How to Retain a Nephrologist

Shortages of health professionals coupled with high rates of turnover in the medical field means retaining a quality nephrologist is vital.

In the last decade, the physician workforce has shifted from the majority being self-employed to those employed by health systems or hospitals.

As a result, hospital administrators and practice managers find themselves responsible for retaining physicians, an especially challenging task for smaller systems or those in rural areas.

What can be done to retain nephrologists?

Consider work-life balance

The era of physicians being willing to work long hours and revolve their life around their career has ended. Nephrologists and other medical professionals remain devoted to their careers but also want to have time for their family, friends, and outside interests.

Make workloads manageable

A survey of final-year medical students showed 60% said a job that offered “adequate call hours and personal time” was a top priority when search for a job. Making sure your nephrologists have a workload they can manage is key. When doctors feel like they don’t have enough time with their patients, it can lead to errors and burnout. Give them ample time to sit down with their patients.

Emphasize communication between administration and physician

Feeling as if they’re part of a team helps nephrologists feel like a valued part of the health care team. While good communication between administration and nephrologists can help, a level of physician autonomy is needed. Avoid micromanaging. Transparency and communication will allow clinicians to focus on providing patient care.

Prioritize leadership development

While the era of physicians as self-employed practitioners is drawing to a close, nephrologists and doctors in general still want to feel like they’re more than “just employees.” Engaging them in leadership teams and decision-making processes gives nephrologists a stake in the future of their hospital or health system.

Create a community

Retaining a good nephrologist is about more than just the physician and administration. A friendly, healthy work environment goes a long way in retaining staff. A daily culture of teamwork, cooperation, and understanding should be fostered. A nephrologist who enjoys their colleagues and coworkers is more likely to stay.

Help with debt relief

The average medical school debt is $190,000. For nephrologists, schooling debt can range between $50,000 and $200,000. Debt is a huge stress for young nephrologists. Any opportunity for financial stability or relief is welcome. Loan forgiveness, net income guarantees or signing bonuses can serve as attractive incentives for young nephrologists.