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Women Wanted: What are Hospitals Doing to Attract Female Physicians?
When it comes to seeking out high-quality employees, many businesses will spare no expense to ensure they find the best. As the saying goes, “Your human talent is your most important talent.” This is never more relevant than in the hospital setting.
Attracting and supporting talented physicians is a high priority for all hospital and clinic administrators; they are some of the first faces that the patients see and the hands that help them heal.
But, some hospitals take that goal a step further by pulling out all the stops to attract talented female physicians.
Making Necessary Changes Within
According to an article by Adaptive Medical Partners, there are five improvements that hospitals often make within their own environment to attract the best physicians (both male and female). They include:
- Valuing work/life balance
- Adequately staffing support positions
- Enhancing compensation packages and benefit offerings
- Investing in technology
- Developing a workforce recruiting and retention strategy
The first two of these improvement initiatives go hand-in-hand in appealing to female physicians. A recent survey by Medscape reported that 64% of female physicians cited work/life balance as their top concern. Hospitals that effectively address that concern will have a distinct advantage in the recruiting process.
Hospitals and clinics are getting creative in that regard. Popular strategies include establishing women’s mentorship and professional networks, providing flexible maternity leave and childcare options, creating job-sharing opportunities, and investing in support services and staff that reduce physician workload.
“Younger doctors want to feel supported with infrastructure already in place,” the Medscape article states.
“They also want lighter patient loads to have the opportunity to enjoy time off and enjoy less stress while on duty. Consider adding more midlevel practitioners such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants to help.”
Keeping Culture at the Core
It’s one thing to build effective programs and infrastructure, and another to bake the underpinning philosophy into the workplace culture. As prospective physicians create their own lists of pros and cons in working with a given hospital, the organizational culture will be scrutinized—especially by female physicians trying to balance the demands of motherhood, on top of their highly demanding work life.
According to an article by Harvard Medical School, creating an engaging culture is essential when it comes to recruiting and retaining quality physicians. “It isn’t simply a matter of paying people more,” their article states.
“Although having a reasonable salary and the resources required to perform your job safely and adequately are essential, there are more powerful incentives than money that influence people to stay at an organization and feel engaged in their work.”
Whether it’s accommodating a variety of working styles and allowing for flexible schedules or redesigning workflows and seeking input from team members, the article explains that keeping a positive culture in place is one of the best ways to attract the kind of talent they’re seeking.
“It is also important to provide opportunities for professional growth,” the article continues. “Allow people to take on new roles and responsibilities that will enable them to develop and hone their professional skills. The ability to advance one’s career within an organization goes a long way toward increasing engagement and retention.”
Boosting Physician Benefits
Another way in which hospitals are attempting to stand out above the crowd includes the establishment of physician-specific benefits. Healthcare consulting firm Sullivan-Cotter explains that this strategy provides the competitive edge they need in today’s highly competitive landscape.
And it’s not just the benefits you may be thinking of. Beyond offering strong health benefits, hospitals are going all out by putting continuing medical education expenses, licensing and medical malpractice benefits on the table.
Additionally, many health systems are boosting benefits packages even further by providing things like the repayment of student loans, relocation assistance, nonqualified retirement, Long term care, an allowance and time off for continuing medical education (CME) activities, flexible work schedules, and a sabbatical.
“Providing physicians with a competitive and well-rounded benefits package can go a long way toward creating an engaged workforce,” Sullivan-Cotter explains. “Yet, building a benefits package that is appreciated by the physician population requires informed decision-making by human resources and proper communication.”
All of that to say that even at the end of the day, these premium perks should be targeted and purposeful. The article encourages hospitals to take a deep dive into the demographics of the group they are seeking (in this instance, female physicians) to determine which benefits will be the most attractive.
“In addition to group preferences, employers should also take the time to get to know the needs of individuals,” Sullivan-Cotter continues. “Although many benefits offered have to be the same for all employees by policy or law, some benefits, such as CME leave, CME expenses and vacation, can be adjusted to meet individual needs.”
It’s clear that hospitals are pulling out all the stops when it comes to attracting female physicians. But to the hospitals lucky enough to land them, effort is a small price to pay for the return.
Physicians Angels is the industry’s first Virtual Scribe company, providing real-time documentation directly into the physician’s EMR, along with Virtual Back Office services. Our services save the physician an average of 10 hours per week, thereby improving patient throughput and contributing to a better work/life balance for the physician and office staff. To learn more, visit physiciansangels.com or contact us.