Healthcare WorkforceTalent Acquisition

Keys to Recruiting Physicians to Non-urban Areas

Attraction strategies to help ease a challenging recruitment process.

By Tierney McAfee

They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same can go for recruiting physician talent to rural or even suburban hospitals and health systems. With unprecedented competition for physician talent in the United States, organizations in America’s non-urban areas must work harder than ever to attract desirable doctor candidates.

According to Chris Schleiss, vice president of healthcare for Cielo, the more personalized the recruitment and the more involved the entire community is in the process, the better.

“Physicians evaluating rural opportunities generally practice in a style that’s highly personal and usually with greater connection to their patients,” says Schleiss, “which is why it’s not uncommon for a rural hospital to hold some kind of event or welcome party with key community stakeholders in honor of the visiting physician and their family to give them a glimpse of the residents or people they’ll be taking care of.”

Since it’s typically challenging to recruit physician talent in what some consider to be less ideal locations, Schleiss says it’s important for organizations outside of urban areas to highlight the benefits of working in a close-knit community.

“Absent of some of the big-city amenities, non-urban hospitals should try to focus on the merits of what stands out about their community and try to be as creative and flexible with their offers as possible,” he explains. “Many facilities are in health professional shortage areas and have the ability to offer some sort of loan forgiveness and/or visa sponsorship, which can be attractive to many physicians.”

People have different motivations for why they may want to work with an organization in a non-urban setting,” Schleiss says. “Our job as their recruitment partners is to help segment the market and build attraction strategies that speak to those individuals and call out some of those benefits.”

Another key to success in rural recruitment is to be open-minded about candidate parameters.

“Some facilities are skeptical of physicians who are not from the area or have no ties to the community. But the recruitment process is really all about getting to know the candidate just as much as it is them getting to know their opportunity in the community and really determining what their motivation is to move there,” he explains. “If hospitals stay diligent in their evaluation and open-minded, they’ll be successful in attracting a quality candidate and, more importantly, a new member of their close-knit community.”

Tags: Talent Acquisition

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