It is projected that by the year 2025, the millennial generation will account for 75% of the workforce. This generational shift has started to become evident in today’s workplaces. The sad thing is that most organizations have not fully grasped how to co-exist with these individuals.
Take the case of family medicine, more and more baby boomers are hitting their retirement ages and the first of the millennials, also known as generation Y, doctors are filling the spaces left. The new generation of millennial doctors has different expectations for their careers than those who came before them. It, therefore, begs the question: Can family medicine adapt to the needs of millennial doctors? And if so, how?
Millennial Doctors: Who Are They?
The millennial mindset is entirely different from the silent generation, the Baby Boomer, and Generation X. Millennials are known to love praise, are eager to advance and cherish a balance between work and their personal lives. They grew up in an electronics-filled and socially-networked world and tend to be tolerant of difference. Currently, more Millennials are graduating from medical schools and joining the world of family medicine. These are the same people who’ll eventually become leaders in healthcare organizations. Many people get the wrong idea about millennials terming them as lazy due to their different mannerisms and outlooks. It is therefore essential to understand their mindset, expectations and motivations as they are key to the success of family medicine.
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What Sets a Millennial Family Doctor Apart?
As previously stated, most millennial doctors treasure a work-life balance in family medicine. This is different in comparison to the workaholic mentality of the baby boomers who don’t mind a full day at work. The term ‘me time’ means a lot to this generation. This time is considered necessary to live a healthy life and decrease the risk of physical burn out which is a rising issue in the field of family medicine.
Millennial doctors possess large amounts of student loan debts and are therefore aware of the need to earn an income that can adequately repay the debt. That being said, money is not entirely their reason for choosing a job in family medicine. Millennial family doctors lean towards value-based health care, which focuses more on the quality, not the quantity. Other incentives in family medicine that millennial physicians value include vacation time, more paid time off and flexible working hours.
Millennial doctors have no memory of a time with no technology. They have grown up with PCs, email, and instant messaging. It is easy for the older generations to associate technology with laziness which is not always the case. A good example of effective technology in family medicine is telemedicine which makes appointments more convenient for both the doctor and the patient.
While there is a large number of physicians venturing into family medicine, this generation prefers to practice specialty care to primary care. This is mainly because millennial doctors are not intrigued by the primary care physician’s tight schedule which goes against their work-life balance principle. This is in contrast to the baby boomer generation which prefers primary to specialty care.
How Do You Recruit a Millennial Doctor?
It is indisputable that the number of millennial physicians in the UAE is rapidly increasing year after year. To successfully recruit these doctors, family medicine must find a way to understand the millennial’s expectations. One difference between the Millennial generation and its predecessors is their unwavering confidence in their net worth and ability to express what they want. This confidence tends to make them high-maintenance which can be viewed negatively by older generations in family medicine. Therefore, the recruitment process for a millennial can prove challenging for Practice Administrators as the millennial doctors will be more vocal about their demands from a family medicine organization.
It is up to family medicine to find a way to appease this generation. One way is by offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, leadership opportunities, work-life balance opportunities, and the latest technology. Millennial doctors desire a complete and transparent compensation package from the organization. This is because the doctors carry a heavy burden of school loans they accrue while studying family medicine. In addition to this salary, a healthcare organization can also offer the opportunity to earn supplementary income through productivity bonuses or tuition reimbursement as an incentive.
Offering a work-life balance could include letting the millennials have full control over their clinic schedule, hiring well trained clinical staff to help the doctors, and providing shorter shifts on the weekends. For millennial doctors in family medicine, the desire for a work-life is so strong that millennials will feel respected by an organization that allows for schedule flexibility.
How to Retain Millennial Family Doctors
Millennial physicians desire to work for a family medicine organization that invests more in them. Otherwise, they will seek other career opportunities. This characteristic comes from the desire to have all their expectations met in the family medicine field. They are not only looking for the right compensation and benefits but also to have their ideas heard and taken seriously. Therefore, in addition to family medicine investing in ways to recruit millennial doctors, they will also need to be creative with the retention of these doctors.
Continually evaluating the organization’s compensation structure is one way to do it. It helps ensure it remains compatible with market rates. Also, millennial doctors will expect constant feedback in their work throughout the year instead of learning on their own. Therefore, a company should set the millennial physician in an environment where they can learn from their peers or mentors who they consider as their biggest influence.
For a millennial doctor, the idea of changing jobs, moving office location or getting a new electronic system is not unsettling as they are always ready to discover new ways of doing things. In this aspect and others mentioned above, we conclude that, yes, it is possible for family medicine to meet the expectations of millennial doctors. All it takes is a willing healthcare organization and the rest, as they say, is history.