Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Third of Four Parts. Interview with Lori Schutte, President of Cjeka, Search, Inc., A National Physician Recruiting Firm.

The Gender Factor: How Women Physicians Are Transforming Medical Practice

Preface: I conducted this interview on behalf of The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization representing physicians in state medical societies. Most of these physicians are in independent, physicians-owned practices. The Foundation is interested in what attracts physicians to new practices, why and when they leave these practices after being recruited, what characteristics organizations employing physicians are looking for, and how the physician practice landscape is changing.

Q: I have a blog called, formerly, and I have written there several times how women physicians, who now constitute 50 percent of medical graduates, are changing the dynamics of practice. The impact is profound. Dr. Buz Cooper says by 2020, 60 percent of medical graduates will be women.

A: You are right. There are now 24,000 American medical school graduates, and one-half are women. We know for a fact women physicians work fewer hours. We are not only going to have a physician shortage, but less physician hours. It’s a reality we have to live with – this desire for a balanced life style.

One of the questions we asked in our survey was: how many physicians are married to another physician. The 2008 survey asked:

How many physicians in your group are married to a physician also working in your group?

• 7% of groups had 10 or more married couples
• 35% of the groups had 4-9 married couples
• 57% of the groups had 3 or fewer married couples

In recruiting you have to deal with how to place dual career couples.

Q: That reminds me. These days about 80 percent of obstetricians and gynecologists are women. I recently interviewed a female obstetrician/gynecologist in a group of five, and four of the five female partners had a house-husband.

What other impact do you think women physicians have on practices?

A: The disconnect is in what female physicians are looking for and what practices are offering. Women are going to locate where they want to locate and live where they want to live. If I have a highly desirable location, I don’t have to offer as much as I do if I have a more rural setting. Practices have to get in line with what candidates are looking for. We have to say to practices; part-time may be out of your norm, but let’s find a way to make this a win-win. This is a great candidate, and if you don’t find way to hire her, your competitor will.

There are many variations off this theme. We had a couple of physicians with a baby, and their proposal to the group was, we want to job-share one spot. The group said, that’s OK.

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