7 steps to improve physician retention

Erin Baas, client advisory services director


Physician retention can be an issue for healthcare organizations. According to a study by the National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report, turnover is anticipated to be about 7% annually for physicians in medical groups and 28% for physicians in hospitals. In addition, 46% of doctors are likely to leave their current job in three years.

Overall, it can be expensive to replace physicians, so it is essential for healthcare organizations to focus on keeping their current employees. Below are a few steps to improve physician retention.

1. Offer Attractive Compensation Packages

One of the first steps clinics can take to improve physician retention is offering attractive compensation packages. When physicians feel like they are being compensated fairly, they are less likely to look for other opportunities. Offer incentive and bonus opportunities and make sure it is clear to the physicians how they earn these bonuses. In addition, it’s equally important to provide financial benefits such as paid time off, health insurance, and retirement plans. Offer unique benefits that other organizations may not be offering such as country club memberships and student loan debt assistance. These perks can help make the job more rewarding.

2. Provide Adequate Support Staff

Another way medical practices can improve physician retention is to provide adequate support staff. This means ensuring there are enough nurses, medical assistants, and office staff to handle the workload.

Physicians are often responsible for a large volume of patient care, and they need to be able to rely on support staff to help with tasks such as scheduling, charting, and billing. When support staff are overworked or poorly trained, it can put tremendous stress on a physician’s job.

In addition, a lack of support staff can lead to delays in patient care, which can be frustrating for all parties involved. Having a sufficient support staff can make a significant difference in both physician retention and patient satisfaction.

3. Offer Continuing Medical Education Opportunities

Healthcare practices need to offer continuing medical education (CME) opportunities. CME can help physicians stay up to date on the latest changes in their field, making them feel more confident in their abilities and better prepared to provide care. It can also show physicians that you value their professional development and are committed to supporting their growth. In addition, allow for career advancement opportunities such as teaching and board or committee opportunities. With this, you help create a stronger sense of loyalty among your staff.

4. Create a Positive Work Environment

High retention for almost any job relies on a positive work environment. This can be accomplished by providing support and resources for physicians, listening to their concerns, and respecting their time and expertise. It is important to actively solicit feedback and to listen to what physicians are saying. Take action and address their concerns timely.

Additionally, it is crucial to create a culture of collaboration and teamwork. When physicians feel like they are part of a team and their input is valued, they are more likely to stay with an organization.

5. Encourage Open Communication

Open communication is key to maintaining a positive and productive culture. This is especially true in the medical field, where clear and concise communication can be a matter of life or death. You can encourage dialog with your physicians by acknowledging their views, asking for their input, and listening to their thoughts.

In addition, engaged employees feel more comfortable expressing their concerns and ideas. This can help healthcare organizations identify potential problems before they arise or new opportunities for improvement.

6. Address Burnout and Work-Life Balance Issues

One of the biggest reasons physicians leave their practice is because of burnout. When physicians are overworked and stressed, they are more likely to make mistakes, feel disengaged from their work, and experience compassion fatigue.

To combat physician burnout, organizations need to address work-life balance issues. This can be done by offering flexible scheduling options, providing support staff, and investing in physician well-being.  Consider implementing a mentor program for younger physicians.

7. Increase Physician Autonomy

Studies have shown that physicians who feel like they have a high degree of control over their work are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and less likely to leave their practices. One way to increase physician autonomy is to give them a more significant say in decision-making at the practice level. Other methods include allowing more flexibility in their schedules and providing opportunities for professional development.

Learn More

There are many steps that hospitals and clinics can take to increase physician retention, including addressing burnout, encouraging open communication, and offering competitive compensation. Improving these areas can help organizations create a more positive work environment and boost satisfaction and commitment among their medical staff.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. You can also read related articles or learn more about our healthcare accounting and consulting services.


Erin Baas + Lutz CAS & Healthcare Manager




Erin Baas is a Client Advisory Services Director at Lutz with over 15 years of experience. She provides business accounting and advisory services to a wide variety of industries with a special focus in private physician medical practices.

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Medical Group Management Association, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • BSBA in Accounting, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
  • Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Treasurer


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