The biggest health crisis facing the future of the United States has nothing to do with a new strain of flu—it has to do with retirement, specifically the increase of physicians set to retire in the next twenty years. This drop in practitioners combined with the increased competition for spots in medical school, rotations, and residencies means a shortage of physicians. Hospitals are looking at current patterns in physician employment and relocation for answers on how to attract the next wave of physicians and keep them content in their positions.
The first step to attracting future physicians is to understand how to best communicate with medical students and graduates. Despite the popularity of social media and the tech savvy state of society, securing a job in the medical world is based off of networking and referrals. It comes down to personal connections and the willingness of physicians to vouch for graduates. For this reason, it is a good idea to power down the computer and ask peers for recommendations on new talent.
The second step to securing new talent is understanding what exactly new medical school graduates want in their first job. New physicians desire a good salary, flexibility in scheduling, and an interesting mix of patients and cases. According to one article, the financial incentive does not lie in the overall amount the physicians can make, but rather the potential for student loan forgiveness. The combination of financial-based incentives and good work-life balance will make for an offer many medical graduates would struggle to decline.
When physicians who have changed hospitals, or moved towards an individual practice were questioned about aspects of their old job that lead to the switch, the most common answer was an inadequate work-life balance. Specifics that contributed to this were long hours and inflexible scheduling. In addition, physicians mentioned feeling underappreciated and a lack of infrastructure within hospitals that may help them feel otherwise.
To fix these issues, hospitals need to acknowledge that their doctors play other roles in their lives outside of the hospital. Acknowledging these facts will take some work within hospitals. Specifically, work will need to be done in order to improve scheduling, flexibility, and a more open forum with physicians to ensure their needs and desire are being met.
Overall, communication with physicians beginning early on in their careers will ensure that they are happy. This will do the most to increase their time with the institution. Attracting physicians in the first place follows the same theme of connecting through personal referrals and can be facilitated through colleague inter connectivity.
Interested in improving your professional communication skills? Learn to communicate with a supervising physician and other hospital staff members during a rotation with AMO!