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PS&D Helps Physician Return to U.S. After COVID-Related Job Loss

Published on: Sep 24, 2021

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Recruiters collaborate to help Canadian-born doctor navigate the visa application process


For Dr. Adrian Dryden, COVID meant more than learning new protocols and wearing extra PPE. It upended his life, starting with a job loss and ending with him having to return to Canada, where he grew up.

“I was only one-and-a-half years into a five-year contract, and my clinic let several of us go for financial reasons,” says Dr. Dryden, a Family Medicine physician who was working in Oregon on a J-1 Visa Waiver. “Suddenly, I was in a scramble to stay in the country, because if you didn’t find a new job in 60 days, you would have to go back home. My stress level was significant.”

He reached out to Provider Solutions & Development and worked with two physician recruiters to explore his options in the Pacific Northwest. Through collaboration and networking, PS&D was able to help Dr. Dryden return to a physician role, this time in Washington.

Senior Recruiter Mark Rearrick, well-versed in helping physicians navigate the work visa process, asked Dr. Dryden if he’d consider Spokane’s Providence Medical Group-North Pines site, known throughout the Providence health system as an “innovation clinic.”

After several virtual interviews, Dr. Dryden decided to go for it. Today, he says he’s grateful for a recruiter who became his advocate, encouraging him to take a chance on the unknown.

“Mark was so great to talk to,” Dr. Dryden says. “He was extremely knowledgeable about the physician work visa process, and he connected me with lawyers who helped me get my H-1B Visa and return to the U.S. Mark knew what to do every step of the way.”

A Perilous Situation

Dr. Dryden was not alone in his pandemic journey. According to a 2020 Physicians Foundation study, 43% of physicians saw their staff reduced due to COVID-19, and 72% experienced a reduction in income.

For physicians working on visas, their environment was even more perilous, as they worried about downsizing, furloughs and layoffs that would mean they’d have to leave the country.

To make matters worse, about a month before Dr. Dryden was laid off, his wife lost her job at a weather forecasting company. Both jobless, it was a matter of time before they had to return to Canada, where Dr. Dryden says their mental health began to suffer.

“I went from working fulltime and seeing patients every day to not doing anything,” he says. “I lost my sense of purpose.”

Dr. Dryden’s conversations with Mark seemed like a light at the end of a dark tunnel. He still remembers the day he received his paperwork.

“All I could think about was, ‘When am I going to get back into the country?’” he says. Every day I was checking my email, hoping to see something positive. A week after New Year’s, I got the email from my lawyer saying she was going to courier my documentation to me. I got ready to cross the border.”

A New Life

After Dr. Dryden and his wife made it across the Canadian border with no issues, Dr. Dryden says he breathed a sigh of relief, knowing a new life awaited him.

Now, seven months into his new job in Spokane, he’s on an H-1B Visa, and his employer is sponsoring him and his wife to get their green cards. Spokane feels like a perfect fit, with its golf courses, large urban center, microbrew scene and mild weather. Dr. Dryden and his wife just bought their first house, and his wife’s parents are planning to move from Canada to live near them.

“I think what helped all this come together the way it did is that Mark and Robyn got to know me,” he says. “They knew about my professional goals. They knew what kind of work culture I wanted. They knew I brewed craft beer and played golf in my spare time. And they helped me navigate the incredibly complex process of immigration. I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone, but I’m pretty grateful for how it all turned out.”

Physician Work Visas

PS&D hires for roles that are open to doctors working under the following work visas:

J-1 Visa: The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa program allows foreign nationals to come to the U.S. for a temporary period for a wide variety of educational purposes. After finishing their education, physicians can then apply for a J-1 Visa Waiver, which allows foreign nationals to remain in the U.S. and work for a period of three years in designated, underserved areas.

H-1B Visa: H-1B Visas are non-immigrant visas that allow for the temporary employment of professional foreign nationals with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty field. Foreign medical graduates may be admitted into the U.S. with an H-1B to engage in direct patient care or as part of a medical training program or to teach or conduct research for a sponsoring employer. 

Reach out today to learn more about Primary Care positions in Spokane and positions across the PS&D network that are open to accepting candidates needing J-1 Visa Waivers and H-1B Visas.

About Provider Solutions & Development  

Provider Solutions & Development is a community of experts founded within Providence, a purpose-driven, 51-hospital health system, over 20 years ago out of a clear need to change recruitment. Today we support dozens of hospital systems and serve physicians and advanced practice clinicians with heart, from residency to retirement, so they can do the same for their patients. With exclusive access to hundreds of positions across the nation, Provider Solutions & Development offers holistic, personal career guidance and placement that puts physicians and advanced practice clinician’s needs first.

More information about Provider Solutions & Development can be accessed at

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