The “Beyond the Practice” Series has been created to give you an insight and advantage into the professional side of anesthesia through interviews conducted with leaders in the industry. In this interview, Cross Country Locums Sr. Director of Physician Services, Quincy Young, shares with us why Medical Doctor Associates changed their name, what his anesthesia recruiters say is the biggest challenge they see with providers pursuing a career in locum tenens and the difference between Quality and Speed.
BagMask: Tell us about your title and what your role entails.
Quincy: I am the Senior Director of Physician Recruiting and my role is to lead and direct a team of physician recruiters that recruit all service lines nationwide. My position also includes financial fiscal responsibility for our budgets and hiring directors and strategic leadership.
BagMask: One of the things I am curious about is that you were originally called Medical Doctor Associates and you’ve operated under that name for over thirty years. You’ve built a great company and brand during that time. Why change your name to Cross Country Locums now?
Quincy: Right now is the perfect time to do it. It was eleven years ago that we were acquired by Cross Country Healthcare, and after the purchase we continued to operate under Medical Doctors Associates. However, now what we’re trying to do is present one brand and total solution to strengthen our position in the market.
We had Medical Doctors Associates that placed nurse practitioners, advanced practitioners as well as physicians, Cross Country Searches which focused on permanent placing, and Cross Country Nurses representing nursing, so it was the perfect time to merge with our other brands. It places us in a stronger position to serve our client hospitals and, most importantly, the providers.
As an example, say ABC Hospital needs locum providers for different service lines. Before, a hospital would call Medical Doctor Associates and then Cross Country Nursing to fill different needs, but now we are all one brand. We can offer a doctor, a nurse practitioner, a nurse, or anesthesia clinicians.
We have seen the same trend with the hospitals all merging now. Everything is becoming a one stop solution. Patients now get treatment within a single healthcare system that addresses all their needs. And that was part of the philosophy behind the name change, to have one strong brand that offers a one-stop solution to address the needs of staffing for healthcare systems.
BagMask: It sounds like you’re also creating more opportunities for job seekers out there. Now, when you are talking to hospitals about filling a nursing need you can also tell them we can take care of your anesthesia staffing problem also.
Quincy: Yes. That is one of the benefits of the name change but the Cross Country name in and of itself is allowing us to connect with job seekers that might not have reached out to us before. I have a side story to share with you.
I had a daughter that was born four months early. We spent a lot of time in the hospital and over time I had many conversations with some excellent nurses. Eventually, the discussion of what I do would come up and I would say “I work for Medical Doctor Associates.” It wasn’t until I mentioned we were part of Cross Country Healthcare that their eyes would light up and say “Oh yeah, I know them.”
Where we are today, if I say I am with Cross Country Locums, the name Cross Country alone gains recognition and is a conversation starter. “Oh yeah, I’m familiar with them.” Yes, we do nursing, but we also do advanced practitioners and doctors. We can help you find a position.
This also helps with getting referrals. So, an anesthesiologist can now come to me and say “Quincy, I have an anesthesia tech that needs work.” I can call on behalf of him under our brand and find them a job in-house instead of outsourcing it. It is just another way we are now able to help job seekers more efficiently.
BagMask: You are in a unique position as the Senior Director. You have forty recruiters that you are leading and receiving a tremendous amount of feedback from them on the anesthesia candidates. What are some common mistakes that you’re hearing candidates are making that really hurt their career?
Quincy: There are two types of anesthesia candidates that typically make up the type of providers we are working with daily. Those who are entering the workforce and those who are exiting the workforce.
The challenges or mistakes that new providers are making is just understanding the business of how to find a job. What do you need to find a job? Who do you contact? After you finish your residency or training, where do you start?
They have been so focused on anesthesia training that they have not asked “How do I get a job after I graduate?” It makes sense. They are trying to be the best they can be in their program and not thinking far enough out in advance to start preparing for the job market.
So we try to educate them, even if they are not working with Cross Country. “Hey, these are the best opportunities for you to pursue. This is what you should do here. This is what we see works best for someone in your situation.” We try to be more of a consultant for these individuals that are newly entering the workforce.
The second candidates are those who are exiting the workforce. They are the anesthesia provider who has worked for twenty or thirty years and are looking to cut back on the amount of time they’re working before retiring. Locums also presents an opportunity to travel and still make money or extra money. Maybe they have grand kids in a place or just want to see the world. These anesthesia providers have a general idea of what locums entail, but have some misconceptions about how it exactly works.
Like those entering the workforce, we deal a lot with education for these providers, but focus on understanding their options when looking for an assignment. When I first started my career as a recruiter, one of the things I learned is that a great recruiter is not an “order taker.” An order taker hears what the provider wants and turns around and says, “Here’s how much it pays and here you go.”
It doesn’t work that way in locums. An exact match does not always exist. We want you to understand everything you are looking for in an assignment. Then we can present you with options and help you understand the differences in the assignments and what might be the best match. I might not have the opportunity for you right now, but let’s talk about where you can go for now and, hopefully, once you come back, I will have something for you.
We want to make sure with everyone we work with that we are teaching and showing them how this industry works because that builds trust and a relationship with the candidate.
BagMask: For someone who is about to try locums for the first time, what should they be doing on their side to prepare for that first conversation with an anesthesia recruiter?
Quincy: Start with online reviews. I would encourage anesthesia providers to look at Glassdoor reviews on agencies. Determine who has been in the marketplace for a while, and has credibility within the anesthesia industry.
Then, when you make that call, it’s all about building a relationship with the recruiter. It’s absolutely imperative that you build a relationship with your recruiter. One of the things that happens on our side is when that relationship is built, we feel like we are taking care of one of our family members. We will do everything we can to place them in a position to be successful.
Our team members get very upset and frustrated when they can’t find that opportunity for a candidate. We understand you have bills or might have a family to take care of and are looking for an assignment that is close to them. We are always thinking about how we can help you meet your goals.
The relationship you build with a particular recruiter is invaluable and you want to be able to have that person in your corner when it’s time to find a job. You might not be looking to start locums right away, but start building that relationship so when it is time to get serious, they are a phone call away. I always tell candidates, “Hey, I know that you’re not available to work with us right now, but when you are ready, I am here for you.”
BagMask: Let’s end it with this: What is your hope for the job seekers out there?
Quincy: I have read a lot of articles about Quality versus Speed. It goes back to what I mentioned about “order takers.” Order takers are all about speed.. “How many anesthesia candidates can I get on the phone today?” “How many can I get placed today?” That’s speed.
I hope the anesthesia job seekers out there find a recruiting company that is about quality. A quality company will make their experience phenomenal. That starts with honesty. If an opportunity doesn’t exist, an honest recruiter will tell them. They won’t string them along with the false hope something might pop up. They will guide the provider to opportunities that best fit what they are looking for in an anesthesia assignment.
Another part of “quality” is the process that a provider goes through from the time of the initial call to their first day at the facility. It should be a very fluid process. The recruiter should be with you every step of the way making sure things go smoothly.
So when you combine honesty and a smooth recruiting/onboarding process, you have a quality company, and I hope every anesthesia candidate finds a group like that to help them in their career.