Spine surgeons' tech recruiting strategies

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Physician recruitment isn't the only obstacle for spine practices and health systems. Surgical technicians have been another challenging position to recruit for.

Five spine surgeons share advice on how practices can strategize technician recruitment.

Note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity.

Question: What strategies is your practice using to employ surgical techs in 2024? 

Brian Fiani, DO. Mendelson Kornblum Orthopedic & Spine Specialists (West Bloomfield, Mich.): Some strategies that a practice can use to employ surgical techs in 2024 include offering competitive salary and packages, providing opportunities for growth and advancement within an organization, investing in training and development programs, utilizing technology to streamline processes and improve efficiency, and creating a positive and supportive work environment. It also is important for practices to actively recruit and network with potential candidates, and to stay current on industry trends and best practices in surgical technology.

Brian Gantwerker, MD. The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: Currently, I do not personally employ surgical techs, but the recruitment of actual full-time surgical techs has been difficult, especially with a plethora of travelers. As we see more full-time folks back in the saddle, I am heartened to see very solid performers. I think the smart money is on paying experienced techs a reasonable salary and good benefits and the merry-go-round of travelers can be halted, and long-term employment and tech loyalty can be reinstituted. The right way often costs more, and I think some centers and hospitals would be smart to just suck it up and pay people a reasonable wage.  

Vladimir Sinkov, MD. Sinkov Spine (Las Vegas): Collegial, respectful and mentally stimulating work environment and great pay structure.  

Christian Zimmerman, MD. St. Alphonsus Medical Group and SAHS Neuroscience Institute (Boise, Idaho): Consigning the most adept and reliable surgical technicians is necessary to the everyday functionality, efficiency and eventual outcomes of any surgery center.  Constant turnover or strife in this position is deleterious and rapidly corrected. New graduate assessment and engagement is encouraged and utilized to garner the best prospective candidates. 

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