Develop Your Strategic Physician Recruitment Plan


With a global doctor shortage, how do we recruit and retain physicians without having to lock them in to unrealistic commitment restraints? This question comes up over and over again.

Carefully planning the needs of your facility, staff, and understanding that there is much involved is a good start. The tips here are proven effective and provide a good guideline for meaningful recruitment and retention.

1. Understand realistic recruitment timelines

Start your search right away. If you think you might need a physician down the road, don’t delay. For instance, you have a doctor retiring in 2 years. Start your search now. Be proactive. It can take that long. This way, time is on your side, and patients are being properly managed and there is no panic on either side.

2. Communication is the Key to Trust

This is a critical point cannot be overlooked. Long breaks in communication leave room for doubt.

If the physician candidate reaches out to you via phone call or email and you take a week to respond, that’s not good enough. If fact, you are heading down a road that will lead to a breakup before a successful recruitment has taken place. This is not the type of scenario where absence makes the heart grow fonder. In fact, it starts to cast doubt, anxiety, and plays on all sorts of emotions that are not just the doctor’s, but potentially the entire family’s. Remember that they have timelines and plans to adhere to as well.

And if you are lax at responding now, how does that look for their future experiences with you?  Here are some thoughts to consider.

3. Put a Plan in Place and Ensure a Supportive Environment

Provide the doctor with the support they need to begin practicing in their new environment and do their job effectively. Be realistic about the time it may take for a physician to be comfortable. Developing an effective onboarding plan is crucial and will support long term retention. Additional points to ponder can be found here.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have existing staff been welcoming and supportive? Internal attitudes can make or break an environment.
  • Has everything that I promised been delivered on? If not, you are etching a knot in the rope of mistrust.
  • Have I been clear with the information they require to be effective in their role?
  • Is the doctor familiar with how to bill properly and most effectively? Knowing the billing system and fee codes is important, including non-insurable services.

It is in both of your interest that the answer to these questions is yes!

4. Be a Tour Guide!

Whether it’s yourself directly, or others in the company or community, provide local knowledge, show the physician (and family) around, give them a tour of your facility, but also the highlights and charms of your community. What kind of information would you be looking for if you were moving to a new town, city, or perhaps country? What would you want to know? If you are a small community, give them the unique info they won’t find on Is there a local secret spot for the best breakfast in town? A unique Sunday drive location to take the family? What excites you about your community will surely delight newcomers. This is your chance to show off your community!

5. Help the Family Settle

Think of it. By providing the physician’s partner with community connections that may help with employment opportunities or social activities, you are unifying the move for both decision makers. We have seen this countless times and it makes total sense. You are a dual income working family, and although the idea of a move is exciting, it is also an upheaval of everything that is stable, whether you are happy there or not! Parents have jobs, kids are in familiar schools and environments. And even if the partner does not plan to work, engagement in community is still helpful. At some point the excitement of a move can become daunting when the reality sets in that – wait a minute – we have no ties to this community. Help make those ties. Find out what their interests are right away. Is the doctor or their partner into running marathons? Match them up with local running groups in the community. Do they like art? Show them your local galleries! These acts are simple, yes, but they mean a lot.

Even if the physician is not relocating for the role, remember that just entering a new and unfamiliar practice environment with a new team can take some time to adjust to, and it is up to those doing the  hiring to ensure that everything is done to provide a friendly and welcoming environment.

THE MOST ESSENTIAL COMPONENT for retaining a physician is choosing the right person to start with.


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