March 30, 2012

New survey: 74% of medical groups plan to boost primary-care physician hiring

by Elizabeth Brazeal

A newly released study, the 2011 Physician Retention Survey, shows that the demand for primary care physicians is increasing. According to the survey, 74% of USA medical groups plan to hire more PCPs this year than they have previously.

The proposed hiring increase stems from a projected physician shortage and a high turnover rate for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Medical groups are more likely to hire advanced practitioners to fill the gaps in patient care.

Cejka Search, a healthcare staffing services recruiter based in St. Louis, MO, partnered with the American Medical Group Association to complete the study. The AMGA’s member organizations include over 125,000 practicing physicians, who provide healthcare services for nearly one in every three Americans.

A total of 80 medical organizations responded to the 2011 survey, representing 14,366 physicians. 67 percent of respondents said that in the past five years, the involvement of advanced practitioners in their groups had increased “somewhat” or “significantly.” Looking ahead toward the next five years, the study anticipated a 75% increase in advanced practitioner involvement.

For the past twelve-month period, the medical groups surveyed also identified 21% and 13% growth, respectively, in new physician assistant and nurse practitioner positions. In addition, no groups had any plans to cut down on their PCP staff.


Healthcare is a dynamic industry, in which it can sometimes feel as if change is the only constant. An overwhelming amount of information floods administrators on a daily basis, and there is simply not enough time to take it all in. Nonetheless, it is vitally important for early careerists and more experienced individuals alike to adapt to the transforming environment. Identifying and understanding trends is key, but this is easier said than done. Developing a plan to filter relevant information and utilize appropriate sources is necessary. As the great Peter Drucker said, “Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement.” Gaining the knowledge most pertinent to personal career goals can help facilitate career advancement.Having a plan
Creating a career development plan outlining future goals must be the first step if you do not already have one. This plan should include strengths and weaknesses to help understand where your talents lie. Being able to use and grow your strengths is a key to success. Having a plan for how to acquire the knowledge you will need to cultivate these assets is easy to overlook, but is just as important. Personalizing how you stay current with your professional goals will help to narrow your focus on the vast array of resources available. Once a plan is in place, you can concentrate on topics related to your areas of interest. Information gathered should be relevant to both your career and your organization. Gaining knowledge that adds value should always be a priority. This will allow you to stay current and informed without wasting precious time on non-essential reading.Making the commitment
Staying current and up to date must be a daily commitment, which is often a task valued in theory and forgotten in practice. This is why you should devote at least 15 minutes every day to reading about current trends in your industry. It can be tough to allocate any amount of free time due to busy schedules, but it will pay off in the end. Specifying a certain time of the day for reading may help, such during a daily commute or immediately after lunch each day. The key is making the commitment. Many successful individuals spend much more than 15 minutes every day staying current. As you grow more familiar with the process, attempt to increase your daily dosage of reading material. You may also find opportunities to catch up on heavier reading while waiting at the airport or when stuck at the dentist’s office. Maintaining a file of earmarked articles for future reading can aid this process for some. But for others, this may cause reading material to simply accumulate and go unread. Developing a system that works for you is the best strategy. Still, this should be in addition to a daily routine of reading which serves not only as a source of valuable information but also as a reminder to look outward and ahead.

Sources for national issues and developments
Keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry at a national level is important. It is easy to find all of your attention focused on your local market, but this can be detrimental to your organization and career. Looming federal policy changes, for example, can have a direct impact. The reliance of healthcare on constantly evolving technologies mandates continual learning for administrators. Innovation is often inspired from external sources, sometimes even from other industries. According to Peter Drucker, “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” While his statement aptly describes entrepreneurs, it also highlights the importance of foresight and adaptation. Awareness of industry-wide issues and developments is crucial to contending in a competitive market.

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