Hospitals Focus on Doctor Retention - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Hospitals Focus on Doctor Retention

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When searching for a job in the medical field, doctors might not have North Dakota at the top of their  list. But Bismarck hospitals have been competitive when it comes to salaries and doctor retention. Through very creative strategies, Bismarck hospitals are staying ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to hiring and keeping doctors.

It's no secret that physicians make a pretty good living.  But just how good depends on where they live, and the type of work they do.

The website Medscape says, doctors' earnings ranged from about $156,000 a year for pediatricians to about $315,000 for radiologists and orthopedic surgeons last year. And while physician recruiters  wouldn't share exact numbers, they say here in Bismarck, they're paying way above that.

"We offer a living allowance. We offer, if they're still in training, a stipend. We will pay them so much a month if they will agree to sign a contract with us in advance of their finishing their training. And, for some that we really need, we offer, up to a certain point, loan repayment," says Dr. Kent Martin, Sanford Health.

Physician recruiters from St. Alexius and Sanford say last year, hospitals managed to retain  96 to 98 percent of their physicians by staying involved with them.

Dr. Marshal Jones has worked in California and Arizona, but three years ago, he and his family were looking for a change, and when he saw what hospitals in North Dakota had to offer, he says he jumped at the opportunity.

"One thing that stood out for me was the people that I interact with, and the physicians that are here. I was just surprised and thought this was a great opportunity," says Jones.

Recruiters also say it's not only about hiring the doctor, it's about attracting the doctor's spouse as well.

"If they're raising a family, it's making sure that the daycare and the things they need to do as a family are available to them, as well as making sure they have people that they can get to know that they can relate to in the community," says physician recruiter Randy George, St. Alexius Medical Center.

It's all about competition, and it's pretty obvious that Bismarck hospitals are leading the pack when it comes to keeping doctors happy.

Recruiters also say they've seen an influx of nurses who are looking for jobs in the area.

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