Mobility in Medicine: 5 Trends in Healthcare Worker Relocation

No question about it: healthcare workers are on the move. And while this is hardly news—relocation has always been part of healthcare employment—some noteworthy trends are emerging.

And if you’re involved in healthcare HR or recruiting, you’ll want to make sure that these are all on your radar.

1. Physicians’ Reasons for Moving Have Changed

In the past, physicians usually relocated for career advancement—i.e., the chance to run a department or earn greater compensation. But the pandemic changed that, along with their priorities.

Today, large numbers of doctors are reporting burnout. Research indicates that it’s driving them to retire early, leave the profession—or seek out positions that offer work/life balance and more flexible schedules.

In some respects, it’s leveling the playing field, giving smaller hospitals in less-popular locations more opportunities to attract candidates with their slower pace and lighter workloads. 

2. Nurses Are in Growing Demand

As the nursing shortage continues, so does demand for nurses. Now, in addition to generous compensation, RNs are seeking—and receiving—more comprehensive benefits, including relocation benefits and housing allowances, as well as insurance and bonuses.   

As a result, healthcare organizations that not only offer nurses a generous relocation allowance, but also moving and housing assistance are better positioned to secure that sought-after talent.


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3. Incoming: More International Medical Graduates Arrive

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the number of international medical graduates (IMGs) practicing in the U.S. has grown by nearly 18% since 2010. IMGs make up about 25% of active U.S. physicians—and as the talent shortage continues, that number will grow.

For healthcare employers, that means placing more emphasis on international relocation benefits, which are, as you’d expect, more complex than domestic relocations. 

As a result, the popularity of destination services, a specialized relocation benefit, is growing, too. Used primarily for global relocations, destination services help newly-arrived foreign nationals and their families acclimate to a new environment.

Destination services include cultural and language training, help with housing, and settling-in services, plus assistance with the immigration process. These benefits are often crucial to the successful relocation of IMGs, because the sooner and more fully they assimilate into their new communities, the more effective they’ll be at serving them. 

4. Nearly Half of New Physicians Accept Out-of-State Positions

Many healthcare employers are focusing their recruiting efforts on newly minted physicians who’ve just completed their residency.

According to AMA data, 46% of new physicians are accepting positions that are located in states other than where they completed their residencies.

Interestingly, the likelihood of accepting an out-of-state position varies by specialty. Those practicing family medicine or psychiatry are least likely to relocate, while those with surgical specialties are nearly twice as likely to make an interstate move. 

Either way, studies reveal that many new doctors feel unprepared for the employment side of the profession and welcome relocation and acclimation support when provided by employers.

5. Hospitals Are Leveraging Relocation Benefits More Strategically

Most healthcare employers have long offered relocation allowances—that hasn’t changed. However, as the emphasis on long-distance recruiting has grown, many are providing more hands-on relocation support as well.

That often includes guiding new hires step-by-step through the relocation process, providing access to dedicated relocation specialists and connecting them with pre-screened movers, real estate agents and related suppliers.

Offering relocation services not only impresses candidates, it helps ensure that new hires experience a smooth, streamlined relocation—which allows them to get on-the-job faster.

Similarly, more healthcare employers are choosing contemporary, software-based relocation solutions over traditional, labor-intensive relocation companies. Not only does this offer incoming employees a better relocation experience, it vastly cuts relocation costs—thanks to the cost-saving benefits of technology. 

At UrbanBound, we not only pioneered tech-based relocation technology, we specialize in healthcare relocation. That’s why more and more healthcare organizations are moving over to us.

If you’d like to learn who they are—and see what makes us different—all you need to do is click here   


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