Accepting a job in a new city, state, or country can be invigorating for professional and personal reasons, but making the actual move often is stressful, irritating, and more than a little overwhelming. Multiple factors are involved when you transition from one community to another.
For hospitalists relocating for a new job, the good news is it’s almost a given you will receive financial assistance and more than a little guidance to make the move as smooth and hassle-free as possible, says Tommy Bohannon, vice president of hospital-based recruiting for Merritt Hawkins & Associates, a recruitment firm that specializes in the placement of permanent physicians. Ninety-eight percent of physician and certified registered nurse anesthetists are provided relocation assistance, according to a Merritt Hawkins review of recruiting incentives conducted from April 2008 to March 2009. The Irving, Texas-based firm found that the average relocation allowance is $10,427, the highest amount offered since it began tracking recruiting incentives in 2005.
The Upper Hand: HM Still in Demand
While the struggling economy has put a damper on relocation allowances in other professions, it has not had a similar effect on HM, says Cheryl Slack, vice president of human resources for Cogent Healthcare, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based company that partners with hospitals to build and manage hospitalist programs. Hospitalists have become harder and harder to recruit as demand for their services continues to far outpace their supply, she says.
“Relocation assistance is the nature of the beast,” says Slack, whose company typically covers a hospitalist’s move from Point A to Point B, storage fees for a few months, and sometimes travel costs to and from their former home to tie up loose ends. “We see it as the cost of doing business.”
Because most relocation allowances are not tied to a time or service commitment, hospitalists can use the money to facilitate their move without the worry of having to pay some of it back if the job doesn’t work out. They can get the most mileage out of the assistance by comparison shopping (see “Internet Resources for Relocations,” right) or using companies that have a relationship with their recruiter or employer. “We actually have an in-house relocation team and a preferred-rate contract with a national moving company,” Bohannon says. “The vast majority of our candidates work with the in-house team. We help them with the physical move itself. We assist them in taking an inventory of their belongings to get an idea of how much it will cost to move, and we get the moving company in contact with them.”