1. Home
  2. NHSC Sites
  3. Current NHSC Sites
  4. How to Recruit, Hire, and Retain Clinicians

How to Recruit, Hire, and Retain Clinicians

Use your status as a National Health Service Corps (NHSC)-approved site to recruit, hire, and retain clinicians.

How to recruit clinicians

Inform potential clinicians of your NHSC-approved status

Once at your site, eligible clinicians can apply for loan repayment assistance.

Hire an NHSC scholar or an NHSC Students to Service participant (if eligible)

NHSC Scholars and NHSC Students to Service (S2S) participants must work at NHSC-approved sites in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) of greatest need.

Learn more about these programs:

Each year, health workforce data is used to determine the minimum HPSA score a site must meet to recruit and hire NHSC Scholars and NHSC S2S participants. We publish each year's score in late spring.

Learn more about HPSA score requirements:

How will NHSC clinicians learn about my site?

If your site is eligible to hire an NHSC scholar or S2S participant, you can post a position on the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) Customer Service Portal. It feeds into the Health Workforce Connector.

The Health Workforce Connector helps you reach thousands of clinicians seeking work in communities with limited access to care.

You can also participate in Virtual Job Fairs. These online job fairs connect you with job-seeking primary care trainees and practicing clinicians.

NHSC scholars and S2S participants receive a travel allowance to attend pre-employment interviews at eligible NHSC sites. You can interview them and showcase your community. NHSC also helps with relocation costs once they accept your job offer. 

How many NHSC Scholars may my site hire?

Eligible NHSC-approved sites may hire one NHSC scholar each year in each of the following disciplines:

  • Physician (Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO))
  • Dentist (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine))
  • Nurse practitioner (postgraduate degree with clinical practice focus)
  • Certified nurse midwife
  • Physician assistant

NHSC scholars do not count against the number of NHSC S2S participants we allow at a site.

How many NHSC S2S participants may my site hire?

Each year, an eligible NHSC site may hire one NHSC S2S participant per discipline:

  • Physician (Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO))
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Certified nurse midwife
  • Dentist (Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD))

NHSC S2S participants do not count against the number of NHSC scholars we allow a site.

Can my site hire additional NHSC scholars or S2S participants?

Yes, we consider these requests on a case-by-case basis. You must explain what prevents your site from meeting your community's health care needs.

To make this request, complete our Additional Clinician Request Form (PDF - 140 KB).

How long must an NHSC clinician commit to serve?

Each NHSC scholar commits to serve the same number of years they receive scholarship assistance. This equals between two and four years of working at an NHSC-approved site.

An NHSC S2S participant must serve in a full-time capacity for at least three years, or in a half-time capacity for at least six years at an NHSC-approved site.

When does their service commitment begin?

An NHSC scholar and S2S participant will receive service credit when they start working at an NHSC-approved site.

Are there requirements for job offer letters?

Yes.  When sending job offer letters to an NHSC scholar or S2S participant, it must:

  • Be an official letter on organization letterhead
  • Include written confirmation of full-time or half-time employment and list the discipline, specialty, and number of hours the participant will work per week
  • Include the name and full address of the NHSC site(s) where the participant will be working (if multiple sites, include information for each site and number of hours the participant will work per week)
  • Include the anticipated employment start date
  • State whether the NHSC site will pay for the NHSC clinician’s malpractice insurance and tail coverage for the duration of employment
  • Include the site representative’s contact information, title, and signature

How to hire the best clinicians

As stated in the NHSC Site Agreement (PDF - 291 KB) you must use a clinician credentialing process.

It must include, at minimum, the following steps:

  • Review references
  • Verify the clinician’s license to practice
  • Get provider data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), of those clinicians for whom the NPDB maintains data

This process is important when you verify the employment history of a new NHSC applicant or NHSC scholars and participants assigned to NHSC-approved sites.

What is the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)?

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) can alert you to a problem with an NHSC participant.

HRSA maintains the NPDB as part of its mission to improve health care quality, protect the public, and reduce health care fraud and abuse in the United States.

What should I do when I receive an NPDB report?

  • Do a more complete review of the clinician’s background and qualifications.
  • Combine that information with other sources to determine employment, affiliation, clinical privileges, certification, etc.

How to retain clinicians

Inform current clinicians at your site about loan repayment

  • Eligible clinicians must first apply for a loan repayment program. Then HRSA must select them to receive a loan repayment award.
    • The loan repayment award is in addition and separate from the clinician's salary.
    • Sites cannot reduce the salary of NHSC clinicians because they receive or have received benefits under the NHSC loan repayment or scholarship programs.
  • NHSC participants may apply for a continuation contract.
    • Provides additional financial support in return for extended service.
    • Helps us keep NHSC participants at NHSC-approved sites.

Provide clinician support

  • Adopt clinician recruitment and retention policies to help the patient population, the site, and the community obtain maximum benefits.
  • Maintain a clinician recruitment and retention plan, including specific strategies aimed at promoting clinician resiliency and reducing burnout.
    • Adopt and implement recruitment and retention policies and practices to keep up clinical staffing levels to properly serve the community.
    • Use NHSC Empowerment Initiative resources to support your plan as appropriate. 
  • Allow NHSC clinicians to maintain a primary care clinical practice (full-time or half-time) as indicated in their contract with NHSC.
  • Support NHSC clinicians with funding and arrangements, including clinical coverage, for their time away from the site to attend or participate in NHSC activities.
  • Make appropriate and efficient use of assigned NHSC clinicians.
Date Last Reviewed: