Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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

Part One, Background of President with Her Observations on Physician Turnover

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; What is your background, leading up to the Presidency of Cjeka Search?

A: My whole adult career has been in health care. Most of it was in the field of transplantation. I worked for seven years at the American Red Cross, and then for fifteen an one half years I worked for Mid-America Transplant Services, which is the organ procurement service here in St. Louis.

Q: That sounds like a strange background for physician recruiting, but I suppose you are in the physician transplant business.

A: Yes, but while I was in the transplant business, I received a MBA from Washington University. While I was in the transplant business, I was in charge of everything non-clinical – professional education, PR, marketing, everything to do with promoting donations.

Q: Today I would like to talk about the Retention and Recruitment Survey in partnership with AMGA- The American Medical Group Association, the organization representing medical groups. This is the fifth year these two organizations have conducted this survey. Let’s chart about the highlights, the insights, and the surprises of this fifth annual survey. I understand you conducted it by sending an email questionnaire to all the members of the AMGA, and you had a response rate of about 12%, which is considered good.

A: Before we got the survey results, I said I hoped there’s something dramatic in terms of retention really going up or turnover really going down. But there was nothing like that. Overall turnover stayed at 5.9 percent down from 6.1 percent. Everything was pretty much the same, which surprised me, considering the state of the economy.

Q: I noticed physician turnover generally peaks in three years. Why is that?

A: I think what happens is that individuals when they are hired, they get sign-on bonuses that are tied to years of service. It takes a while for the bloom to come off the rose, By the time you get to year three, you know whether your job is a fit for you or not. Or they want to be closer to their families.

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