Fred Horton, vice president at AMGA Consulting Services in Alexandria, Va., which helps manage medical groups, said that while millennials often are portrayed as job hoppers, they want to find meaning in their work. Boomers typically expected to have ownership stakes in their practices, while millennials expect to be employed. That fits well with the current healthcare marketplace, where more than half of physicians today are employed compared with 30% only five years ago. Younger doctors generally don't want the headaches of administering a practice, preferring to focus on their clinical work, he said.
When she completed her residency at UCLA-Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield, Calif., obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Garima Loharuka, 32, had a list of “musts” for any job. Loharuka wanted to live in Northern California where she attended medical school. She wanted flexible hours and limited on-call time so she could pursue her interest in hiking and biking. She wanted to minimize administrative tasks.
About a year ago, she joined a new OB-GYN practice at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Memorial Hospital, a 278-bed hospital run by St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County. “I wasn't interested in seeing 40 patients a day and having five minutes with each one,” she said. “I really wanted to build relationships with people.”
And she enjoys Santa Rosa, in the heart of Sonoma wine country. “There is a big arts movement here, which I love. And there are a lot of younger people who don't necessarily want the crazy city life and are really connected with what's going on in the world.”
Beyer said healthcare employers shouldn't worry about the quality of the millennial professional workforce, which is well-trained and brings a lot of assets. “The future of the healthcare system is in pretty good hands,” he said. “These kids are asking the right questions. We are better off to embrace them than to challenge them and complain about idiosyncrasies.”
Howard Wolinsky is a freelance writer based in Flossmoor, Ill.