A physician shortage is still projected by many sources. Odds are, if you are trying to recruit physicians, you are likely feeling the effects of this in one or more specialties. In order to expand your pipeline of potential candidates during a shortage or hard-to-find specialty situation, you need to be more creative and move beyond the common recruitment practices of job boards, emails and direct mail pieces.
Although financial incentives are an effective recruiting tool, they’re not going to necessarily separate you from the crowd. Signing bonuses, school loan repayment and production incentives have become fairly common practice.
To help you add to your candidate pool, here are a few other suggestions you may want to consider:
• Provide referral incentives – Offer great recruitment incentives to your current staff. Who better to sell your location and facility than your current doctors? Provide very lucrative bonuses for referrals that get signed. Residents who join your staff this year can be instrumental in recruiting residents one to two years down the road. Follow-up with an announcement to residents about their classmates who join your staff.
• Be flexible – Consider signing physicians who may not be available for another one to two years. Keep your options open with an eye on the future – build a funnel of candidates.
• Plan ahead – Just like in the previous point, you’re going to have to cement a good medical staff for the next five years. With a shortage looming, it’s imperative to start preparing for tomorrow today.
• Keep your eyes open – Be sure to start tracking and recording those physicians you may need in the future. Don’t wait until you’re desperate to try and locate the specialty you need.
LOCUM TENENS – The Human Approach
One of the most creative ways to expand your staff is the use of Locum Tenens. After all, Locum Tenens physicians who “fall in love” with a location will stay on full-time. Like a long interview process with no pressure to sign them immediately, you may introduce them to opportunities they may have never even considered before. Familiarizing them with a friendly and competent support staff will help them feel like they belong there. Find out what makes them tick personally and show them how to find it in your community. Woo them by being welcoming.
REAP SUPERHUMAN RESULTS
Most hospitals view this as an expensive option, but is it? You bill for their services while giving your existing physicians work and call coverage relief. And what is the benefit to retaining your existing staff? If you can at least break-even when securing Locums physicians, it may be well worth it. Still, many hospitals find they actually make money by billing for these physicians’ services.