High Physician Stress Levels Compound Growing Physician Shortage: Survey Finds Culture is Key to Physician Wellness and Retention

A 2017 survey by Cejka Search and VITAL WorkLife of 555 physicians and advanced practitioners found that stress levels among physicians remain alarmingly high, with 85.1% reporting moderate to severe stress levels.

St. Louis, MO, June 22, 2017 --(PR.com)-- A survey of 555 physicians and advanced practitioners by Cejka Search and VITAL WorkLife Solutions found that stress among clinicians remains alarmingly high, with 85.1% reporting moderate to severe stress levels. This compares with 86.1% reported by physicians in 2011, which demonstrates little to no improvement in the number of physicians at risk for burnout over the past six years.

“With ever changing technology, reimbursement and government and patient requirements, the pressure on physicians is only expected to rise,” said Don Weis, Senior Vice President, Cejka Search. In fact, 73% of health care CEOs predict greater stress among physicians in all settings in the coming years, according to a 2016 Modern Healthcare survey.

The Dangers of High Physician Stress and Burnout

Physician stress and burnout can lead to increased turnover and recruitment challenges, lower staff morale, reduced work hours and increased medical errors – all issues healthcare organizations under financial pressure can ill afford.

For example, the physician shortage is expected to reach as high as 88,000 by 2025, primary care physician vacancies are estimated to cost nearly $1.3 million per year, per physician, and the physician recruitment market is the most competitive in recent history, with less than one job-seeking physician available for every primary care physician job opening in the nation.

“Burnt out doctors are the antithesis of engaged doctors, and replacing them in today’s competitive recruitment market can be challenging for healthcare providers, especially in secondary and tertiary markets where shortages are most acute,” said Weis.

Culture Most Important to Improving Physician Wellness and Retention

The survey also found, while all of the wellness categories explored (self-care solutions, cultural attributes, and business processes) were important to clinicians, culture emerged as the most important across all wellness measurements. For instance, clinicians reported culture as “extremely important” to the desire to stay in one’s current job (64.86%), mental or emotional health (64.86%), and work-life balance (68.92%). A majority also viewed culture as extremely important to their compassion for patients (53.5%) and relationships with care team members (56.0%).

The cultural attributes most valued were skilled leadership (84.3%) who demonstrates awareness or concern for their needs (87.8%) and creates an environment where team members are collaborative (88.8%), and employees are held accountable (86.5%). Even within the category of business processes that advance quality, the themes of strong leadership and team collaboration were reiterated, along with effective staffing ratios.

Hiring for Cultural Fit Best Way to Improve Physician Wellness and Retention

The first step in retention is ensuring cultural fit from the point of hire, according to Cejka Search experts. To do so, organizations must have internal clarity on the role and requirements, use behavioral interviewing, interview in a variety of settings including social and informal, and conduct thorough reference checks. It’s also important to remember that physicians today have their choice of employers, and they are screening potential employers for cultural fit as much as the organization is.

“Healthcare organizations need to recognize that they are competing for physician talent,” said Vivian Luce, Senior Vice President, Cejka Search. “To secure top choice hires, employers must have a plan for making a great impression during the interview process, be decisive and efficient once they find a physician they like and be flexible in designing a total employment offer that meets the needs of the individual as well as the organization.”

About the Survey

The 2017 Physician and Advanced Practitioner Well Being Survey is the fifth survey of its kind conducted by Cejka Search and VITAL WorkLife since 2011. The sample analyzed included 555 physicians and advanced practitioners and 59 healthcare leaders. The survey examines stress levels, access and barriers to well being solutions and the perceived value of these solutions among physicians, advanced practitioners and leaders. For more detailed survey results visit http://www.cejkasearch.com/hiring-for-cultural-fit.

About Cejka Search

Cejka Search is a nationally recognized physician, healthcare executive, advanced practice and allied health search firm providing services exclusively to the healthcare industry for more than 35 years. Cejka Search recruits top healthcare talent for organizations nationwide through our team of experienced professionals, award-winning recruitment technology and commitment to service excellence. Cejka Search is a Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. (Nasdaq: CCRN) company, a leading provider of healthcare staffing services in the United States. For more information, visit http://www.cejkasearch.com.

Media Contact: Tiffanie Lee, Brand Strategy Partner, Cross Country Healthcare, tlee@crosscountry.com, (314) 236-4542
Cejka Search
Tiffanie Lee