Residents today are the belle of the ball. As hospitals and practices grapple with the growing physician shortage, recent medical school grads are in an enviable position to demand — and receive — whatever employment contract they desire. They are also easily poached. "There is such a shortage of providers that everyone wants them," says Kurt Mosley, senior vice president of physician search firm Merritt Hawkins. "Residents right out of school are like Heisman trophy winners. They can command what they want."
To ensure their new recruits stick around, practice leaders need to be sure their hiring practices leave nothing to chance. "Good recruiting leads to good retention," says Mosley, noting doctors once changed jobs roughly twice in their careers, but the average millennial resident today does so nearly as often in the first five years. "Twenty-five years ago, physician recruiting was like real estate. It was all about location, location, location. Now, it's lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle."
Young physicians don't want weekend call duty and they want to be home in time on a daily basis to take their kids to violin lessons. "It's a different era," says Mosley. "Some residents are coming out of school and only seeking part-time positions." To offer new physicians more predictable hours, practices may wish to consider using a hospitalist, a dedicated in-patient physician who works exclusively in a hospital so the patient's doctor does not have to do rounds.
Be sure, too, to share your vision for the future during the interview process, as millennials are well aware the healthcare industry is in an unprecedented state of flux. They don't like surprises. "Are you planning to join an accountable care organization or transition to a Patient-Centered Medical Home?" says Mosley. "How are the providers in your practice going to be compensated in a value-based model?" Above all else, he advises, be honest. "It's not all going to be good," says Mosley. "We've got a serious doctor shortage in America and we need every one of them and we need them to work longer in the field."