Whitman Partners, the search firm for placing Directors of Surgical Services in hospitals and surgery centers nationwide, has relaunched itself as the world’s first talent agency within the healthcare industry.
PORTLAND, OR, October 11, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — The concept of ‘talent agency’ for healthcare workers might seem a bit lofty, but it’s a natural evolution for Whitman Partners. Established in 2006, the Portland-based firm took the unusual step to focus exclusively on the careers of Directors of Surgical Services, the all-important—and sometimes beleaguered—nurse leader of the operating room.
“The OR is the main revenue center of every hospital,” says Josiah Whitman, founder and CEO. “Thus, the Director of Surgical Services has one of the most important jobs in the hospital as they are tasked with ensuring the success of that department.”
Focused initially on headhunting for retained permanent placement, Whitman grew to recognize that the market could be best served by taking a more active role in developing and nurturing the talent within the industry. The company discovered that by working with the same exclusive pool of candidates for years, a rare opportunity was at their fingertips.
“Recruiting this one position over and over, we naturally came to know our candidates very well,” says Whitman. “We know where they have been, where they are going, and why they did, or maybe didn’t, get a job they wanted. We know their strengths and weaknesses—as any good recruiter would—but we were in a position to engage in more meaningful, long-term involvement with these candidates.”
Thus, Whitman Partners pivoted from the transactional mentality of traditional search to a more holistic and hands-on approach. The firm began referring to its network of Directors of Surgical Services as a “community” and launched a quarterly Recognition Awards program. This initiative celebrates and promotes outstanding leadership amongst perioperative system directors, traveling interims, BIPOC leaders, and up-and-coming talent.
They also created a Rewards Program that distributes’ redeemable points for continuing education, professional tools, and fun swag.
“Rewards gives voice to the community to share leadership stories and best practices,” says Carisa Brewster, Whitman’s resident writer. “It’s a great example of how a community can engage in a virtuous cycle. Members share their stories and knowledge with the community, which raises the professional expertise of the industry. In return, we make it fun and provide them with the recognition and professional development that helps further their careers.”
Already, Directors of Surgical Services who have been recognized and written about have seen career advancement directly tied to their community involvement. Keeli Stith, Associate Director of Perioperative and Procedural Clinical Services for The Ohio State University (tOSU) Wexner Medical Center, was a panelist on Whitman’s 2021 OR Manager Conference panel, “The Inclusive OR: Roles and Goals for Creating a Diverse Team” and a 2021 BIPOC winner. That exposure has given her career a power boost and renewed energy for mentoring tomorrow’s perioperative leaders.
“It’s that concept of giving back and sharing knowledge when you can,” Stith says. “That’s what I like about Whitman. You’re a recruiting firm, but you also do all these other great things.”
For Whitman Partners, the shift from ‘search firm” to ‘talent agency” became evident as COVID waned and industry events such as conferences resumed in-person activity. “As soon as we went to OR Manager and AORN conferences and met these community members in person, it was clear that how we do business and how we relate to our community and they relate to us had evolved,” says Whitman. “Whitman Partners is no longer merely a search firm—though that is still how we make a living—we represent and support these directors in ways that go beyond helping them find jobs. It only made sense to go all-in. We changed our tagline to ‘You deserve the celebrity treatment,’ which drives how we think and act toward supporting and promoting our community members. The business follows.”
Founded in 2006, Whitman Partners is a national leader in permanent placements, interim assignments, and perioperative consulting for Surgical Services. The firm serves level 1 trauma centers, large academic medical facilities, physician-owned ASCs, and hospitals in both urban and rural areas.
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