Lifestyle Matters for Relocating Docs, Survey Says

Feb 5, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

On the same day that a new niche job board for medical professionals was unveiled, a new survey shows that physicians are likely to consider lifestyle issues more important than income when selecting an opportunity to relocate.

According to the “Willing to Relocate Survey” of 2,831 physicians in 25 major medical specialties, physicians weighing employment options are greatly influenced by the quality of life that they and their families will enjoy in a new area, including flexible or fewer work hours.

Jackson & Coker issued the current survey to determine the chief motivators for accepting new full-time employment. Respondents included residents who are preparing to launch their careers along with seasoned physicians who are entrenched in their practices.

Potential income and immediate income rank second and third in physicians’ overall calculation of whether to accept a practice opportunity involving relocation. In addition, demographic statistics reveal that 73.4% prefer to relocate to the Southwest or Southeast.

Jackson & Coker last conducted this survey in 1987, and the new data shows distinctly different trends among career-minded practitioners.

Twenty years ago, the survey showed that doctors were concerned with associating with hospital facilities where they could develop their practices and potentially stay for a considerable length of time. Potential earnings and lifestyle considerations ranked second and third in 1987.


  1. Overall lifestyle of the area
  2. Potential income
  3. Immediate income
  4. Less call rotation
  5. Favorable malpractice rates
  6. Flexible/fewer work hours
  7. Climatic conditions
  8. Recreational opportunities
  9. Preference for urban/rural location
  10. Being in contact with other physicians
  11. Spouse’s preference
  12. Hospital facilities
  13. Desirable partnership


  1. Hospital facilities
  2. Potential income
  3. Overall lifestyle of the area
  4. (Not surveyed in 1987)
  5. (Not surveyed in 1987)
  6. (Not surveyed in 1987)
  7. Spouse’s preference
  8. Climatic conditions
  9. Desirable partnership
  10. Being in contact with other physicians
  11. Recreational opportunities
  12. Preference for urban/rural location
  13. Immediate income

“Living in a highly mobile society, physicians today have more career options and are more flexible in selecting opportunities that enhance their lifestyle and enjoyment of the new community,” says Tim Sheley, executive vice president of Jackson & Coker’s Retained Search division.

He points out that doctors want to enjoy the fruits of their labor outside the office.

“If a hospital is really interested in hiring a doctor, they need to convince him of the benefit of taking the position in terms of how the relocation move can enhance quality-of-life considerations that drive his search,” adds Sheley. Launches

For recruiters hoping to target medical professionals interested in a career change, a new niche site is targeting the readers of peer-reviewed journals such as Contemporary Surgery, Current Psychiatry, and Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Adicio is powering, which sends email alerts when jobs are posted that match job seekers’ medical specialty or interest.

Although a bare-bones site, it does offer access to 40 specialties for physicians, physicians’ assistants, and licensed nurse practitioners. Recruiters represented so far include Mayo Health System; Cox Health System; CompHealth; Central Maine Medical Center; CEJKA Search; and Medical Doctor Associates, among others.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.