As Regional Vice President of Staff Care's Hospitalist Division, Brian Ishmael is a crucial figure in our ongoing commitment to meeting the healthcare community’s increasing need for qualified, experienced locums tenens hospitalists — the third most-utilized locum tenens medical specialty in 2014, according to Staff Care's 2015 Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends.
Bearing many responsibilities regarding Staff Care’s recruitment strategies, Brian is focused primarily on leading and mentoring hospitalist recruiters. “Right now, we have a team of 14 recruiters, so I coach and mentor them and try to provide them all of the skills that I have gained throughout my personal career,” he recently explained to The Staff Care Insider.
“I also assist the more veteran recruiters to make sure they have all the resources they need and make sure the physicians we work with are well taken care of,” Brian added. “And if problems arise on travel, or with any other issues while on assignment, I will step in and make sure to fix it.
“Our physicians are our life blood in all we do, so if our physicians are not satisfied with the service provided by Staff Care, then we’re not going to be successful.”
Texas Roots, and a ‘Passion’ for Helping Others
“Born and raised” in Mesquite, Texas, and now a resident of nearby Murphy, Brian attended college at local Hardin-Simmons University, where he majored in social work.
“Social work had been a defining passion for me early on because I have always enjoyed helping people, and that passion has continued throughout my career,” Brian told us.
“When I was growing up, my grandfather was a huge influence in my life, because he was loved by everyone and always took the time to help out friends, family and strangers. That was a huge influence on me wanting to get into social work and being in a service-related industry.
After working at Fidelity Investments and turning down the opportunity to relocate with the company to another community, Brian joined the Staff Care team back in 2000.
“Recruiting was something I had not done before, but I was very interested in the healthcare industry,” Brian said. ”Recruiting seemed to fit well with my mantra of helping people, so I decided to go for it.”
During his first eight years at Staff Care, Brian recruited for more than a dozen different medical specialties, including primary care, internal medicine, emergency medicine, and surgical specialties.
“It was difficult in the sense that you had to become the subject matter expert for different specialties, but I also had the opportunity to speak with a variety of providers,” Brian recalls, adding that that these early years gave him the experience and confidence to be “successful in almost any specialty division in the company.”
History, Evolution & Future of Hospitalist Recruitment in the United States
Brian shared some insights into the history and development of hospitalists, as well as where this relatively new but increasingly critical medical specialty may find itself in the future.
“The hospitalist model really made its way in the upper Midwest to the Northeast, where it was created, and has continued to evolve throughout the country and that’s when we’ve seen the demand really explode,” he told us.
“With the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we have driven a million-plus individuals into the healthcare system, so even more people are going to utilize healthcare. The issue that we have to solve now is how do we drive more people into medical school and choose gateway specialties like emergency medicine, hospitalist, and family practice.
“This is an ever-changing industry. Healthcare is never static with new technology and new advances. Our clients are asking us for different recruiting models to support their growth plans, so we’re always changing the way we recruit and where we’re recruiting, so that’s really exciting.”
Recruitment Leadership Philosophy: Excellence via Trust & Teamwork
In Brian’s words, ”there are two things” that really drive him in his role as Staff Care’s Vice President of Hospitalist Recruitment — “the people I manage, and the doctors I work with.”
“I have these recruiters, and I’m responsible for their careers, and I need to make sure they’re taken care of. If there are things in their personal lives affecting their work, I want to build the trust and rapport so they feel comfortable coming to me for advice. I’m a good listener and can give good, sound advice, and if I can’t give it then I’m certainly going to find another source that can.
“We’re living life together, we probably see each other more than most of their friends and family, so I want to be a good steward of their careers.”
Brian feels similarly rewarded by his work with physicians.
“I’ve worked with some wonderful doctors … there have been doctors that I’ve worked with throughout my entire 16-year career whom I still manage. Being able to meet some wonderful doctors, and even some who live in the Dallas Fort Worth area, and knowing that I have played a part in their career, has been very rewarding.”
“It’s a very holistic career here, and we help a lot of people in ways we may not even always realize, and I try not to let my people forget that.”
Second-Best Dream Job (After Hospitalist Recruiter)?
“I love to cook. I am a total food junkie and I watch all of the cooking shows on TV and do all of the cooking in our family, so I would say chef, but even more so a baker.
“But I also love the stock market based on my experience at Fidelity so being a financial planner would also be a job I would love to do. Finances dominate most of the decisions we make in our lives so I would love to be at the cornerstone to give sound advice and help people through tough times.”
Brian also shared some favorite memories about his time on Staff Care’s locum tenens recruitment teams.
“I managed the same regional team for over 10 years, and I was blessed to have core individuals stay on that team, even when they had opportunities to go to another firm or team.
“I’ve managed a couple of those individuals for 10 years directly, and value that whole experience of having a core of individuals together on my team. We were like a family, celebrating births, marriages and shared tears during tough times.
“Now, even though we’ve gone our separate ways throughout the company, we still see each other frequently and have maintained our relationships. That is the kind of thing that keeps someone with a company — the people, the shared experiences and the rapport. I know that no matter where life takes us, we’ll still have those friendships.”
Connect with Brian or another of our hospitalist recruitment professionals today! Contact Staff Care here.