South Florida Hospital News
Saturday August 8, 2020
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July 2009 - Volume 6 - Issue 1
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Surviving the Shortages: Creating a Successful Recruitment Plan for Heart & Vascular Physicians

According to The New York Times, "Healthcare is the single strongest sector in the U.S. economy today. Even in a recession, people continue to need medical care." Based on the many positions available through career websites and publication ads, organizations are being very proactive in trying to fill vacancies of medical professionals. But what about the future, when physician shortages will be even more pronounced?

Indeed, Corazon recommends that all organizations establish a recruitment and retention plan that considers the impact that shortages within the key specialties—among them cardiology, cardiac surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, and radiology—has on the organization as a whole.

As competition becomes more intense than ever, being armed with a sound plan for finding and keeping your physicians is critical to success. Corazon advocates these strategies in the development of a sound recruitment/retention plan for cardiovascular service line physicians:

Innovative approaches for recruitment.

Collaborating with local and regional educational institutions is one avenue that Corazon recommends as part of a sound recruitment strategy. Participating in employment fairs offered through educational institutions and understanding the best ways to implement educational forgiveness are ways to capitalize on new medical school graduates and fellows looking to begin their career.

Use multiple means for identifying candidates.

The recruitment efforts of Corazon’s Recruitment and Interim Management division focus on a mixed bag of Web 2.0 technology and traditional methods to make contact with potential candidates. Internet-based advertising and candidate sourcing methods, as well as print advertising in trade journals and publications are best for optimal results. A strategy should also include traditional approaches such as direct mail campaigns and direct telephone contact with candidates to determine their interest in exploring new career opportunities.

Create targeted campaigns.

Typically, recruiting physicians is much different than recruiting professional and staff positions, often requiring different strategies. Today, there are an estimated six general cardiologists per 100,000 U.S. residents, with nearly two/thirds of these physicians being over 45. Many cardiologists will retire over the next 10 years, and a sufficient number of new specialists will not be available to replace retirees. Campaigns should target the amenities of the organization (technology, expert staff, new services, etc.) and the perks of the local community. Corazon also recommends clearly communicating plans for the hospital’s future, including any partnership arrangements, benefits/opportunities, and other anticipated plans, as these are among the most important incentives for physician hires.

‘Ace’ the on-site interview.

It is imperative that organizations present themselves to the candidate and the candidate’s spouse in the best light. While on site, the candidate should meet with the decision maker and entire search committee. Also, a tour of the community with a local real estate agent can be helpful in order for them to see the community first-hand and evaluate the possibility of relocating if applicable.

Be competitive.

Recruitment and retention is a continuous cycle, with both being essential to the financial stability of any organization. Successful recruitment and retention continues to depend heavily on competitive compensation packages, which is why organizations must stay abreast of national and regional compensation trends per specialty. Further, positions that offer a work life balance are the most easily filled, especially now as physicians seek positions that offer a more predictable schedule with limited on-call requirements. If an organization adheres to key work/life balance standards, chances are, both recruitment and retention will be easier.

Savvy organizations are always looking, listening, and communicating in order to recruit and retain top-notch physicians. Prolonged physician vacancy rates can reduce the morale of the existing staff, impede momentum of program development, and could compromise the clinical quality of the program after lengthy periods of time. In the current economy, with fluctuating reimbursement rates and uncertainty, Corazon believes that organizations need to maximize their recruitment efforts to properly position their organization to fill employment needs at the right time with the right physician.

Kevin and Jessica are Recruiters at Corazon, a national leader in consulting, recruitment, and interim management services for the heart, vascular, and stroke specialties. Kevin can be reached at kmiracle@corazoninc.com and Jessica at jbricker@corazoninc.com. For more information about Corazon, call (412) 364-8200 or visit www.corazoninc.com.
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