Think about the time, energy, money, and resources organizations commit to attracting and retaining nurses. There are entire teams in HR working on innovative ways to attract nursing candidates. There are teams working on nursing retention, nursing development, obtaining Magnet status, and nursing career development pathways. These initiatives are front and center on the senior team’s strategic plan.
Compare this to the approach most organizations take toward the medical staff:
- It’s estimated that only 50% of organizations have a formal physician leader development program – which likely focuses on just the top 10% or so of the medical staff; and
- Most organizations have programming, resources or interventions for the small, but growing percentage of physicians deemed “disruptive” or those who’ve reached the point of “burnout”.
- Sometimes the “retention” plan is nothing more than ensuring physicians are under contract – with terms that aren’t necessarily favorable to the physician, including non-compete clauses.
In essence, all of the attention and resources go to 10% of physicians who’ve already made their way to senior leadership roles, and then to those 10% or so who are already struggling – often too late to make a real difference.
The results of this approach?
- Epidemic rates of burnout
- Increasing rates of turnover (At close to $1M in lost revenue per physician)
- Decreasing physician career satisfaction and sense of meaning
- Employed physician productivity is generally lower than their independent colleagues
- A lack of succession planning to develop the next level of competent physician leaders
- Physicians aren’t engaged in their organization’s initiatives –
There’s also a widening disconnect between a growing list of system demands – what they expect from physicians, and the goals and needs of the physicians, themselves:
- Organizations expect physicians to be productive, engaged, compliant, adaptable, effective leaders, cost conscience, innovative AND outstanding clinicians who generate great quality and patient experience scores.
- Physicians, on the other hand, merely want to take care of patients, find career success, avoid burnout, feel like valued partners, and have organizational support for their own growth and development.
But what are we doing to help physicians achieve these goals? For 80% of the medical staff – not much. Why aren’t we investing in EVERY physician’s success? It can be done. It can be done efficiently and at scale. Even moderate success will:
- Attract more physicians to organizations that engage in this type of programming because they’ll see that the organization values them, and supports their success.
- Reduce expensive physician turnover.
- Engage physicians as partners in moving the organization toward its goals – including solving problems that will increase productivity and improve outcomes.
- Develop effective physician leaders.
- Pro-actively PREVENT physician burnout and disruptive behavior.
How to start?
- This does NOT require an extensive build-out of resources or large expenditures. It DOES require a new mind-set.
- HR can help – take advantage of their expertise and resources. At the same time understand the complexity of the physician work force. Where necessary engage external subject matter expertise/resources that can help
- Engage existing physician leadership in ANY initiative and clearly communicate to the organization, the value that they bring
- Leverage technology and scalable solutions to reach the “80%”
- Every physician that joins the organization should be on-boarded and have an individualized plan based on his or her goals, preferences, strengths and challenge areas.
The ROI seems pretty obvious.