverage gaps in medical and healthcare needs in the
local community, so neighbors do not have to travel long distances
for certain medical needs. Whenever Gallagher runs into a recently
hired provider, he hears firsthand how the new hire is enjoying the
work and community, how the new provider’s family is enjoying the
area, and how the provider and her family are fitting into the area.
Other times, Gallagher hears a patient story on how a new provider
saved a life. The in-house staff physician recruitment professional has
a different level of communication in terms of satisfying the market.
These opportunities provide an excellent chance to work with leadership
to grow service lines and to establish new service lines.
According to Gallagher, ASPR will continue to focus on getting in
front of and advocating for in-house staff physician recruitment professionals,
so the profession remains visible to decision makers within
healthcare recruitment. As a team-based approach is not always
possible and most or all physician and advanced practice provider
recruitment responsibilities are performed on an individual basis, i.e.,
the ASPR member, ASPR will continue to collaborate with respective
leadership and organizations to enhance awareness.
1. Allar D. Investing in physician well-being pays off, reduces burnout
by 20%. Cardiovascular Business. Available at: http://www.
investing-physician-well-being-pays. Published September 27,
2017. Accessed January 21, 2018.
2. Shanafelt T, Goh J, Sinsky C. The business case for
investing in physician well-being. JAMA Intern Med.