Recruiting Challenges in Emergency Medicine

With U.S. unemployment figures hovering at about 9.7%, the emergency care provider (physician, physician assistant and nurse practitioner) has continued to be a hunted commodity. Indeed, there are approximately 22,000 board certified emergency physicians currently in practice. Staffing each ED in the US with just one board certified physician at a time would require 40,000 physicians. From a study out of Harvard: 

“The number of physicians with board certification in emergency medicine is unlikely to meet the staffing needs of U.S. emergency departments in the foreseeable future, if ever; according to a study from a research team based at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). In the December issue of Academic Emergency Medicine 2008, the investigators report finding that staffing every emergency department with board-certified emergency physicians does not appear to be feasible, given their projections for the field.”

So, how do we manage to successfully recruit highly qualified, board certified physicians, and well trained mid level providers to all of our campuses? A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s why we put such a high priority in adding only the best and brightest to our team of over 80 physicians and 40 MLPs.

Our success is not an accident. Over our existence,we have created a very well-oiled, tight machine that attracts the finest and retains the best. Our recruitment process involves a complex, multi-pronged approach. Internally, our current employees are always invested in bringing their most impressive colleagues to us. We understand that our best prospects are personal referrals, preferably from the direct source — our employees.

We have a distinct culture, despite the growing size of the company, we have strive to maintain a small company personal feel. Our employees’ referrals enter our applicant process as members of the extended family. We are so committed to this process, and have acquired so many fine employees through this process, that we offer a financial incentive to our referral sources to continue to foster this process. Our work ‘family’ is blessed to work with groups of very fine nurses, hospital administrators, EMS, and other ancillary services.

Through these groups, our organization has prospered. We have very successfully received references and referrals through these excellent resources. As wonderful as our referral process has been, occasionally, we do need to recruit from the ‘outside world.’ When that is necessary, our providers first search back to our roots.

We have all been trained within the Emergency Medicine Academic community, and every year, we have successfully been able to return to our training programs, and places of previous employment to lure a few providers our way. We maintain close relationships with a number of residency programs throughout the country. We also work as ‘talent scouts’. We regularly attend ACEP, EMRA, and AAPA meetings. Our very talented group of physicians and MLP will frequently lecture at such meetings, and introductions to our new talent can occur this way as well. The recruiting process is very intricate, and we have met with unprecedented success.