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Big game hunting

July 2009
recruitment incentives

Published in the July 2009 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

Peak hunting season for hospitalists is coming to a close. While all of us now recruit 24/7, 365 days a year, the summer spawn of new residents requires us to intensify our search from mid-winter to early spring.

That’s never been more true than this year, when the habitat of the experienced hospitalist ” a house purchased for $500,000 that now can’t be sold, even at $350,000 “has led to very curtailed migration of this most sought-after specimen of the species.

While I have yet to get up at 5 a.m. camouflaged in scrubs to stake out my nearest teaching hospital in hopes of enticing young doctors as they congregate for pre-rounds, I have certainly thought about it. In short, finding the elusive free-agent hospitalist in 2009 is just as difficult, if not more so, as in 2008.

Ever eager for successful recruiting in 2010, I recently reviewed job advertisements in hopes of determining what was likely to be the most effective bait for my wily prey. What follows are medical journal advertisements and what I imagine the prospective (if unusually cynical) hospitalists might think as they read them.

All in good fun, of course, and admittedly taken out of context. But my experience recruiting has proved that anyone stalking hospitalist game needs patience and a sense of humor. Here are the actual ads (in bold) and what I envision as the thoughts of prospective candidates:

  • “Call is 1:4-1:7.”Call is 1:4.
  • “Opportunity for a highly satisfying career with appealing shareholder model.”2008: very alluring; 2009: not so much.
  • “The compensation is appropriate for the New York City market.”Ditto.
  • “Incentives! $$$$$$$$$$”You had me at the third “$.”
  • “”¦seek physicians that combine the practice of medicine with the business of medicine.”If only the two would never mix.
  • “No overnight in house call.”Yes, but will I spend the whole night practicing telemedicine wishing our group had an in-house call program after the third ICU transfer and eighth admission?
  • “Enjoy a quality lifestyle with nearby world-class amenities.”Please define “nearby.”
  • “For exceptional quality of life, contact in confidence.”Please confidentially define “exceptional.”
  • “Choose the number of shifts you wish to work!”Don’t tempt me.
  • “”¦an easy drive 2.5 hours to NYC and Washington DC.”Note to self: Beware of anything this program describes as “easy.”
  • “Good family oriented area.”Great, did I mention I plan to start a family my first year on the job?
  • “Long-term associate wanted who is hard-working and motivated. Prefer recent graduate.”The non-naive need not apply.
  • “”¦countless opportunities for boating.”I always thought multiple boating opportunities would be enough for me, but countless … How can I resist?
  • “As an age management medicine physician, patients compensate you directly for your medical excellence”¦”Oops, this is not a hospitalist advertisement. Age management specialist? Maybe I need to reconsider my career choice.
  • “”¦pine trees”¦”Actually, I was hoping for palm trees.
  • “Balance practice with a comfortable call schedule…”How comfortable? Fuzzy slippers included?
  • “Dr. Erik DeLue is looking to expand the current 15 FTE group at Memorial Hospital.”They must need someone to see patients; I bet Erik is too busy writing his damn blogs.Good luck to all the new hospitalists as you start your careers. Keep in mind that no job will exactly match your expectations, but hopefully, it will turn out to be at least close to what was advertised.

    Erik DeLue, MD, MBA, is medical director of the hospitalist program at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mt. Holly, N.J.

    We’d like to know w hat you’re thinking. Please send your letters or comments to our editor at editor@todayshospitalist.com.