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According to the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM), more than 44,000 clinicians have chosen hospital medicine for their career, approximately 40% of hospitalists are employed directly by hospitals, and the practice of hospital medicine is the fastest growing medical specialty, growing at a rate of 5% to 10% annually1.

Because of the strong demand for hospitalists, recruiting competition is fierce. Consequently, hospitalist practices must view recruiting and retention as core competencies. This chapter provides best practices and key principles for recruiting and retaining qualified hospitalists.

In addition to updated information provided by Kirk Mathews and Dr. John Nelson, this chapter includes information from the 10 Key Principles and Characteristics of an Effective Hospital Medicine Group developed by the SHM Key Characteristics Workgroup. The 10 key principles are effective leadership, engaged hospitalists, adequate resources, effective planning and management infrastructure, alignment with hospital and/or health system, support of care coordination across the care setting, taking a leadership role in clinical issues, scope of clinical activities, a patient/family-centered, team-based model, and recruitment and retention of qualified clinicians. While all of these principles are important aspects of a successful group, this chapter focuses primarily on the 10 characteristics that support Principle 10—recruitment and retention: sourcing and recruiting candidates who are committed to a career in hospital medicine and who are board certified or board eligible, developing a good orientation program, providing resources for professional growth, paying competitive compensation, ensuring that employment agreements are valid and fair, measuring job satisfaction, and monitoring clinical competency and professionalism.

1Members of the Society of Hospital Medicine Key Characteristics Workgroup are Patrick Cawley, MD, Steven Deitelzweig, MD, Leslie Flores, MHA, Joseph Miller, MS, John Nelson, MD, Scott Rissmiller, MD, Laurence Wellikson, MD, and Winthrop Whitcomb, MD.


The sourcing and recruitment process consists of seven steps:

  1. Preparing a job description

  2. Defining the profile of a quality candidate

  3. Finding candidates

  4. Managing the application process

  5. Interviewing candidates

  6. Making selection decisions

  7. Extending job offers


A good job description can help attract the right candidates, create appropriate expectations, assist in evaluating employee performance, and more. A well-written job description will contain the following elements:

  • Position title

  • Department

  • Reports to

  • Overall responsibility

  • Key areas of responsibility

  • Terms of employment

  • Qualifications and credentials

When preparing a job description, it can also be useful to reflect upon the group’s culture and include candidate characteristics that are compatible with that culture in the qualifications section. For example, if the group functions in a very team-oriented manner, an otherwise “perfect” candidate who strongly prefers to work autonomously and avoid team meetings would not be a good fit.

A good job description is not just a laundry list of responsibilities. ...

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