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Much has been made of the fact that the practice of Hospital Medicine has become the fastest growing specialty in the history of American medicine. Most experts agree that there are approximately 30,000 physicians practicing as hospitalists as of 2010. The Society of Hospital Medicine reports a membership of approximately 10,000. Yet even with the rapid increase in hospitalist supply, the demand remains even greater. Many believe the demand will reach 40,000 hospitalists in the next several years.

As a result, recruiting competition for hospitalists is fierce. Therefore, it is imperative that hospitalist practices maintain a high performance recruiting function as a core competency. Recruiting physicians requires a good understanding of human nature, a proven process and the discipline to apply that process to a large number of candidates. It is hardly an exact science, yet there are several important principles that must be applied. This chapter will attempt to provide employers with a basic understanding of these principles as well as some tips and suggestions to enhance their recruiting performance.

Many employers make the mistake of believing they are actively recruiting if they run a recruiting advertisement in medical journals or perhaps even if they have engaged a recruitment agency. In most cases, these are merely passive recruiting efforts. Actively trying to locate candidates through existing relationships and Internet recruiting will yield much better results. In the current competitive recruiting environment, it is critical that the employer have an aggressive candidate sourcing strategy.

Every good candidate sourcing strategy begins with the establishment of candidate parameters, including training requirements (MD, DO, internal medicine, family practice, etc). It is important for the employer to have a good understanding of their customer, the referring physicians, when establishing the candidate parameters. For example, the decision to hire family practice physicians as hospitalists should only be made with the approval of the referring medical staff.

The candidate sourcing plan should be thorough yet budget friendly. The following are all potential sources of candidates that should be considered by the employer.

Existing Medical Staff

Often, the best hospitalist that a hospital could hope to hire might already be on staff. Confidentially asking formal and informal medical staff leadership about who might be a good candidate could yield great low-cost results. Medical staff leadership will probably know which physicians are the best clinicians as well as who might be thinking about exploring a change in their practice situation.

Medical Staff Referrals

Hospitals must be intentional about asking existing medical staff members for referrals. Most physicians are so busy they will not take time to really think about colleagues who would be good hospitalists without frequent prompting. Of particular value are recent additions to the medical staff. Newly trained physicians will be aware of physicians coming behind them in the next graduating class and recently relocated ...

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