Rural Recruitment Reimagined Workshop Presents the "Safe Sites" Model
Need: Strategies to recruit and retain providers to practice in rural settings.
Intervention: A traveling one-day workshop was designed to share ideas and firsthand accounts on successful strategies on how to create "Safe Sites" for new recruits.
Results: So far, workshops have trained over 250 hospital administrators, board members, and rural hospital recruiters.
Recruiting and retaining healthcare providers can be one
of the most difficult job requirements of any rural
hospital administrator. In southwest Kansas, healthcare
partners have discovered essentials to building a "Safe
Site" within a hospital and community that not only
attracts a new recruit to a rural setting but helps keep
Safe Sites are healthcare facilities that understand and
support the motivating factors that drive providers to
serve in rural locations. Characteristics of a Safe Site
Administrators who are accessible, humble, and
Supportive board members
Respect for work/life boundaries
Support of mental health well-being
Positive organizational culture
Stable medical staff
Compassion for patients
Opportunity to practice at top of license
Standardized roles as related to call and procedures
Equitable call structure
Fair compensation and generous vacation time
Opportunity for professional and personal
Strong community engagement
Since its debut in 2018, the Rural Recruitment
Reimagined workshop has featured firsthand accounts
from the following voices about how to create a Safe Site
culture within a rural hospital and community:
Rural hospital administrators
Rural practicing providers
Baylor University interns and fellows
Via Christi International Family Medicine program
directors and fellows
Via Christi Family Medicine Residency program
director, faculty, and residents
University of Kansas Medical Center students
University of Kansas Medical
Center Rural Health Education and Services
So far, 2 workshops have taken place in Kansas, 1 in
Texas, 1 in North Dakota, 1 in Colorado, and 1 in
California. Plans are being made in partnership with
state rural health organizations to expand the workshop
to other states in the future. Registration fees and
sponsorships are used to cover travel and boarding for
speakers. Workshop fees have been donated to the Via
Christi International Family Medicine Fellowship program,
which equips providers to serve underserved populations
domestically and abroad.
Below is a sample of a typical agenda for the Rural
Recruitment Reimagined workshop. Sessions are
catered to each audience and feature local models.
Audience Brainstorm Session
An Introduction to the Mission-Focused Medicine Model
Panel – Priorities of Millennial Providers
Organizational Mission Alignment and Perception
Assessing Organizational Culture
Panel – Becoming Part of a Community
Key Tool for Attracting Providers to Your Community
Group Discussion - Lessons
Learned and Priorities
In 2019, a total of 102 stakeholders attended the
workshop. Of those attendees, 40 stakeholders who manage
rural and underserved healthcare recruitment in other
states were in attendance.
Utilizing this model has helped in the effort of
recruiting doctors to western Kansas. From 2015 to 2019,
15 physicians, 5 physician assistants, and 5 nurse
practitioners were recruited into southwest Kansas.
A similar effort has been launched in Colorado,
resulting in the successful recruitment of 6 physicians.
Rural Recruitment Reimagined workshops have
fostered partnerships and collaboration among
healthcare facilities in recruitment efforts of
Norton County Hospital and Clinics hired three family
medicine providers after applying the principles shared
at the workshop in Kansas City. Success stories like this
one are becoming more common as the workshop expands to
Commitment — Because the
responsibilities of hospital administrators are vast,
securing a commitment to attend a workshop can be a
tedious or last-minute process.
Travel — Weather, long distance, and
time away from responsibilities may impede
administrators and others from attending the workshop.
Leadership — Not every hospital board
and senior administrative team may be ready to become a
Safe Site or engage the principles shared at the
workshop. The effort requires both self-reflection and
a broad vision.
Community receptivity — Although
hospital leadership may want to apply the concepts
shared at the workshop, their community may not show
interest. In order to successfully become a Safe Site,
the two entities need to be in agreement.
The Rural Recruitment Reimagined workshop can be
held in partnership with other healthcare organizations.
Below are some considerations before inviting the
workshop to your state:
This workshop works well when offered as part of a
larger conference, training, or event. Identify a
gathering intended for healthcare leaders who could
benefit from the workshop.
Personal invitations to hospital administrators and
follow-up will show your vested interest in the workshop
and your belief in its value.
Hospitals are encouraged to bring a team of
stakeholders, including administration, board members,
and key community leaders, who would be an integral part
in implementing the workshop's principles.
Consider inviting those who
were a part of the last Community Health Needs
Consider inviting others from the local rural
safety net, like mental and public health
professionals. Include them on your action planning
and implementation process to expand your Safe Site
principles across sectors.
Identify success stories in your own state or region
to add a local voice to the workshop's sessions and
Benjamin Anderson, Vice President of Rural Health and Hospitals
Colorado Hospital Association
Recruitment and retention of health professionals
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information
about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The
programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s
needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep
in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.