Rural hospitals overemphasize compensation in physician recruitment

While compensation is important in recruiting physicians to rural areas, it is not as important as hospital administrators may think, according to a survey conducted by clinician search firm Jackson Physician Search.

The survey, which polled more than 150 rural physicians and 105 rural hospital administrators, found 40 percent of hospital administrators rank compensation as the No. 1 factor for choosing a rural practice location, while only 28 percent of physicians did. Physicians ranked compensation second to community culture.

However, both groups agreed that if there were a single most influential recruitment incentive, it would be compensation. Administrators underestimated some of the other qualitative incentives, like autonomy, culture and leadership opportunities, which physicians rated as influential after compensation. Hospital leaders instead said loan forgiveness and flex scheduling were most influential after compensation. 

"Compensation will always be a driving factor in recruitment and retention, but this survey confirms how a variety of less easily quantified factors play as important a role in rural physicians' practice location decisions," Tony Stajduhar, president of Jackson Physician Search, said in a press release. "It's vital for hospital administrators to understand that physicians place heavy emphasis on other aspects such as community and workplace culture when considering accepting a position in a smaller, rural or community health setting or staying in that position — especially as the national physician shortage increases."

Find the full survey results here


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