Midwest Medicine: The Hot Spot for Physician Jobs

Physicians, do want to make a career move? Or find the right place to start practicing?

Look no further than the Midwest for a wide variety of lucrative physician job openings, offering a range of benefits for your medical career and your lifestyle.

“Health system employers in the Midwestern states strive to create a flexible work–life balance matched with an excellent income.  And these are great communities with good schools, culture, and a low cost of living,” said Alex Herbison, divisional vice president of marketing for AMN Healthcare, the nation’s leading physician placement firm.

Demand for physicians in the Midwest

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) regularly analyzes physician supply and demand to provide updates on the workforce. In AAMC’s 2019 update, researchers noted that the latest statistics show demand for physicians in the Midwest has outpaced the supply, leaving the area “below that required to provide the national average level of care.”

In other words, plenty of hospitals and healthcare facilities in the Midwest have a “We’re hiring” sign on their front doors. Physician recruitment agencies like Merritt Hawkins can also attest to this trend.

“We have hundreds of opportunities for lucrative provider positions in our Midwest region,” said Herbison.

Do you want to work for a top-rated healthcare system, gain professional autonomy or get on the fast track to partnership in a group practice? Almost anything is possible.

Plus, physician jobs in the Midwest offer a good quality of life that appeals to many people, noted Andy Olson, divisional vice president of recruitment for AMN Healthcare.

Recruitment incentives for Midwest physician jobs

What would persuade you to apply for a job in a hospital in a Midwestern state like Indiana or Minnesota or even South Dakota?

Maybe you’re from the Midwest, and you’re eager to move back home or live closer to family. Or maybe the thought of four distinct seasons appeals to you. But for clinicians who hail from the East Coast, the West Coast or another region of the country, it might take a little more to sweeten the pot.

Thus, many health care organizations in the Midwestern states are offering extra enticements, including excellent salary and benefits.

Higher-than-average physician salaries. AMN Healthcare's 2019 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives noted that the Midwest/Great Plains region had the highest average starting salaries in the country among their top recruited specialties last year.

Signing bonuses. Some of the signing bonuses for job openings in the Midwest can be quite substantial, noted Herbison. Many organizations are offering bonuses tied to retention, with a portion paid when you sign on the dotted line and the rest dispersed in yearly installments for a pre-determined number of years (typically 3-5).

Loan forgiveness. Many doctors find themselves in debt after medical school, with some owing hundreds of thousands of dollars. A Midwest physician job that offers loan forgiveness could be a really good option for them, and worth their effort to check it out, said Olson.

“Once you see the place, then you’ll realize that it has everything you need … and oh, by the way, if you stay for five years, you can get your loans paid off,” said Olson.

The details for the loan repayment can vary. Some organizations will pay the lender directly, while others pay the money to the physician. There may also be a cap on the total amount an employer will pay.

Residency stipends.  Young doctors may be persuaded by the prospect of a residency stipend to consider a Midwest job opportunity. Essentially, a physician commits to working for a hospital before finishing residency, and the employer agrees to pay him or her a stipend during the remainder of the training period.

While not yet commonplace, residency stipends have “increasingly become a new tool that’s being used to attract the next generation of providers,” said Herbison.

Physician retention efforts in the Midwest

Not only are Midwestern healthcare organizations hiring, but they’re also willing to make it worth your while to stay. Here are just a few of the incentives and strategies that are becoming more commonplace:

Retention bonuses. Many Midwest hospitals and practices offer retention bonuses or signing bonuses that are tied to retention, which can be a very effective tool for keeping physicians from packing up and moving after just a couple of years.

Strong workplace teams and dedicated support. These organizations are also working hard to surround their physicians with colleagues and staff who will make their jobs easier. This may include dedicated nurse practitioners and physician assistants to absorb some of the workload, as well as plenty of RNs, medical scribes, and others.

Work flexibility and lifestyle options. Some of the other efforts designed to make a Midwest physician job more appealing may include flexible scheduling, the elimination of on-call shifts and wellness resources, Herbison said. Many find it easier to achieve a work–life balance with these flexible work options, especially in communities that truly value quality of life.

The Midwest life might not be for everyone, but it is certainly worth investigating the next time you are looking for a new place to practice.

“You won’t know what you’re missing until you see some of these beautiful communities,” said Herbison.

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