New Survey Results: Why Physicians Relocate

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New Jackson & Coker relocation study discovers two distinct physician groups.

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What we’ve learned is that a physician’s experience alters their motivating factors when relocating.

When it comes to understanding what most influences a physician’s willingness to relocate, the overall lifestyle a geographic area offers has long been considered the top driver. However a new study by Atlanta-based staffing firm, Jackson & Coker, reveals that this may not be the case.

In a recent study designed to measure the factors physicians considered most important when relocating, two distinct groups of physicians emerged. Each group is driven by different motivators.

The first group of physicians were more likely to be female, 45 years of age or younger, in medical practice 15 years or less and have a working spouse. This group preferred suburban or urban locations in the Northeast and had only relocated one or two times. In addition, they were more likely to specialize in dermatology, gynecology, infectious disease, physical medicine and rehabilitation or be a hospitalist.

When deciding where to relocate, overall lifestyle of the area, potential income and flexible/fewer working hours were this group’s primary factors.

The second group of physicians were more likely to be male, 51 years of age or older, in medical practice 15 years or more and prefer a single-specialty practice. This group either preferred a rural location or had neither location nor regional preferences. Unlike the first group, these physicians were more likely to specialize in neurology, psychiatry or surgery.

For this group, contact with other physicians, recreational opportunities and climatic conditions were primary deciding factors when relocating.

“What we’ve learned is that a physician’s experience alters their motivating factors when relocating,” said Sandy Garrett, president of Jackson & Coker. “Recruiters need to understand the nuanced preferences between physicians as they work to place them.”

This study marks the 25th anniversary since Jackson & Coker first surveyed physicians about relocation preferences in 1987. In that inaugural survey, hospital facilities, potential income and spouse’s preference were the primary deciding factors cited by physicians looking to relocate.

To view Jackson & Coker's survey go to: and view the Jackson & Coker Industry Report.

About Jackson & Coker

Jackson & Coker, a prominent physician staffing firm, believes that all hospitals, clinics, physician practices, and patients should have access to a physician whether for a day, a lifetime, or any of life’s changes in between. For over three decades, Jackson & Coker, a leader in locum tenens recruitment, has been uniting physicians and hospitals to ensure that all patients’ needs are met by providing physicians for as little as a day and as long as a lifetime. The firm specializes in doctor opportunities for physicians at any stage of their professional career.

Headquartered in metro Atlanta, the physician recruitment firm has earned a reputation for placing exceptionally qualified candidates in commercial and government practice opportunities. Recruiters work in two divisions of the company: Permanent placement, which recruits providers in over 40 medical specialties for permanent physician jobs, and locum tenens, a staffing model that recruits medical providers (physicians and CRNAs) for temporary vacancies.

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Edward McEachern, Vice President - Marketing
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