Managing the Team: The Doctor-Staff Relationship

doc staff relation



As a practicing physician in the twenty-first century, you have quite a job to do. You must keep up with ever-changing regulations, advances in treatment, and new billing and coding practices. You must do your best to stand out as a skilled, caring, and trustworthy physician in your community in order to keep regular patients coming back, and new ones coming in. But there are other relationships to consider, just as important as the ones you build with your patients. These are the relationships you foster with your staff.

While setting out to be the best physician possible, you need to make time to be the best boss you can be. Let’s try a little exercise in deductive reasoning: you can’t be a successful physician if you can’t adequately run your practice. You can’t run a practice without the best staff. The best staff are those individuals motivated by their employer to perform to the best of their abilities. They know their job titles and responsibilities well, and are made to feel like vital members of a winning team, whether they are new hires in their first month, or ten-year veterans.

Your staff are the extended voice and image of your practice, and, if you can stomach a marketing term, your brand. They will help sell your practice as the best, safest, and most compassionate place to receive treatment. Now, here are some ways to sell your practice as a dynamic, challenging, and supportive place to work.

A proper welcome

You only get one chance at this, and it’s very important. A welcome letter in the form of a personalized e-mail is a good way to begin, letting them know all the specifics of their start date. Try to slot some time with them on their first day, or have a veteran shadow them if this isn’t possible. Next, take a few days to help them get to know who they will sharing work-space with on a daily basis. This works two-fold—it will allow your new hire to learn the personalities at your practice, while giving your current staff the opportunity to warm up to their new peer. Your new hire will likely have a lot of questions in the early going, and this is normal. Everyone, including yourself, will be very busy, so make sure the rookie knows exactly whom to direct their questions to, whatever they may entail.

Make them a part of the team

Everyone contributes in their own way at a private practice. People may offer suggestions from time to time on how to make various processes smoother, and more practical. While it is important to listen to these suggestions, and to have your practice be an environment where everyone’s ideas are taken into consideration, it is also important for you make sure these are brought up respectfully and tactfully. This is becomes dually important when bringing on new workers. Coming in with a new perspective, they may question the efficacy of many things around the office. If voiced the wrong way, their opinions may come off as critical and disrespectful to veteran staff. This is something you cannot let happen. Make sure new hires understand the culture of where they will be working, and that, while their points of view are valued, changes are suggested and made democratically.

Early assessment

The first few weeks are obviously important for a new hire, but they are equally as important for you. Make it a point to watch their progress. You may learn certain personality traits early on that can either be a help, or a hindrance. You may find that a certain worker loves to be moving at all times, and thrives in certain high-pressure situations that would rattle many other people. You may also find that this same potential for productivity, this need for constant motion, may put them at odds with other workers. It is important to allow all workers be themselves, and utilize their strengths. It is also important to let them know that they must, in turn, allow their co-workers to do the same while being respectful of boundaries.

Let them know their value

While being accessible to staff and staying connected to new hires in the early going are important, they are only part of your job. If you want great workers to stay in your employ, you must make it a point to show them how directly their roles impact the roles others, and the practice as a whole. Some practices accomplish this by stationing new staff members in various different departments early on. This facilitates familiarity between workers, and allows them to draw the parallels between their efforts, yours, and those of co-workers.


Brian Torchin

| HCRC Staffing | |

– See more at: