There is a looming physician shortage that will impact virtually everyone—and no clear solution on the horizon. The Association of American Medical Colleges anticipates a shortfall of between 42,000 and 120,000 physicians by the year 2030. Finding a doctor is expected to be difficult for patients across the country. Primary care practices, in particular, will struggle to attract new talent.
The underlying issues of an aging population and declining public health are not simple fixes. Nor is the growing burnout rate, lower non-specialist pay, rising administrative costs, and an increasingly complicated healthcare landscape. However, gaining a better understanding of what drives young or early career physicians will help private practices and hospital administrators prepare for the next generation of talent. Here are three things healthcare organizations can start doing to recruit and retain millennial doctors:
Focus on culture and purpose in the work environment
In a recent early career survey from CompHealth, a majority of millennial doctors indicated that organizational culture elements were the most influential when looking for employment. Millennial doctors want good work-life balance (63 percent), culture fit (60 percent), and location (60 percent) at their jobs. Compensation was important (49 percent), but it was not the critical determining factor.
In other words, attracting and retaining young physicians won’t come by simply raising salaries. As a millennial doctor myself, I can emphasize that my generation wants our work to be driven by purpose. This is especially true for the practice of medicine, where “punching the clock” has never really been a part of the description. When millennials set the tone that their work is more than just a job, companies that reinforce positive culture and emphasize work-life balance will have a leg up when it comes to recruiting and retention.
If employers want to attract and keep young doctors—and, as the shortage ramps up, retention will become crucial—they need to focus on a positive culture and purpose-driven work. Not only will this appeal to millennials’ career aspirations, but organizations will realize significant benefits when their employees are happy, such as increased engagement and decreased burnout. Both of which lead to lower turnover rates, happier employees, and higher revenue. In other words, a work enviornment that all physicians benefit from.
Enable others to pursue outside passions
Millennials are notorious for job-hopping, which could be tied to our well-known predilection for wanting experiences over possessions. While those of us who spent more than a decade in school are probably going to stick with our chosen field, we are also more likely to try building a multifaceted career by pursuing outside passions.
Practicing medicine is not just my chosen career, it is also one of my passions. I studied osteopathic medicine in West Virginia and then trained in family practice in New Jersey and Connecticut. I’ve also had the opportunity to contract as a locum tenens physician, which has allowed me to work with Native Americans in Nevada, military veterans in Louisiana, and refugees in Washington.