This post is the third of a four-part series on how to acquire and retain emergency medicine doctors. It discusses the importance of hospital leadership’s support and engagement to foster a positive practice environment and improve physician retention.
As recruiting and retaining ED clinicians becomes increasingly competitive, it’s equally important that hospital leaders foster a healthy practice environment. When it comes to retention, practice environment is often cited as the most influential factor in a clinician’s satisfaction at work. An EM clinician is like any other professional: If they like where they’re going to work each day, they will be less inclined to look elsewhere.
New opportunities may come calling, but you can ensure your ED clinicians are working in the kind of practice environment they won’t want to give up.
As outlined in our last post in this series, “The Role of the Medical Director in Clinician Satisfaction,” supporting your medical director is the best way to positively contribute to a positive practice environment. Aside from the medical director, there are other factors you can impact to create a better practice environment. Namely, ensuring adequate coverage, engaging and empowering the team, and keeping communication lines open.
Consider the questions below to identify opportunities to make a positive impact on clinician retention.
Ensuring adequate coverage
- Does the current provider-patient ratio allow your EM clinicians to spend adequate time with patients, or are both patients and clinicians feeling excessively rushed?
- Is there adequate nursing and secretarial or department support for all shifts?
- If adding another physician isn’t affordable, is it feasible to add a nurse practitioner, or physician assistant to high-volume shifts?
- Also, along with examining day-to-day operations and metrics, pull back and look at the big picture through a clinician’s eyes as well.
Engaging and empowering the ED team
- Do your ED clinicians feel valued?
- Are they recognized for jobs well done as often as they receive suggestions for how to improve?
- How are decisions made in the ED — by consensus or directive?
- Are ED clinicians granted a voice and an opportunity to share ideas and experience before you make decisions that affect them?
- Is someone accountable for acknowledging or rewarding good clinicians and working with or removing those who obstruct the harmony of the practice environment?
Keeping communication lines open
- Are communication avenues open and efficient?
- Are you checking in with ED clinicians in-person to gauge their satisfaction?
- Do you have an objective, non-supervisor in place (such as a scheduler) who frequently communicates with clinicians? Are you leveraging that person to help make you aware when clinicians or the practice environment are struggling?
Read more about retaining emergency medicine clinicians: