KU hosts job fair for organizations recruit top health care providers to rural Kansas

October 17, 2012
By Cori Ast

The job market may be tough, but 33 employers in Kansas were looking to hire physicians, nurses, therapists and other health care professionals at Kansas Career Opportunities (KCO) on Thursday, October 11 in the Hixson Atrium at KU Medical Center in Kansas City.Kansas Career Opportunities 2012

Sheridan County Health Complex was among the businesses looking to hire Thursday. Sheridan County Health Complex's CEO, Steve Granzow, is recruiting a family physician to practice in Hoxie, a community of 1,200 in northwest Kansas. But Granzow is looking for more than a board-certified physician-he's looking for "the right fit."

"I am looking for a physician who wants to step in and take a leadership position in building the future of health care," Granzow said, who was showing the 217 job seekers the plans for a new medical facility to be built in Hoxie.

Granzow said a new physician would have a lot of say in how the hospital continued with the plans. Other projects in the works at Sheridan County Health Complex include becoming an NCQA-certified patient-centered medical home and an application to become a federally-qualified health center.

Part of "fit" is also about a physician that will embrace the community, he said. Granzow summed up the Hoxie-way of life in one sentence: "Our children do not know what a bicycle lock is."

Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital & Physicians Clinic, was also looking to add a family physician that would embrace the community.

"We want someone who will come and build a practice and stay. We hope they'll love it in Medicine Lodge and make it their home," said Sue Lee, Director of the Medicine Lodge Community Health Foundation. Medicine Lodge is at town of about 2,000 in south central Kansas.

This was the first time Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital has participated in Kansas Career Opportunities. "We are very pleased with the people we've talked with," said Lee, who was optimistic that the hospital would be able to find the right doctor to add to the town's one physician and two physician assistants.

KU family medicine resident James Stanford, MD, was busy working the room with his school-aged son in tow, looking for his right fit.

"When I finish with my residency, I want a job in a rural community," said Stanford, who grew up in a town of 300. "It's in my blood. This would be my dream job," he said of small-town practice.

Although many of the exhibitors were interested in recruiting physicians to their communities, some were also looking for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses and therapists.

"We're starting to find there is a huge need for nursing care and we need to fill that gap," said Jill Mick, physician recruiter for Sunflower Health Network, which helps recruit for providers and manage some business operations for health centers and hospitals in 15 Kansas counties.

This is the 16th year for KCO, a job fair for health care providers seeking careers in rural Kansas.

"We host KCO each year because we know that rural Kansas is a great place to work, live and play. This is especially true for health care providers, because local health services are such an integral part of these communities," said Joyce Grayson, director of Rural Health Education and Services at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

KCO is held twice each fall, once at the University of Kansas Medical Center's Kansas City campus and once in Wichita. This year's Wichita event was held on Thursday, October 4 with 40 employers exhibiting and 187 health care providers and students participating.

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