Healthcare Career Resources is a blog for those who work in the healthcare industry. We cover topics ranging from current events to medical humor as well as more career focused topics such as job search and interview tips. We also publish articles written for healthcare human resources and physician recruiters.
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To pull those candidates away from the bright city lights, you will need to paint them a picture of what working for your small-town organization will do for them, their family, and their way of living.
With the unemployment rates at their lowest in decades, how do small towns possibly compete with big cities and corporations to attract top talent? The trick is to focus on what the big corporations don’t – a small town culture, lower cost of living, and lower crime rates. To pull those candidates away from the bright city lights, you will need to paint them a picture of what working for your small-town organization will do for them, their family, and their way of living.
Most candidates head to the big city and large corporations because of what they know about the company. One would assume a company based in New York City means substantially higher salaries, the opportunity to rub elbows with the top players in the industry, and the never-ending parties and Broadway shows. What they fail to think about is the huge difference in cost of living, the tireless work hours and lack of work-life balance, and the endless traffic and bustle. It would not take long for an employee to become burnt out and overwhelmed in this atmosphere.
Instead, showcase how the small-town life is what they didn’t know they were missing. Provide testaments from current employees that live in and near town, highlighting their favorite things to do in the area and what drew them to the company. Walk them through what a typical day off might look like (local favorites, outdoor activities, shows, best restaurants, etc.). If the area has a specific stereotype, be sure to debunk it (think ‘It is always cold in Vermont/ It is too hot in Nevada’). If possible, bring the candidate and the spouse/children to the town and let them experience it. Provide resources in real estate, daycare, local schools, etc. to assist in helping them see themselves there.
Sometimes, it is not necessary to attract talent to you but rather to pull it in before it goes elsewhere. In a small-town atmosphere, it is important that your company name is well-known, and for positive reasons. Get involved in local events, volunteer, sponsor a little league, whatever puts you name in front of potential talent. The more positively the population views the organization, the easier it will be to get candidates interested in working for you.
Local schools are a great resource for healthcare recruiters. Do not miss out on these opportunities to capitalize on potential talent that is already right in front of you. Engage with upcoming talent by providing seminars, CPR classes, and internship opportunities. According to the Rural Health Research and Policy Centers, young people must be exposed to health care at an early age and encouraged to participate in Math and Science classes. If there are not comprehensive healthcare programs in the area, work with local schools to put one in place. Reach out to schools nearby and promote there as well.
It is vital to find monetary ways to entice talent to your small town. This is not always feasible in the bottom dollar on their paycheck. Provide cost of living calculations to potential hires, helping them to see that while the base salary may be lower than a bigger city, the money in their pocket can be substantially greater. The Washington Post suggests creative compensation initiatives such as offering sign on bonuses that are staggered to encourage new talent to stay with the company, providing home buying assistance, and working with your local Chamber of Commerce to identify potential programs to draw new talent to the area. The possibilities are endless as long as you are focusing on what your specific candidate is most interested in. Promoting great schools and local hiking trails will not go far with a single candidate who has bad knees. Pay attention to your candidates and put the work in to understand their needs.
The challenge of attracting talent to small, rural towns is not going away anytime soon. It is vital that recruiters make use of niche job boards such as HospitalRecruiting.com, promote the community and lifestyle, engage with talent that is already there, and learn what the candidates need most. Skipping any of these steps will result in a waste of time and energy on the recruiter’s part and an unsatisfied candidate.
You might have become a nurse for several reasons. Maybe you dig science or have a strong desire to help people. Whatever your reasons for becoming an RN, you may be surprised if one day you don’t feel the same enthusiasm for your career.
You might have become a nurse for several reasons. Maybe you dig science or have a strong desire to help people. Perhaps you were attracted by a flexible career which offered assurance of varying job opportunities all across the country. Whatever your reasons for becoming an RN, you may be surprised if one day you don’t feel the same enthusiasm for your career.
So, what’s going on? Before you start thinking you chose the wrong field, you may just be in a rut. Occasionally, we can all feel a little blah, and the same thing can happen with your nursing career. But if you feel you’re losing stream, it’s a great opportunity to find new ways to grow, change, and recharge.
There are several reasons you might feel that you are losing stream or gusto for your nursing job. For example, it’s not uncommon to develop burnout or compassion fatigue after years on the job. After all, nurses often deal with critical situations, patient deaths, and stress. Over time, that can lead to burnout, which usually decreases job satisfaction.
Fatigue can also cause you to feel in a rut. Working 12-hour shifts, especially if you are on nights, can be exhausting. Some nurses may also get in a rut if they are bored and don’t feel challenged anymore.
Think about when you were a rookie nurse. While you may have been a little bit apprehensive at times, you probably were also excited and enthusiastic about your work. However, as time goes on, doing the same thing day after day can become a little routine and boring.
You don’t have to jump with excitement before the start of every shift, but sure signs may point to a rut. Ask yourself a few questions. Do you often daydream about doing something else? Are you using more sick days than usual? Do you dread the days you have to go to work?
Let’s face it, if you’re in a rut, it’s no fun. If you don’t have the same excitement about your job, it’s also an excellent opportunity to make a change and figure out how to breathe some life back into your career. You might just need to make a small change to your work life. In other cases, it may be the right time to really shake things up.
It can be a bit scary to make a move or leave a familiar job. It sometimes depends on the perspective you have. Feeling stagnate is not really making the most of your career. Change can bring opportunities for personal growth and help you remember what you loved about nursing.
There are several ways to climb out of the nursing career rut and recharge, including the following:
Be honest with yourself: The first step in climbing out of a nursing career rut is to take some time to consider what is really going on. Ask yourself if you feel bored or overworked. Maybe you don’t feel challenged anymore or don’t enjoy your specialty. Take an honest look at what the main problem involves so you can determine what needs to change.
Switch your focus: If you are not challenged at your current nursing job, maybe doing something new is your best bet. There are so many nursing-related jobs from which to choose. For example, if you have always worked in acute care, a move to a rehab hospital might be a good option. Working with a different patient population may be something to consider. In other instances, switching into a non-traditional area of nursing, such as legal nurse consulting or research nursing, might be the right choice.
Know when to say when: You might love the work you do, but the facility where you work is not the right fit. There are several reasons why it might be time to leave your current hospital or facility, such as unsafe patient workloads, lack of management support, and disorganization.
Find the right work/life balance: It’s easy to lose your love of the job if you feel overworked and stressed. Life is better with balance. Make it a priority to find ways to achieve a good work/life balance. It might mean reducing hours or transferring to a closer facility to reduce your commuting time. But finding time to enjoy life outside of work often improves your enthusiasm on the job.
Remember, you don’t have to feel stagnate in your nursing career. Taking some action and making a few changes may help you climb out of your career rut and find your love of the job again.
Like it or not, there are companies in existence seeking to commoditize healthcare. While physicians still earn a decent living in the US, other countries see it differently. Also, telemedicine has become essential in providing access to care, but the compensation is racing to the bottom. When I took my first telemedicine consult around six years ago, each case paid $50-75. Present day, some companies offer a paltry $10-14. Most Telemed work is 1099, and after the self-employment and other...
The track to becoming a physician is clearly defined. College – med school – residency – job. Period.
Lacking in the process is a clear understanding of the business world. Some physicians have an intuitive sense, but most, I propose, do not. For those who have not sat in the boardroom or been part of c suite conversations, the decision-making is in sharp contrast to medical cognitive processes.
Combine exponential and abundant technological advances with business decisions, and the average physician will find him/herself in a precarious position. We are all ripe for disruption.
Doubt that sentiment? Read on.
Healthcare in the US is too expensive and does not deliver results. While this country has incredible institutions and physicians, overall we pale in comparison to global standards – #37 by The WHO ranking.
Pride and tradition attempt to command status, but metrics and data science reveal something more substantial.
There are many areas of medicine better accomplished with accuracy, efficiency, and economic advantages.
Physicians are expensive. We make mistakes. Patients often don’t know how to navigate the alphabet soup of M.D, D.O., N.P, P.A., etc. Who can blame them? Administrators are tasked with profitability, and care is being shifted to mid-level providers. One state recently passed an amendment removing requirements for midlevel prover physician supervision. Colleagues joke about retraining to become a midlevel because the pay is better and the responsibility less.
Like it or not, there are companies in existence seeking to commoditize healthcare. While physicians still earn a decent living in the US, other countries see it differently. Also, telemedicine has become essential in providing access to care, but the compensation is racing to the bottom. When I took my first telemedicine consult around six years ago, each case paid $50-75. Present day, some companies offer a paltry $10-14. Most Telemed work is 1099, and after the self-employment and other taxes, the per case rate is plain sad.
This piece is not designed to be a doomsday prophecy, but to spark an awakening for those hoping to weather the storm by ignoring the shifting climate.
Fortunately, the opportunities are vast for those willing to disrupt themselves. The time for a side hustle has never been better nor the options as plentiful.
While your driving forces may differ, there are a few more reasons to start a side hustle.
The intellectual stimulation of science and the body are potent drivers of discovery. Many physicians possess an innate curiosity and insatiable thirst to learn more. It has been drilled into us from the early stages of training. Always be curious. Keep learning. Improving lives depends on it.
Pursuing a side hustle opens the floodgates of mental stimulation. Taking on a new challenge, perhaps in something foreign or outside the comfort zone, is a perfect way to breathe life back into a career.
Technology companies need your expertise. I’m not mandating becoming a coder, but accepting the challenge to learn a bit will prove valuable in the future.
The tools at our disposal have made global collaboration easy and have removed geographic limits. The option and opportunity to collaborate and reinvent oneself is at hand. What you pursue is not open for debate. You get to decide without any department head approval. The freedom to explore as you did as a child is exhilarating. While medical knowledge is a unique advantage, many chose to pursue a tangential or completely unrelated venture. Some have left medicine altogether and never looked back. The time to begin is now.
Doors will open as one pushes deeper in a new direction. The options and alternatives will multiply. The universe conspires to help the creative. As your interest becomes known, new avenues of collaboration will appear. Make your intentions known. Share updates on your progress widely. LinkedIn is a perfect venue, and your inbox will reward you with opportunities. Upwork offers a platform to test your new skills. Take advantage of the tools available.
You must prepare for disruption. AI, machine learning, VR, AR, and yet undiscovered technologies will change the way you practice and alter patient expectations. AI has proven superior to physicians in a subset of specific skills. See the radiology links below.
Embrace change. Approach new technologies with wonder and an open mind. Push skepticism aside. Change is inevitable.
The question is: Will you evolve to survive the coming disruption or resign to fade out quietly?
How to start your side hustle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1524758841/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl
How to use your medical knowledge: https://expertsecrets.com/freebook?cf_affiliate_id=1507726&affiliate_id=1507726
Alternate careers for physicians: https://www.hospitalrecruiting.com/blog/5257/alternative-careers-and-side-hustles-for-physicians/
Medical disruption in action: https://www.fastcompany.com/90326445/this-free-ai-reads-x-rays-as-well-as-doctors
What physicians earn in other countries: https://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/how-much-do-doctors-in-other-countries-make/
Career disruption and reinvention: https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/career-disruption-can-you-reinvent-yourself
The largest certifying board for physicians, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), is responsible for certifying over 200,000 physicians. The vast majority— 85% of practicing physicians elect to become board certified. Not obtaining board certification— or maintaining it— is a tremendous faux-pas. The majority of patients and hospitals consider uncertified physicians near incompetent, despite an average of a decade of training and the multiple standardized tests necessary to...
As a physician who recently completed training, I have only taken my board certification exam— I am yet to start the arduous process of maintenance of certification (MOC). The process, overseen by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), entails a four-level framework that most physicians have submitted to since the early 1990s. Based on conversations with other physicians— and pending lawsuits— it seems that I am not alone in my trepidation for the road to come.
The largest certifying board for physicians, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), is responsible for certifying over 200,000 physicians. The vast majority— 85% of practicing physicians elect to become board certified. Not obtaining board certification— or maintaining it— is a tremendous faux-pas. The majority of patients and hospitals consider uncertified physicians near incompetent, despite an average of a decade of training and the multiple standardized tests necessary to obtain the MD designation.
Of course, there is a noble cause behind MOC. Physicians have committed to life-long learning and need to keep abreast of innovations in patient care. Additionally, the ABIM cites that the value of the MOC was designed with the input of physicians and quotes benefits such as adherence to guidelines, improved patient care and decreased health care costs. While some studies show an association between improved patient care and board certification, the high percentage of board-certified physicians and the many confounding real life factors, like fatigue, short clinic appointments, and administrative load make it difficult to ascertain causality.
Our current MOC process does not always achieve these lofty goals. The recurrent ten-year MOC is not inexpensive; it requires time off work and lost pay, as well as fees totaling thousands of dollars. Of course, this does not include travel expense or study costs associated with the exam.
The consequences go beyond financial concerns, as physicians who do jump through the hoops have learned the difficult way. A group of physicians sued the ABIM in December 2018, citing
In response to the lawsuit, the ABIM put out a call to its members in January 2019, called the Vision for the Future Commission, to evaluate general opinion regarding MOC. Astonishingly, only 12% of members indicated that they valued MOC, 46% had mixed feelings, and 41% did not value it at all. Most participants called MOD “burdensome” with 43% noting that it did “not help their [medical] practice in any meaningful way.”
To its credit, the ABIM has made some changes following physician outrage. It began to roll out the Knowledge Check-In in 2018, an alternative to the 10-year MOC in which physicians can take a biennial exam in the comfort of their own home or office. It simulates real-world situations, such as the ability to refer to the reference tool UpToDate that many physicians utilize during patient care.
Other specialty boards look to ABIM and refine their policies based accordingly. For example, the American Boards of Pediatrics (ABP), Surgery (ABS) and Plastic Surgery (ABPS) have all begun implementation of similar alternatives to the ten-year MOC exams that are “open book,” don’t require travel to test centers and take place more often than every ten years. The ABP is completely transitioning to this model.
Also, the pediatric exam— the MOCA-Ped— provides real-time answers so that physicians can learn from their mistakes in an educational setting and pass on the benefit to their patients. Others, like the American Boards of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ABOG) and Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), encourage their members to stay current on their specialty’s literature by testing physicians on innovative research as a way to maintain certification.
Furthermore, some boards are beginning to take the high stakes out of MOC. Physicians who do not pass the MOC can repeat the exam so they won’t automatically lose their certification, as is the case for ABIM physicians at the end of their ten-year cycle. Additionally, the ABP is making its MOC more relevant, allowing, real-world practices, like the development of quality, innovative programs in the workplaces to fill requirements for MOC.
Despite the efforts taken by ABMS, some physicians suggest it is too little too late, and they are ready to walk away from the MOC as it stands. The alternative certifying board, The National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS), has been vocal in calls to effect change in the current practice of MOC. The NBPS certifies non-surgical medical specialties and osteopathic physicians and identifies itself as a “grassroots organization.”
The criteria for certification are much more straightforward than for ABMS specialties:
However, only a minority of physicians (7000) is certified by NBMS, and only 108 hospitals nationwide accept certification from NBMS to obtain hospital privileges. Just as important, many insurance companies do not acknowledge NBMS certification. It is unclear how widespread NBPAS certification will become overtime and if it will rival or even replace ABMS. It is significantly cheaper, with the fee just under $169 for MDs and $189 for DOs with renewal fees $15 cheaper and no recurrent test required.
While the NBPAS and alternatives to ABMS make up a small proportion of the MOC options for physicians, the fact remains that they exist and as such, ABMS cannot turn a blind eye to physician concerns. Only time will tell if physicians are frustrated enough to increasingly switch to these alternatives to ensure the best care of their patients, without undue burden to themselves and their practices physicians.
Whatever the future holds, we physicians have the leverage to make our voices heard.
Even the most common interview question can be revealing, if you take the time to decode how it is answered.
The internet is rife with standard interview questions job seekers can prepare for; many even offer the “best” answer you can give. For many recruiters, these generic questions are asked by rote, with little interest in the response given. But even the most common interview question can be revealing, if you take the time to decode how it is answered.
Many hiring professionals start an interview with “tell me about yourself.” It seems like a benign intro to the process – an ice breaker for candidates that are nervous, an opening for those who are confident. Responses can run the gamut, from a laundry list of professional accomplishments, a checklist of their likes and dislikes, or their achievements on Fortnite.
Candidates that list their likes/dislikes may be telling you they’re not quite workplace-ready, but take note of what they’re saying. Someone whose list of favorite things, for example, could reveal he/she prefers solitary pursuits rather than group activities; he or she might not be a great fit for a front-facing position. Is a candidate particularly proud of his online gaming achievements? He might be a perfect for an IT spot. Does her list of professional accomplishments ring true? She might be a rock star, or she might be exaggerating – your gut instinct can usually tell which.
If the applicant hasn’t listed a professional profile, follow up with, “Now tell me about you as a nurse, doctor, administrator, etc.”
This is another standard question with a host of top-notch responses available online. Your typical answers: I’m a people person, organized, compassionate, etc. Rather than allowing an adjective as a response, follow up with –“Take a moment and give me an example of how you used that strength in your last job.”
The internet offers a shocking number of indirect self-compliments for this question. “I’m too dedicated,” “I hate leaving work undone.” Again, rather than allow self-congratulatory terms as the response, request an example. Ask the candidate to tell you about an instance where that weakness negatively impacted his work and what he did (or is he doing) to overcome this problem.
This question has evolved a great deal. It’s come in and out of fashion, but today’s iteration really should be more specific. “What are your professional goals?” Candidates may reveal they’re not looking to stay at your facility for very long. A great follow up, no matter what their answer, is “What are you doing to achieve these goals?”
Many interviewers are using situational questions to get candidates to reveal themselves. They can be quite effective. Ask an applicant to “Take a moment and tell me about a situation where you had to…”
Choose something relevant to the vacancy: handle a difficult patient or family member; respond to an unusual situation, train a new hire. Situational questions give an applicant an opportunity to boast about their professional skills. Their responses can help you understand if their actions in a particular situation would be appropriate in your facility. For some interviewers, it might be a good idea to ask the Department Head or Manager for examples of situations the job seeker may encounter, as well as what they feel would be an appropriate response.
It’s important to remember that job seekers are not always at the top of their game when interviewing. Being in the hot seat, knowing that “anything you say can be used against you,” can put a lot of pressure even on highly professional candidates. Many recruiters find the job seekers who are best at interviewers are not always great hires – they may just have a lot of practice!
Just as important as candidates’ answers is often how they respond. An applicant who jumps quickly to answer (even if you’ve asked her to take a moment to think of an example) may not be a great listener. Another who takes too long to provide a response or a similar situation may not be the best choice for a high-pressure position. If you want good information from a candidate, be prepared to wait for the most revealing answer.
Every single healthcare professional seeking out a travel or permanent position has different needs, skills, credentials, experience, etc. How flexible is your potential recruiter with your needs? Is he willing to listen and do his best to meet all of your requirements for your next travel or permanent job? A good recruiter will flex with you and go out of his way to see that your expectations are...
Who is going to be the one to help you find your next healthcare professional travel position? Who is going to help you negotiate the top pay packages and prime housing options? Who will be the one to help you land your dream permanent position?
Your healthcare recruiter, that’s who!
Whether you’re a licensed physician who works as a traveler, a traveling nurse, or a healthcare professional seeking out a solid permanent position, the healthcare recruiter you chose to work with is going to have a major impact on the outcome and quality of your next medical job.
What should you look for in a recruiter? How do you know if a healthcare recruiter will work to help advance your career or be out for his/her own best interests? Here are five tips to help you choose the right healthcare recruiter for you.
How long has the staffing specialist been doing this job? How does he sound on the phone? Does he sound like a robot reading a script? If so, you might want to steer clear, as this is a good sign that your healthcare recruiter is still fairly new to the job and might not feel as “at home” or comfortable with the job as would a healthcare recruiter who has been doing this type of work for at least a year or more.
While you may be used to having your healthcare recruiter interview you, you should also interview your healthcare recruiter at the same time. Find out how long she has been doing this type of work. Ask her how many other healthcare professionals she manages at a time. A recruiter who’s dealing with several dozen doctors or nurse practitioners might have a difficult time adding another to her roster.
A good healthcare recruiter will do his absolute best to always get back to you in a timely manner. If it is off-hours or a weekend, it’s understandable if he cannot get back to you immediately, but be leery of any healthcare recruiter that makes you wait 48 hours or more for a response (especially while you are on assignment or in the last phases of closing on a permanent position).
We all have lives outside of work. That’s a given. It would be unfair to expect your healthcare recruiter to be available to you 24 hours per day. However, a good healthcare recruiter will give you an option on how to contact her during off hours. Whether it’s an instant messenger app or text messaging, listen to how your potential recruiter recommends you contact her outside of the Monday to Friday, nine-to-five schedule.
Every single healthcare professional seeking out a travel or permanent position has different needs, skills, credentials, experience, etc. How flexible is your potential recruiter with your needs? Is he willing to listen and do his best to meet all of your requirements for your next travel or permanent job? A good recruiter will flex with you and go out of his way to see that your expectations are met.
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