Physicians flock to hospitals

"The era of the independent physician who owns and runs his or her practice is fading," writes Mark Smith, president of recruiting company Merritt Hawkins in a newsletter for AMN Healthcare, his firm's parent company. Smith notes that "both primary care and specialists are embracing hospital employment as a way to minimize the administrative burdens and financial risks of private practice." At the same time, "many hospitals are seeking ways to employ doctors in order to create the aligned structure required by accountable care organizations and the general shift toward value-based reimbursement." The 2011 review of Merritt Hawkins' physician recruiting assignments shows that in the 12-month period covered, 56 percent were for hospital-employed settings, up from 23 percent five years ago. Family physicians were the most requested type of doctor, followed by internists, psychiatrists and orthopedic surgeons. Visit www.merritthawkins.com.

Is Your Staff Culturally Competent?

As hospitals strive to meet the needs of their diverse populations, they must make sure staff provide culturally competent care and they must increase diversity in their workforce pipelines, according to "Building a Culturally Competent Organization: The Quest for Equity in Health Care," released by the Health Research & Educational Trust and the Institute for Diversity in Health Management. Questions leaders should ask regarding staff include: Have patient representatives, social workers, discharge planners, financial counselors and others received training in diversity issues; have you identified people to help staff communicate in a variety of languages; and do you educate staff during orientation and on an ongoing basis about cultural issues? Hospitals also should have mentoring programs to develop "talent, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity" and require search firms to present a mix of candidates reflecting the community. Visit www.hret.org/cultural-competency.

Nurses Lack Confidence to counsel smokers

Smoking cessation training should be included in nursing education, recommends a study in the June issue of American Nurse Today. The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, found that nurses who are not confident in their smoking cessation counseling skills are less effective in advising patients. The authors urge researchers and guideline developers to package smoking cessation interventions so they are easy to implement. They suggest rural hospitals find creative ways to educate nurses in cessation counseling, possibly through collaboratives or networks. Visit www.americannursetoday.com.