Physician recruiter spotlight: Sherri Vaughn, M.D.

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Meet: Sherri Vaughn, M.D., family physician and physician recruiter

Sherri Vaughn, M.D., Lawrence Memorial Hospital

Sherri Vaughn, M.D.

Employer: Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Lawrence, Kansas

Why did you choose to become a physician recruiter? Physician recruiting really chose me!

I took a position as Vice President of Medical Affairs for Lawrence Memorial Hospital in 2008, and physician recruitment fell under “all other duties as assigned.”

At that time, physician recruitment was not an actual department and was something that was done essentially on an as-needed basis. The only physician recruiting that I had done was recruiting physicians to my private practice group in the previous years of my practice.

I had always been the recruited, not the recruiter. This gives me a very interesting vantage point when recruiting other physicians.

What’s your favorite part of recruiting physicians? I get to hand-select the colleagues I work with daily and the specialists that I refer to. It gives me great insight and confidence in taking the best care of my patients.

What’s your favorite part of recruiting physicians? Don’t chase the money. Look for the right fit with a group. When you are happy and know you are taking great care of your patients that put their trust in you, the money will come.

What can physicians look forward to in your community? I get to be close to my daughters as they grow up. I have been allowed the privilege to be a guest speaker and teacher in their classes. I have taught health classes, Junior Achievement, planned class parties, gone on field trips. I also get to interact with many of my patients in the community that I live in.

Learn more about practicing in the Midwest here.



How physicians can prepare for behavioral interview questions

Whether it is your first or your 40th, behavioral interview questions can generate stress and anxiety. Prepare yourself with these tips.

By Terri Houchen and Charlene Plotycia | Web Exclusive


Interview room door concept for recruitment or medical checkup with a consultant

The most common interview format includes behavioral interview questions.

Based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, behavior-based interview questions can reveal attitudes and values of candidates not evident through a review of your CV.

In-house physician recruiters use behavioral interview questions to determine physicians’ communication and problem-solving skills; patient-centered care; stress management; empathy; and leadership potential and other job related qualities.

Behavioral questions are structured around identifying candidates that are a ‘match’ to the organization’s mission, vision, values and culture, and those whose attributes will promote advancement toward the organization’s goals.

Here’s how to answer the questions successfully.

1. Identify when a behavioral question has been asked, and structure your answer accordingly
“Tell me about a time…” is the common signal that you are about to be asked a behavioral interview question. Once you identify the question, apply a specific thought pattern to your response.
Two common acronyms can help you structure your response: STAR and BAR. Find a comfort level with either and apply it as a framework around which you can structure real examples from your experiences.
If, by chance, your answer includes a less than ideal Result (R), include the lessons learned and how you may take different action in future situations.


2. Know the organization’s values—and align your responses where appropriate
Behavioral interview questions are custom designed around the core values of the organization. Take time to identify these values in advance of your interview. They are usually prominently displayed on the organization’s website, along with the group’s mission and vision statements.
The following are examples of values from three MINK organizations. Note the points of overlap and points of differentiation:
Organization 1: “Compassion, Access, Respect and Excellence”
Organization 2: “Spirituality, Excellence, Integrity, Compassion, Respect, and Stewardship”
Organization 3: “Safety, Excellence, Compassion, Integrity, Devotion and Teamwork”
Prepare for your interview by considering each point and defining for yourself how and if that value is an attribute of your personal work style.

3. Take a moment to answer thoughtfully
When you’re asked a behavioral interview question, it’s OK to pause to consider what is being asked and what qualities the employer is looking for. Think of an example that is relevant to the question and to the value of the organization, even if it requires a moment of deeper thought.

4. Elaborate on your answer
Give the details that provide a complete story while staying relevant to the question. Recruiters are looking for a specific story, not what is done “in general.” Avoid using “canned” responses.

5. Be sincere
Preparing yourself for an interview by considering the values of the organization and how to frame your relevant experiences shouldn’t restrict your ability to think freely and give sincere and spontaneous responses. It should create a pattern for your responses using the STAR or BAR acronym.

6. Run through your answers to the following
Examples of behavioral interview categories and questions include:

• Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset patient or staff member.

• Walk me through how you present complicated information or instructions to patients.
• Describe a time when you had a dispute with a patient and how you handled it.

• Do your personal standards exceed the expectations of your organization? If so, give an example.
• What are the standard expectations for a good job in each aspect of your job? Do you meet or surpass them?

• What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made on the job, and what did you learn from it?
• Most regulations leave some leeway for interpretation. Discuss a few examples of when you had to stretch or bend the rules.
• Describe a situation where you broke a rule or came close to breaking it. What were your reasons?

• Describe a situation where you had inadequate resources to accomplish your objectives and how you dealt with the challenges.

• Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems with safety and developed preventive measures.
• Describe a situation when you discovered a safety hazard and what you did in response.

• Describe a decision you made that wasn’t popular and how did you handle it moving forward.
• Describe a situation where an interaction with a patient had a strong impact on you, and what you learned from it.

• Describe a time when you had a dispute with a colleague and how you handled it.
• Have you ever served on a team and had a different opinion than the rest of the group? What kind of agreement did you finally reach? How did you support the final decision?

MINK MidWestMD is an association of in-house physician recruitment and retention specialists from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Search their physician and advanced practice provider job opportunities here.



Why physician recruiters want to know about your ties to an area

Sharing the "why" behind your job search gives physician recruiters confidence in your desire to stay in the community.

By PracticeLink | Blog | Web Exclusive


businessman lost in field using map

When physicians prepare for their job search, one of the first objectives is to identify where you would like to land geographically. Once you select a target area where you’ll concentrate your efforts, your natural next step will be to familiarize yourself with the health systems and organizations that operate in the area. You can also take a very strategic step to set yourself apart from the competition: start developing ties to the area if you don’t already have them.

Physician recruiters and health care employers are looking for longevity in their physician hires. In the first three to five years of a physician’s career, there is a higher likelihood that he or she will change jobs. So if an employer has multiple candidates for a position, a candidate without ties to the area could be perceived as a slightly riskier hire. The employer may wonder, Are they going to like the area? Are they going to stick around?

In your cover letter,  illustrate that you have a predetermined comfort level with the area or ties to the area that will keep you local longer. Ties or connections to the community makes you more attractive.

If you trained nearby, did any of your schooling in the surrounding areas, or have family in the area, definitely mention that in your cover letter or interview. Whatever your connection is to the area, bring it up so that your physician recruiter is aware. If something specific is attracting you to a community or employer, you’re likely to be a longer-term hire and view the opportunity as a place to put down roots.



Networking: A Crash Course for Physicians

By PracticeLink | Web Exclusive


two businessmen discussing during a coffee break

We’ve all heard the age-old maxims around networking such as “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and “Your network is your net worth.” Of course, these quotes apply to people with careers in marketing and sales… but they also apply to physicians. Whether you’re working to land your first job or your fifth, knowing how to network skillfully, gracefully and confidently will help you find opportunities you may not have otherwise discovered. Networking cuts down on the time that your job search requires, and moves your CV to the top of the pile.

Tap into the “brain trust” surrounding you.

Your colleagues and mentors from residency and fellowship are a vast source of knowledge and they can get you connected to the people who may hire you. Your colleagues know your interests, they know the field, and they can share their own personal connections. Residency and fellowship colleagues are also some of your best potential job-search teammates because they are often job-seeking at the same time as you.

Explore what resources or prep sessions your program offers.

Make sure you’re taking advantage of any job-search training or prep that your program already offers. In doing so, try to facilitate conversations with colleagues and program directors about your post-residency job-search plans.

Some programs even hold one-hour directive sessions every month, covering topics like how to search for jobs, what to look for in a contract, how to determine where you want to live, how to interview, and even how to open your own practice.

Don’t be afraid to make an “ask.”

Contact any person or organization that can help you target an opportunity. Approach former colleagues and individual health organizations; briefly explain that you are embarking on the next step of your career and ask if they would put feelers out. Attend job fairs: they are an excellent opportunity to survey what opportunities are available locally and to shake hands with a high volume of recruiters.

Put your CV online.

By uploading your CV to physician job sites like or, you can instantly get it in front of recruiters looking for candidates like you. Think of your new CV like an online dating profile; all those details serve to help the right fit find you.

Build relationships with recruiters.

Get to know the recruiters in the area where you currently live and the recruiters in the areas where you are interested in practicing. Even if a recruiter isn’t hiring for your specialty, once you have established a relationship, you can ask the recruiter if they can put you in contact with someone who is. In-house recruiters, networkers by nature, are often aware of the opportunities of other recruiters and can connect you with excellent job leads. When you’re talking with recruiters, you can even ask them for networking advice; perhaps they’ll share some tricks of the trade with you.



Why You Need an In-House Physician Recruiter

By Terri Houchen and Charlene Plotycia | Web Exclusive



Key to success

Your story as to why you decided to become a physician is likely different from that of your colleagues’. However, the path that decision set you on—pre-med undergrad, medical school, residency and, for some, fellowship—is probably closely aligned.

Although there were many choices along the way within your control, there were likely some that were not. Maybe you were accepted to the medical school of your choice, maybe not. Maybe you matched at one of the residency or fellowship programs you visited, maybe not. But you stayed focused on your goal, and now you’re ready to embark on the next path: your career as a practicing physician.

It might be that for the first time since your initial career determination, this next decision is more completely yours. Or it could be that you have been in practice for a while and you are ready for a change. Perhaps you don’t think you have satisfied your reason for your initial decision to become a physician. Either way, you return to your why. Why did you initiate your journey to become a physician? Why were you able to succeed? Remembering your why will help you support your next decision: where to practice.

If you are a fellow or a newly graduated physician, you are now a “hot commodity”— evidenced by the not-so-subtle surge in emails, texts and inbox messages from a variety of recruiters and organizations. Suddenly, you feel like the most popular kid in class! …And then, it suddenly feels overwhelming. In the midst of the enthusiasm and emotion of it all, you might fail to match your why to the next level of your journey.

Who is going to help you leverage your decision? Who will help you set into motion your next step in the fulfillment of your professional and personal why? The answer? An in-house physician recruiter.

What is an in-house recruiter, and how can they help you decide your next move?

In-house recruiters:

  • Work directly for the health care organization for which they’re recruiting, so they know what it is really like to work at the company.
  • Live in the communities where the physicians they’ve hired serve. They are seeking to make a great match for you, your family, the practice and the community.
  • Are able to connect you to the community in a way that meets your unique needs. They can help connect you, your significant other and your children to the community through academics, sports, hobbies and more.
  • Oversee the entire recruitment cycle, from first contact to onboarding and relocation. They focus on providing a level of service and excellence consistent with what you will experience while working at their organization.
  • Are committed to discovering how their opportunity can help you meet your personal and professional goals, as well as your lifestyle needs.
  • Identify if their organization is the right match for your lifestyle, professional goals and expertise.
  • Connect with you to find the right match for culture, vision and values.
  • Seek to identify your professional goals, and identify how their opportunity can support you.

In-house physician recruiters are dedicated to doing what is best for both you and their organization. They are dedicated to getting to know you and your needs. They want to give you the best start in the next steps of your journey.

Send an email or pick up the phone…in-house recruiters are waiting to meet you!


MINK MidWestMD is an association of in-house physician recruitment and retention specialists from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Search their physician and advanced practice provider job opportunities here.



In Employment Contracts, Cash Is Not King

By PracticeLink | Web Exclusive


Business people negotiating a contract.

Imagine you have two employment contracts in front of you extending offers for virtually identical positions with health systems in the same city. One contract offers an excellent salary and bonus. The second offers a salary that’s $30,000 lower than the first. Both organizations foster an attractive company culture and present opportunities for growth.

So, what would motivate anyone to consider—or even accept—the second offer?

Because the second offer could actually be worth more than the offer with a higher annual salary. Benefits and other perks that don’t increase a physician’s paycheck can still add tens of thousands of dollars in value to an overall compensation package. A practice may offer any or all of the following perks to sweeten the deal they’re offering you. If they haven’t made these offers, consider asking for them, especially if you’ve hit a wall in your salary negotiation.

Consider negotiating for health insurance coverage for you and your family. Family health insurance coverage covered by an employer could equal savings to the tune of $20,000 annually.

Employers may be willing to create a budget for professional development that elevates you as a professional and creates value for the organization. For example, a practice may see the value in having a board-certified physician on the team and pay for the board certification process. They may also pay for your medical license applications or the renewals of your medical license (a significant expense that many physicians shoulder themselves). An employer may also pay for the dues for medical societies that you belong to, or are looking to join; they could also create a CME (continuing medical education) allowance.

When employers pay for relocation expenses, physicians stand to save thousands of dollars. Physicians can request that their new employer pay for a service to help pack their belongings (this is a thing), a moving company, mileage for the distance a physician drives in his or her own car to his or her new home, or plane fare. If you plan to ask for relocation, come up with a budget for what you think you’ll need so you have a specific figure in mind.

Two items that are less exciting, but represent significant value, are short or long-term disability insurance and life insurance. God forbid that something unexpected or terrible happens, the negotiating you did before signing your offer will mean that you and your family have a safety net.

Paid vacation doesn’t put cash in your pocket, or save you money, but can you put a price tag on the restorative benefits of having an extra week or two off every year?

Finally, physicians can negotiate for a signing bonus—a one-time flat fee that says “Welcome to the team,” but sounds like a cash register.

To learn more about negotiating a well-rounded compensation package, and other elements of a “home-run” employment contract, watch this video interview with attorney Bruce Armon. Armon specializes in health care law, specifically employment contracts for both physicians and health care employers.




Physician recruiter spotlight: KC Fleming

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KC Fleming

KC Fleming, medical staff recruiter for Great River Medical Center

Meet: KC Fleming, medical staff recruiter

Employer: Great River Health Systems in West Burlington, Iowa

Why did you choose to become a physician recruiter? I actually saw an ad in our local newspaper that jumped out at me. It said: “Looking for someone with sales experience, an understanding of the health care business environment and knows our region well.”

At the time, I was in pharmaceutical sales, and this seemed to be the perfect fit and a great transition to what I was looking for! I saw the ad on a Saturday and was out at GRHS Monday morning with my resume. That was 7 years ago.

What’s your favorite part of recruiting physicians? It’s a combination of helping physicians and their families find a job they love and a community they can call home, and also doing my small part in making sure our region has world-class health care available.

I’ve also received a few calls, notes and emails over the years thanking me for bringing in a particular physician. That is pretty rewarding.

What’s your best piece of advice for physicians in their job search? Ask lots of questions… and then a few more questions. I would also encourage them to take some time on their own to talk to people in the community to get a feel for the hospital/clinic/health system as well as the community itself. You can’t always find everything on Google!

What can physicians look forward to in your community? I’d say the people. From the staff to the administration to the patients themselves… they all make GRHS a great place to work.

Learn more about practicing in the Midwest here.



9 truths about practicing medicine in the Midwest

Physician recruiters weigh in about what physician jobs offer in communities across the Midwest.

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As physician recruiters at hospitals and health systems throughout the Midwest, we’ve heard all kinds of misconceptions about our part of the country: It’s all rural, except for Chicago. Every location is plagued by tornadoes. It’s hard to get to, and everyone is a farmer—or related to one!

Those misconceptions about the Midwest are held by many, including the physicians we recruit.

It’s always a pleasure, then, to share the TRUTHS about practicing in the Midwest!

MINK Midwest, an association of in-house physician recruitment specialists from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, asked its network what physicians like best about living and practicing in the Midwest. Here are 9 reasons they identified! 

  1. Midwesterners are great people, hands down!

Great work ethic and dedication are hallmarks of Midwesterners. Our communities are full of patient, social, inclusive and humble people.

What it means for physicians: The patient population genuinely appreciates and respects physicians. The employers you’ll find in the Midwest also have a high family-oriented, friendly culture.

  1. In the Midwest, it costs less to live well.

In the Midwest, professionals of all kinds get more bang for your buck! The cost of living is significantly lower than most parts of the U.S., and the tax rate is moderate.

What it means for physicians: With the most affordable housing in the country, and unprecedented green space for the money, physicians can put down roots in the Midwest for less than in other areas of the country. There are also plenty of lifestyle options from which to choose, from mid-size cities to metropolitan areas, farm life to suburban and loft city living.

  1. Traffic is manageable in the Midwest.

We hear that, compared to the major cities on either Coast, Midwest traffic is a breeze!

What it means for physicians: A typical physician commute to work or home is under 30 minutes throughout the Midwest, even in the largest cities. Major cities, like Kansas City, Chicago, Des Moines, Omaha and Oklahoma City are easy to get to by car or nearby, manageable-sized airports.

  1. The Midwest’s four seasons are unmatched.

Sunshine is abundant here year-round, even on the coldest winter days. Moderate winters provide some snow, and fall is romantically crisp. Even summers are hot but well-balanced in the Midwest!

What it means for physicians: Life in the Midwest provides all four seasons, each mild, to enjoy. Physicians don’t have to give up any of their favorite climates when practicing here!

Midwest landscape

In the Midwest, a variety of environments means something for everyone!

  1. The outdoors truly is GREAT!

There’s more to the Midwest than farms! There are lakes throughout the Midwest, perfect for swimming, kayaking and water skiing. The Midwest is also home to beautiful parks for hiking and exploring.

What it means for physicians: Physicians who crave outdoor activities find a home in the Midwest. There are plenty of opportunities for camping, fishing, boating and hunting—plus summertime vegetable and farmer’s markets.

  1. Cultural opportunities are nearby.

    The Arch in St. Louis

    The Arch in St. Louis is just one of the many attractions in large cities throughout the Midwest.

More than 50 museums reside in the Midwest, showcasing everything from paintings, to planets, shipwrecks to U.S. presidents! Music festivals and venues also abound.

What it means for physicians: You don’t have to travel far from home to take advantage of cultural opportunities!

  1. We’re avid sports fans.

In the Midwest, sports fans are passionate about their teams. In our communities, there are Major League Baseball teams, the National Football League, Major League Soccer, and NASCAR racing—plus options for recreational sports leagues of all kinds from kickball to rugby.

What it means for physicians: The Midwest is choc-full of athletic-minded people! Expect to find colleagues and patients interested in whatever practice you choose, whether its yoga, boxing, dance, weight-lifting, martial arts or another activity!

  1. The Midwest is full of diverse communities.

Ethnic diversity events celebrate the multicultural Midwest and happen year-round. The rich ethnic fabric of the Midwest continues to grow and prosper, including African, African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, Slavic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern communities!

What it means for physicians: Physicians looking for diversity among colleagues, friends and community can find it in the Midwest!

  1. We’re hiring—and there are many physician jobs available!

The Midwest has physician opportunities in rural, urban, private practice and academic medicine settings. Our states frequently have open J1 waivers available for various provider types. Midwest states have many rural opportunities that meet the requirements of a variety of loan repayment programs, too!

What it means for physicians: No matter the environment in which you’re looking to practice, there’s an opportunity for you in the Midwest! Learn more about practicing in our communities at MINK.


Contributed by Terri Bangert, Katie Cole, Hillary Garcia, Debbie Gleason, Terri Houchen, Jill Mick, Brandi Nelson, Charlene Plotycia and Sasha Randolf.



Physician recruiter spotlight: Terri Houchen

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Physician recruiter Terri Houchen

Physician recruiter Terri Houchen

Meet: Terri Houchen, Physician Recruiter

Employer: The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas

Why did you choose to become a physician recruiter? My education is in physical therapy, so I have always had a calling to be part of the health care arena. For the last 10 years, I have been in executive leadership recruiting for hospitals and health care facilities across the country. I enjoy helping organizations find professionals to enhance their leadership teams.

Due to the long-standing, highly regarded reputation of The University of Kansas Health System as a national leader in academic medicine, I jumped at the chance to be part of the organization when an opportunity arose.

What’s your favorite part of recruiting physicians? My favorite part of my role would be the opportunity to meet so many different people who all have a passion for health care.

I enjoy talking about my organization and community and getting others excited to be part of our team. Having a role in the process to bring top talent to our city is an important job that I am very proud of holding.

What’s your best piece of advice for physicians in their job search? As a newcomer to the physician recruiting field, I’ve found that it is important for physicians to always stay networked with both physician recruiters and physicians in their field.

In addition, using multiple media avenues to find the right opportunity is critical. With the rise of online advertising venues and social media and the trend away from paper advertisements, I believe physicians need to be able and willing to network and search for opportunities online.

What can physicians look forward to in your community? Our community is filled with friendly people who truly appreciate the health care providers who take care of our family and friends. Kansas City is a tight-knit community who welcomes and supports those from all over the country and world. We are a big city with a small community feel. I was born and raised in this city and have traveled widely, but I still think this is one of the best places in the country!

Learn more about practicing in the Midwest here.



PracticeLink Magazine wins three ASHPE 2016 awards

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ASHPEFor the sixth year in a row, PracticeLink Magazine has been recognized by the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE) for excellence in editorial, graphics and overall publication quality.

In the 2016 awards, announced in April, PracticeLink Magazine was awarded:

Best How-To Article
The Contracts and Compensation Issue: How to Comb Through Your Contract Like a Lawyer

Best Single Issue
The Contracts and Compensation Issue

Best Special Supplement
PracticeLink’s The Guide: When to Do What in Your Job Search

The American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE) recognizes editorial and graphic excellence in the field of health care publishing through an annual awards contest. The competition provides an opportunity for editors to measure their efforts against the very best the healthcare sector has to offer.

“For PracticeLink Magazine to be honored six years in a row is a huge accomplishment. I’d like to thank our readers and advertisers for making this honor possible,” says Ken Allman, founder and CEO of PracticeLink. is the nation’s most trusted physician recruitment resource and is the leading online recruitment solution for more than 5,000 facilities nationwide. In addition to its premier online physician job bank, PracticeLink publishes the award-winning PracticeLink Magazine, named ASHPE’s 2014 Publication of the Year, which provides career resource information for 80,000+ residents, fellows and job-seeking physicians each quarter. PracticeLink is headquartered in Hinton, West Virginia, and has offices in Louisville, Kentucky, and St. Louis, Missouri.

ASHPE, The American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors, is dedicated to enhancing the knowledge and skill of healthcare publication editors, and serves as the authority on trends in the healthcare publication sector.




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