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    Ryan Reaves
    Ryan Reaves

    This article is for: Healthcare administrators and executives who can directly implement and improve onboarding processes within their organizations by creating more effective strategies to enhance physician satisfaction and long-term retention.

    Key concepts: physician onboarding | physician retention | healthcare recruitment | continuous improvement | relationship building

    Key takeaway: A well-structured, comprehensive onboarding process is crucial for both permanent and locum tenens physicians, significantly impacting job satisfaction and long-term retention.

    In this episode of the MGMA Business Solutions podcast, host Daniel Williams sat down with Tara Osseck, Regional Vice President of Recruitment at Jackson Physician Search, and Jenny Binner, Associate Vice President of Emergency Medicine Services at The discussion centered on the critical importance of effective onboarding processes for both permanent and locum tenens physicians, drawing insights from recent research conducted in collaboration with AAPPR. They also discuss the upcoming MGMA webinar on Elevating Physician Onboarding for Better Engagement, Impact and Long-Term Retention. This webinar is scheduled for July 16, 2024 at 1 PM ET. 

    Orientation vs. Onboarding

    Orientation is defined as a short-term new hire process, whereas onboarding is more focused on relationship building along with related activities that drive the goal of long-term relationships for all the parties involved. This fundamental difference sets the stage for understanding why a comprehensive onboarding process is crucial for physician satisfaction and retention. One of the most striking findings from the research was the impact of onboarding on job satisfaction. Binner noted, "I’ve always known the importance of onboarding, but to see that 73% of the clinicians interviewed had higher work satisfaction based on having a good onboarding was kind of shocking." This statistic underscores the importance of investing time and resources into creating a robust onboarding program.

    Onboarding with Permanent and Locum Tenens Physicians

    Both permanent and locum tenens physicians share similar needs during the onboarding process. Osseck emphasized the importance of clear communication and preparation. "Prior to their first day, permanent providers typically want to receive information about credentialing – where to report, what to do on their first day, where to park. 85% of providers said that that was really crucial to a smooth start on their first day and first week," she said. Similarly, Binner stressed the importance of practical considerations for locum tenens physicians. She noted, "Efficient licensing, privileging and provider enrollment is key. Locum clinicians like to know who they should reach out to when they do have questions for specific workflows."

    Challenges of Implementing Onboarding Programs

    According to the research, 44% of the respondents were recruitment professionals who cited onboarding as one of their responsibilities but not their primary focus. This highlights the need for dedicated resources and a strategic approach to onboarding. To overcome these challenges, Osseck and Binner recommended formalizing the onboarding process. Binner advised on having redundancies put in place so that there are at least two points of contact with info. Osseck added that by standardizing and templating many aspects of the onboarding process, you can create a customized onboarding program for all different new hires.


    This insightful discussion provides healthcare organizations with a roadmap for enhancing their physician onboarding processes, ultimately leading to improved satisfaction, retention, and patient care. By focusing on relationship-building, clear communication and continuous improvement, healthcare leaders can create onboarding experiences that set both permanent and locum tenens physicians up for long-term success.

    Actionable tips:

    • Develop a formal, comprehensive onboarding process that extends beyond basic orientation, focusing on relationship-building and long-term integration.
    • Implement a system for gathering feedback from newly onboarded physicians to continuously improve the process.
    • Create customizable onboarding checklists and templates that can be tailored for different roles and specialties.
    • Establish clear communication channels and multiple points of contact for new hires during the onboarding process.
    • Develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of the onboarding program and make data-driven improvements.


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    Ryan Reaves

    Written By

    Ryan Reaves

    Ryan Reaves is content coordinator at MGMA. He is a seasoned content professional with a background in both community journalism and sports apparel eCommerce. Ryan is skilled in proofreading, image editing, and writing online content in a fast-paced environment. At MGMA, Ryan develops and edits content for books, podcasts and consulting.

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