The Search for Effective Physician Leaders: New Strategies for New Challenges, Part I

Posted by VISTA Staffing on Jun 2, 2010 10:20:00 AM

Note: This is the first installment in a seven-part series on best practices in physician executive recruiting. To download the entire document, click here , or call Kurt Scott at 800-366-1884 to request a printed copy.

Part I:

As our healthcare organizations become increasingly complex and competitive, the search for effective physician leadership has become a sink-or-swim issue. Physician executives today must have the ability to build new programs, fix ailing ones, secure referral and payer networks, manage professional staff, recruit new talent, understand and plan for budgetary and regulatory challenges, and much more. And the hard truth facing many organizations is that physician leaders of the past—often senior and very well respected members of the medical staff promoted into the job—may not have what it takes to lead in these interesting times.

On the one hand, I say kudos for understanding this change and focusing so precisely on this emerging need. On the other hand I say, “Get ready to rumble. You have entered the most competitive space in healthcare recruiting.” The following suggestions will help you gather the right team, build a solid plan, set expectations, avoid some common pitfalls, and find the best clinical executive for your organization, all within eight months.

Establish your Executive Search Committee

As a chief executive or chief medical officer, you know that recruiting new physician leaders is one of the most important steps in building or changing the culture and personality of your organization. It is very important to go into the process deliberately, with a clear idea of the change you need to make or the standard you need to uphold. The right search committee brings this vision squarely into the process.

Create a core Executive Search Committee that participates in ALL physician leadership searches, regardless of program or specialty. DO NOT create a different committee for each search; you will lose the consistency, vision, and the chance to build a team of “super interviewers” who understand your organization’s leadership needs. DO plan to add additional members to the core team based on the position you are filling.

The committee should be heavily weighted toward physicians, of course. Include community-based physicians who can positively influence their peers. Take the time to interview these physicians, and select those who can be positive and supportive of the position and your effort to fill it. In addition to an eagerness to “sell” the position, select members who are willing and able to critically assess candidates. Most importantly, core team members must be committed to taking the time and maintaining the flexibility to participate in first-round interviews.

Set clear expectations for the committee’s role

Surprise—the Executive Search Committee doesn’t get to “pick the winner.” It is vitally important that committee members understand that their role is to evaluate, screen, and recommend candidates to the leader responsible for hiring and managing the new executive. The committee should present two or three candidates the entire committee can support for and in the position. They may rank candidates, but given the competitive nature of recruiting in this space, they must be comfortable and supportive of all recommended candidates, no matter who gets the job. The final decision must be that of the hiring leader—always.

Check back next month for Part II, Fine Tuning Selection Criteria, or go to http://www.vistastaff.com/facilities/services/search/locumtenens to download the complete document.

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Topics: Industry Updates

About VISTA Staffing Solutions

Founded in 1990, VISTA Staffing Solutions helps hospitals, medical practices, and government agencies in the US optimize their physician staffing, ensure quality and continuity of care for patients, and maintain financial stability. A leading provider of US Locum Tenens and Permanent Physician Search Services, VISTA is the only agency that offers both domestic and international work opportunities for locum tenens physicians.

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