Recruiting Doctors

It seems like we need more of just about everything in Bismarck these days:  more workers, more homes and even more doctors. So far this year, St. Alexius has hired 16 physicians. Only one or two of those doctors are replacing physicians who have left. The rest are being hired to help the hospital serve more patients.

(Michelle San Miguel, Reporting):  It starts with a simple phone call from this woman. On the other end are physicians like Dr. Nicholas Hoskins who are looking for a job.

(Dr. Nicholas Hoskins, St. Alexius Anesthesiologist):  "To be honest, Bismarck was not on my radar."

(Reporter):  After talking with a friend who works at St. Alexius, and then the hospital’s physician recruiter, suddenly he was interested.

(Dr. Hoskins):  "We were looking for a place just like this: big enough to have a nice job and stuff to do but small enough to feel hometown and small and a good, safe place for my kids."

(Carol Lindsey, St. Alexius Physician Recruiter):  "My job as a physician recruiter is to find doctors and make a desire to come to this community. “

(Reporter):  It was Lindsey who helped Dr. Hoskins contact builders to get the ball rolling on building a home for this family of six. She also helped find a school for his children.   Lindsey says the hardest part about recruiting is actually getting doctors to pick up the phone and listen to her. She calls between 15 to 20 doctors just to get one doctor who will answer and hear her out.

(Lindsey):  "If I can get a doctor to come to Bismarck, I can typically sell them. I think at one point in time I had nine out of ten doctors that came to Bismarck actually signed."

(Reporter):  Dr. Sean Kalagher is one of them. He visited Bismarck last fall and, like Dr. Hoskins, says Bismarck wasn’t initially on his radar either.

(Dr. Sean Kalagher, St. Alexius Interventional Radiologist):  "A lot of it had to do with the hospital and the job. It was a job pretty much exactly what I’d like to do. There was an existing practice here, and that was appealing to me."

(Reporter):  So what does it take to get a doctor from Virginia and another from Minnesota to move to Bismarck?

(Lindsey):  "First of all you’ve got to have a good story to tell and Bismarck has got some great stories. We all know that. We see it every day but somebody living in Florida or New York their first line is, `North Dakota, you got to be kidding me!”

(Dr. Hoskins):  "I guess I’m like 99 percent of the world and doesn’t know much about North Dakota before I came here. It seemed far and isolated, but Bismarck sort of has everything you need.”

(Reporter):  Both doctors say the fact that St. Alexius was willing to show them around when they visited and helped them find a place to live ultimately influenced their decision. The hospital’s recruiter says Bismarck’s safety record and education system are two of the main reasons doctors are drawn here.

Michelle San Miguel