Fitting Physicians into Your Organization’s Culture

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PE-thumb5How do you prevent physician turnover at your organization, especially with our country’s raging physician-shortage crisis endangering operations?

Well, there’s no simple answer, of course, but an article over at MDNews contains some insight as to why so many physicians and medical professionals are burnt out and looking to change jobs.

Reporter Jennifer Webster cites the usual litany of reasons, of course: economic constraints, regulatory changes, long or irregular work hours, and poor work/life balance.

Regardless, though, it’s in your group or hospital’s best interests to keep your physicians from quitting and to negotiate those aspects of their contracts that are frustrating them and possibly leading to burn-out.

Furthermore, losing a physician could cost you upwards of $1 million. That’s $1 million for one physician, Lori Schutte, president of Cejka Search, said. “A single physician turnover may cost more than $1 million, including recruitment, orientation, and lost productivity while the position is vacant or a new doctor is getting up to speed. And in terms of the stability of the practice, the impact of physician churn on patients and support staff may be quite detrimental.”

In other words, healthcare organizations should be looking to keep its physicians happy. This should be paramount among an organization’s priorities, as should ensuring that these physicians are a good cultural fit.

Actually, Schutte explains, it’s “lack of cultural fit” that drives most physicians to leave their jobs. The other reason is the inflexibility of work hours.

“This reflects what we hear from the newer generation of doctors — they want to be able to balance work with life, buy a home, and start a family,” she said.

Offering any form of ancillary support, such as an onsite gym or enhanced clerical support, can also boost the levels of your physicians’ morale, Schutte said. “Ancillary support … gives physicians more time to spend with patients and goes a long way to making the practice more enjoyable. If possible, medical practices can offer flexible work hours to improve work/life balance and enhance physician lifestyles.”

Showing an interest in their work/life balance speaks volumes to them about their worth to the organization and treating each one individually and not seeking a one-size-fits-all solution to contractual matters will garner their loyalty and dedication to the organization.

As healthcare executives, how do you meet the cultural and professional needs of your physicians? How has your organization tried to boost their work/life balance and morale? How have your physicians responded to your efforts?

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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