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Job Opportunities for the Integrative and Functional Medicine Community.

Hiring Support Staff for the Integrative and Functional Medicine Practice

Lisa McDonald 09/19/2017

An empty staff position can have a dramatic impact on a practice, especially with a smaller staff as is common in Integrative/Functional Medicine.

Before you start your search, make sure you have an effective recruitment strategy in place.

Create a job description

The job description will outline the key responsibilities of the position. Defining the needs of the position is critical to recruiting candidates and managing employee performance. You should include the customer skills and knowledge required for the specifics of your practice approach and demographics.

Determine hours, compensation and benefits

Benefits can play a critical role in the decision to apply for or accept a position. In addition to health insurance, think about PTO (paid time off), disability and life insurance. Also, a flexible schedule is a magnet for many candidates, if you can offer it, do.

If your practice does not offer health insurance you can look into Health Sharing program such as Liberty HealthShare or My Academy of Health Excellence which are exempt from the requirements of the ACA mandate to purchase health insurance, so there is no penalty and they can be less expensive.

To ensure your compensation is competitive, you can research salary information in your area using websites such as Salary.com and PayScale and Glassdoor.

Strategize a recruitment process

Develop interview questions that identify the key qualities you want for this position. Utilize questions that ask for specific examples of how a situation was handled. Past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. And make sure you keep the interview legal.

Define what your ideal candidate would be like, but be open-minded. I’m an advocate of hiring character and training skill. New skills can be taught, but you can’t teach personality, emotional intelligence, or purpose.

Who will be involved in interviewing candidates? There should be a minimum of two people to vet a candidate. What will the interview process look like? A phone interview first, then onsite interview?

Once your presentation and questions are prepared, review them and the interview process with the hiring team to ensure you have a professional representation of your practice. A first impression can be a last impression, which goes for candidates and employers.

Remember to conduct a background and reference checks when you’re ready to make an offer.

Create a job posting

The job description can be helpful in drafting the posting, and be sure to include key information regarding pay and hours to help screen candidates. Providing details about the schedule, qualifications, responsibilities, benefits and compensation will help reduce the number of unqualified applicants.

This is your marketing tool – highlight that your practice is Integrative and Functional Medicine, that you offer patient-centered care and the type of culture that creates in your office. You want candidates who have a passion for working in an office that educates and promotes health.

Now you’re ready to hire, but where do you find candidates?

The Medical Assistant 

Medical Assistants (MA’s) are valuable to a practice and in addition to clinical responsibilities their duties can be tailored to the specific needs of the practice. MA’s in an Integrative/Functional Medicine practice will require more knowledge than in a conventional practice. While they are not licensed to make independent medical assessment or give advice, an MA in an Integrative/Functional Medicine office will need to understand the basics of nutrition, become familiar with Functional Medicine labs and understand the protocol for your office and the patient-centered approach.

In addition to regular clinical duties, MA’s can help manage supplement inventories, tee up specialty labs and support marketing efforts. The MA will be one of the first people to greet your patients. Their professionalism, enthusiasm and knowledge will be one of the first impressions your patients will have of your practice.

Where to find Medical Assistants

College or university career centers can be great resources. Most states have an education program in place for a MA. Develop relationships with community colleges or vocations schools in your area that have programs. Consider having MA students rotate through your practice to identify suitable candidates.

Find an accredited medical assistant school in your area and contact the directors for information about their placements services and candidates.

Additionally, you can use job boards. Free sites include Craigslist and Indeed. Both of these sites are frequently used to source MA’s. If you’re having difficulty finding the right candidate it may be worth utilizing sites that require fees, i.e Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, ZipRecruiter and Monster.

Strategic Hiring for a Practice Manager

Seeking a candidate with previous practice management experience and at least some college education is encouraged considering your practice manager will be handling a variety of responsibilities to include managing office personnel, staffing, billing, collections, marketing etc. To be successful in an Integrative/Functional Medicine practice they must have a passion for health and wellness.

Finding the right practice manager is essential to the success of your practice. Some traits to look for during the interview process: professionalism, outstanding communication skills, even-tempered, friendly, empathetic and conscientious. They must have the ability to handle a stressful environment and possess leadership skills.   The practice manager influences the atmosphere and relationship of your team.

Where to find Practice Managers?

There are organizations that train practice managers and provide resources for professional development.   Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is one of those organizations and has a job board with both local and state affiliates.

In addition, the job boards mentioned previously can also be great places to source.

It can be difficult to find a practice manager with experience in Integrative and Functional Medicine, but hiring a candidate with proven practice management experience, emotional intelligence, a passion for patient-centered care and root cause medicine will go a long way to having an incredibly strong practice and a person who will thrive in the role.

Recruiting Beyond Job Boards

Online job boards are known for generating a number of applicants, but “social hiring” (leveraging social media sites to recruit) and networking are other ways to find support staff, especially for practices in Integrative and Functional Medicine.

Social Media

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be great recruiting tools. Each platform has its own culture so you will want to customize how you share your message. For example, LinkedIn has a much more professional tone than Facebook.

Meetups

Functional Forum Meetups are a fantastic way to network and learn more about Integrative and Functional practitioners in your community. These Meetups are held regularly and are free to the local community. I’ve spoken to a number of practitioners who have connected to opportunities and built referrals by attending their local Functional Forum Meetup.

If you’re hiring practitioners for your practice we make it super easy!  

Visit Integrated and Functional Connections to explore our job platform connecting employers and practitioners in the Integrative and Functional Medicine field across the nation.

 

 

 

 

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Job Searching? Begin now, where you are.

Lisa McDonald 05/24/2017

As a recruiter in the field of Integrative and Functional Medicine, I’m fortunate to regularly speak with providers in the field and hear their stories.

In addition to hiring interviews, I speak with many practitioners at conferences. At the last AFMCP conference – offered by the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) – I spoke with a few practitioners who were eager to practice Functional Medicine, but were frustrated that there weren’t opportunities in their geographical area yet.

There doesn’t need to be any frustration. Just start with where you are.

Once empowered with life-changing information about Functional Medicine, it’s possible to play a significant role in transforming health – right in your own backyard.

I’ve seen primary care providers and specialists bring the benefits of Functional Medicine to conventional medicine in brilliant ways.

The Surgeon

In obtaining a professional reference for a candidate trained in Functional Medicine, I asked the hospital administrator in what setting she thought the surgeon would work best and she replied, “in a setting he can treat the whole person”. Given that he was a surgeon, this response surprised me so I asked the administrator to elaborate.

“If a patient was referred to him for a procedure, he would not evaluate just the procedure, he would take into account everything. He would look at labs and address other things, like the thyroid. His focus was on the whole patient. He doesn’t just look at the presenting problem; he looks at the overall person. We were not familiar with or expect that here, but that was the way he practiced. We had no problem with it. The patients really liked him. He was our best surgical specialist.“

Not only did that surgeon provide invaluable care to his patients, but an entire health system became aware of the power of Functional Medicine and a whole-person approach.

The Physician Assistant

A physician assistant working in a conventional practice and seeing up to 24 patients a day, found impactful ways to bring Functional Medicine to his patients. Obviously he is limited in the time he has with patients – but he developed ways to get information into their hands so that they could begin their own healing process.

He took advantage of the information he got from taking IFM courses, and created handouts for his patients. What he didn’t have time to tell them in person about nutrition and lifestyle, he provided in careful documents for them to take home and delve into. The number of handouts he creates consistently increases, as does the patients’ interest.

The takeaway here? He hasn’t promoted himself at all, but now has a growing list of patients waiting to see him. Patients are telling their friends and family about their great outcomes and Integrative Medicine practitioners are sending him referrals. He’s only been in practice 18 months.

Patients are eager for this information and seeking a better approach.

The other nine providers on staff refer to him regularly because they are also seeing the great outcomes from his knowledge in Functional Medicine. What a great impact this physician assistant is having in his community and in his practice. It depends upon passion.

More Primary Care Examples

A family medicine physician utilizes his Functional Medicine training to provide wellness seminars at lunch for staff and in the evenings for patients.

A nurse practitioner developed a 6-week wellness program she offers in conjunction with a physician. They both completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine. Their wellness program is always filled, just based upon word of mouth.

There is no better way than to lead by example. Being empowered with knowledge that is life-changing can have an impact no matter what situation you are in. One just has to be open to the possibilities.

Emergency Physician

An emergency physician who is on track for certification with the Institute for Functional Medicine started providing Functional Medicine consults when not working at the hospital. Those consults grew into a Functional Medicine part-time practice.   This part-time practice is on track to become a thriving full-time practice. No marketing expenditures were needed.

The reality is: the moment you are in is just perfect and the only failure would be not to try, not to get educated, not to share this life-saving information. Start from where you are.

The job opportunities have continued to grow in the field rapidly (as I wrote about here) but you don’t have to wait for the right job in the right place. You can begin now, where you are. There are solutions.

The surgeon had an incredible impact in an unlikely environment. And ultimately an astonishing payoff. He recently accepted a position practicing Functional Medicine full time at a new practice that opened up in his area.

All the providers who are getting education in Integrative and Functional Medicine are on the right track. Starting with the education gets you going. And anytime you take an opportunity to use your training to educate, you are gaining valuable experience that a future employer will appreciate.

Patient demand for Integrative and Functional Medicine continues to grow. We need educated providers to respond to this demand.

Start where you are. Use your education. Do what you can.

 

You can find our May jobs announcement in Integrative and Functional Medicine here.

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A Review of Integrative and Functional Medicine Jobs in 2016, with a peek into 2017.

Lisa McDonald 01/10/2017

2016 was an incredible year for Integrative and Functional Medicine career opportunities. Patients’ health is improving with Functional Medicine approaches, so more people are seeking out such patient-focused care. At Integrated and Functional Connections (IFC), we are seeing the demand for this care grow significantly.

2016 saw an increasing number of opportunities throughout the year. The 2nd quarter of the year had the most jobs openings with over 50 positions posted. The Western region of the country had the highest number of opportunities, with the Southeast a close runner up, followed by the Northeast.

Most of the positions were in private practices but there were a growing number of opportunities this year in health systems, academia and in larger organizations. Those larger organizations, in fact, counted for almost one third of the postings.

Physician opportunities were posted the most with Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant positions coming in second.

This year we had new postings for Nutritionists and Health Coaches, as well as Administration, Sales and Telemedicine positions.  We also had a posting for a Genetic Consultant and our first international listing in New Zealand.

One of the big events in 2016 was the growth of The Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine in response to patient demand. There are 2,000 patients on the waiting list. The renowned Clinic’s Functional Medicine Center notably added a Physician and two Advanced Practice Providers to the staff, and with this expansion, had to move into a larger 18,000 square foot space at the end of the year.

What’s Ahead?

2017 started off with a new opportunity for a Functional Medicine Advanced Practice Provider in a workplace Functional Medicine clinic.

Functional Medicine right in the workplace is an exciting trend and a perk that’s tailor-made for today’s employees.

More developments you can expect to see in 2017 are on the Integrated and Functional Connections’ website, and they include:

  • More opportunities to connect (i.e. office shares)
  • Resources to help candidates apply for jobs and interview well
  • HR resources for practices
  • Special international postings

IFC looks forward to the continued growth of the Integrative and Functional Medicine movement in 2017.

Visit our website for a comprehensive listing of job opportunities in the field and to sign up to receive our monthly job alerts at http://integratedconnects.com.

If you didn’t get a chance to see our December jobs announcement eblast, you can find it here.

Integrated and Functional Connections connects the right people to the right jobs.

 

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A New Career Direction For The Burned Out Physician

Lisa McDonald 08/26/2016

I was recently interviewed by Dr. Heather Fork for her niche blog: Doctor’s Crossing.   Dr. Fork was interested in the Functional Medicine opportunities available for physicians. I was excited to share the good news about an increasing number of opportunities in the field . . . from smaller practices to large health systems.

She herself has spoken about the appeal of working in Functional Medicine. Her article: “Functional Medicine – Could It Be For You” is worth a read. And when Dr. Fork gave the IFM’s foundational course (Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice) a favorable review – I wasn’t at all surprised.

Functional Medicine is the way to go if you want to get off the dead end, tedious track of traditional practice management AND experience what you always wanted to do from the start of your medical career – help to heal your patients.

A quote from one physician at the most recent AFMCP conference was IFM “keeps the art of medicine alive.” I hope that any doctor experiencing burnout will find Functional Medicine, the path that will renew his or her passion in medicine again.

The art of medicine. When was the last time you heard that expression? Never?

Well, Functional Medicine’s time has come. It’s holistic. Nurturing. And good for what ails you – the weariness of working one degree removed, or more, from your patients.

If you’re really ready to get off the treadmill but haven’t started the training yet, connect with me and I can share the opportunities that will get you there.

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New Career Platform for Integrative and Functional Medicine

Lisa McDonald 04/19/2016 0

It’s an exciting time in Integrative and Functional Medicine. Finding a job or a practitioner just got easier.

A new collaboration between The Institute for Functional Medicine and Integrated Connections has led to the creation of Integrated and Functional Connections, a centralized platform that offers a robust career platform for recruitment, as well as posting and searching for opportunities in the field. The press release regarding the collaboration can be found here.

This new platform makes it easy for employers to fill Integrative and Functional Medicine jobs, and for practitioners and professionals to find them. The platform serves as the only Connector for careers in the field nationally, and will enable jobs to fill more quickly to support the growth and movement of this medicine.

Practitioners can apply for professional opportunities, sign-up for a monthly jobs alert announcement, and submit a confidential CV to be considered for employer searches. Employers can post jobs and learn about customized recruitment services.

Integrated and Functional Connections connects the right people to the right jobs.

 

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Patient Demand is Mainstreaming Integrative & Functional Medicine

Lisa 12/17/2013

As the “un-recruiter” for Integrative and Functional Medicine providers, I am regularly asked what I see happening in the industry. For several years I’ve waited and can finally report I’m seeing an increasing number of opportunities as the field grows.

Society is mainstreaming Integrative and Functional Medicine.
I see this bandwagon rolling along nicely now. This growth is in response to the demand of the patients who are not getting their health care needs met through the conventional model of medicine.

Integrative and Functional Medicine is breaking through the conventional barriers as a growing number of providers and patients are choosing patient-centered care.

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5 Reasons to Hire an Integrative Medicine Physician

Lisa 09/05/2013

This post was written by Poorvi Shah, DO, Integrative Medicine Physician

1. Public Demand.

Now more than ever, patients desire an integrative medicine approach to their condition. They want to find the root cause of their illness.  With all of the literature on whole living, nutrition, and integrative therapies, the consumer demand for integrative services is at its highest. This demand has warranted large institutions such as Harvard Medical School, Duke University, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and the University of Calfornia, San Francisco to establish integrative medicine clinics.

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Gratitude for Integrative Medicine Providers

Lisa 11/21/2012

At this time when we are reminded to be aware of all we are grateful for, I reflect on my appreciation for being able to work with the incredible healthcare providers who are leading the transformation of our healthcare system – the integrative medicine providers.  I am grateful for this specialized group of healthcare providers and admire the characteristics they generally share.

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Achieving The Wellness Mindset

Lisa 06/18/2012

We hear a lot about wellness today and for good reason.  Americans spend $2 trillion every year on treating disease and obesity has reached epidemic proportions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of the U.S. population is obese; and as this number continues to increase, so too will chronic illnesses and healthcare costs.

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Achieving Wellness with Motivational Speakers

Lisa 04/18/2012

Health insurers are trying to encourage members to take better care of themselves by motivating them with extrinsic rewards. The Wallstreet Journal article found here discusses creative strategies insurers are implementing such as digital gaming, raffle prizes and awarding gift certificates. The intent is that these initiatives will help bring down insurance costs as members’ health improves.

Engagement is critical in changing behaviors to transform health and it is certainly more effective to encourage than to threaten. There is merit in the creative efforts of insurers in rewarding positive behaviors to encourage improvement.

But in order to sustain behavioral change there has to be more than external reward factors. To really move and engage individuals there is nothing more powerful than a live speaker who can educate and inspire.

The external rewards can get the momentum going but a live presentation can motivate participation long enough to experience the intrinsic benefit that will transform health. The intrinsic reward is achieving self-empowerment to create and maintain a healthier life.

Health is an individual choice so it is essential each individual have the knowledge of how to empower themselves to achieve and sustain optimal health. Once the experience of more energy, less stress, increased focus, more joy and overall well being occurs, the incentive will expand from winning a gift certificate to achieving the empowerment to adopt a healthier, happier life.

Each individual has to learn how to maintain health and how to support the body’s potential for self-healing. Education is critical in achieving wellness, and educating through a live experience is powerful.

Integrated Connections’ multi-disciplinary team of speakers empowers individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our speakers’ live presentations engage audiences and provide tools and real life examples of the impact educated health choices have on quality of life. Our speakers tailor their information to best fit the audience’s needs with a variety of topics and tools such as:

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Management Techniques
  • Nutritional Lectures for Healing, Sports and Weight Management
  • Workshops on Yoga and Aromatherapy
  • Presentations on Therapies that Support Optimal Health and Healing

Contact Integrated Connections so we can provide you with customized solutions to achieve wellness in your organization with our motivational speakers.

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Integrated Connections Consulting Services Recommended for Practitioners Preparing for the Expanding Integrative Medicine World.

Lisa 03/26/2012

Integrated Connections offers consulting services for practitioners preparing for job searches and placement.  Margueritte Meier, owner of Dancing Waters Healing Arts, has found these services offered by Lisa McDonald valuable for her students preparing for professional careers in healthcare.

“Lisa McDonald is an excellent consultant and resource for just about anything involving the field of integrative medicine and complementary healthcare.  Lisa has been a featured guest speaker at my energy practitioner school twice, and has offered excellent guidance and encouragement for the graduating students in regards to finding their niches in the expanding world of integrative medicine.  She is well-educated about the latest trends in the mind-body arena, and she is a pioneer with placing and championing integrative medical practitioners within the professional healthcare paradigm.  I highly recommend Integrated Connections.”   

Margueritte Meier, CRMT
Dancing Water Healing Arts
Fort Collins, CO

 

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Integrated Connection’s Speaker Services Support Andrew Weil’s Vision for Better Health Education in the U.S.

Lisa 03/13/2012

Dr. Andrew Weil believes better health education is one of the solutions to the increasing heathcare costs.  On Sunday, March 11, 2012, the Arizona Star printed an article found here in which Andrew Weil states, “On a deeper level, it’s really encouraging people to be more self-reliant in matters of health and I think that’s a matter of education.”  Dr. Weil also states that he’s trusting a grass roots movement will do the job of health education.

Integrated Connections is proud to be a part of the grass roots movement of health education.  Because we have expanded our services to include speaker placements, we can connect professional integrative healthcare specialists into additional opportunities in which they can educate people about prevention and wellness – promoting health.

Integrated Connections is committed to transforming health through integrative medical placements which include speaking opportunities as well as career opportunities.

Call Integrated Connections today to find valuable solutions for your organization’s health education needs.  We can readily identify expert healthcare professionals who can provide the targeted information specific to your organization that educates, motivates and inspires.

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Dr. Chopra’s Vision of the Future: Expanded Medicine

Lisa 06/16/2011

The Huffington Post posted an article by Deepak Chopra, M.D. on June 7, 2011, titled “Medicine’s Great Divide:  The View from the Alternative Side”.    Dr. Chopra describes the relationship between conventional and alternative medicine as a bad marriage that started in reverse with divorce.  He states the marriage is currently in the stage of mediation with science as the mediator and courtship possible in the future, with a lot of marriage counseling of course.

There is a sense of encouragement for the future of this marriage when he speaks of the mood of expanded tolerance of traditional medicine by conventional skeptics because of the enormous strides in evidence and research in recent decades.

Dr. Chopra contends that once both sides stop being defensive and realize they share core values, they can proceed to the phase of  courtship in this reverse marriage.  He shares his vision and answer for the future as expanded medicine; an inspiring description for the future of medicine .

 

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Integrative Medicine Continues to Grow in Popularity with Medical Schools

Lisa 05/17/2011

US News featured an article on April 12, 2011, indicating patients’ desire for alternative therapies is driving medical schools to embrace alternative medicine. Laurie Hoffman, executive director of the Institute for Functional Medicine, is quoted stating interest in teaching alternative approaches has exploded this last year.  The article concludes with an encouraging note that whether or not medical students integrate complementary methods into their practice, they will have gained from viewing medicine in a more holistic way.

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