5 Things to Consider When a Surgeon Leaves Your Practice

High turnover is detrimental to your practice and learning that a surgeon wants to leave your practice will only cause you added stress and decreased morale. Recruiting for a surgeon, who is an integral part of your healthcare team, can be an overwhelming task. Depending on your practices’ size, and without a designated recruiter on board, you may find yourself struggling to find a replacement. When a surgeon is looking to leave your practice there are steps you need to take in order to better understand why the surgeon is leaving. Here are five tips you can use as a guide:

Conduct an exit interview: As an employer you conduct initial interviews when hiring a candidate as well as annual or bi-annual reviews after the employee has been hired. However, an extensive exit interview is essential and can be important in your practice’s success. The reason for conducting exit interviews is to get feedback position the surgeon held, the work environment, and the organization. A surgeon will almost always offer some reason for leaving upfront to avoid further discussion. Some reasons may be negotiable like wanting an increased salary, but only consider it if your budget allows it and if the employee is well worth it. Other reasons may highlight changes that need to be made in the practice like a negative work culture or decreased workflow to name a few. Evaluating these reasons can help spot problem areas you may need to work on. But it is your main task as the employer to avoid making the employee feel defensive and inadequate. You should ask questions that open a dialogue; concentrate on the practice as a whole rather than the employee. For example do not ask questions like, “What do you think is wrong with the position you held?” or “Why weren’t you able to handle the responsibilities of the position?” Instead, ask the following questions, “How can we make this job more rewarding for the next employee that we bring on board to work with us?” It is essential to ask for the employee’s assistance in critiquing his or her job description and the tasks required for the position. During the exit interview ask the surgeon what he or she thinks is the practice’s greatest strengths and weaknesses are. You may ask questions similar to this when conducting a reference check on an employee so make sure you hold yourself to the same standards. These questions may give you insight into changes that need to be made in order to operate as a successful practice.

Ask your staff for feedback: It is important not only to ask the departing surgeon but also the remaining staff at your practice for their feedback regarding job responsibilities. Ask your employees what skills and experience is needed for a new surgeon to be successful. Feedback helps improve job performance while promoting professional and personal development in employees. Providing feedback can improve employee morale and decrease confusion regarding expectations and present performance. Think of feedback as guidance that will assist you in allowing your employees and future employees to learn as well as to improve the quality of his or her work. Having weekly meetings with your staff will also help get a feel about the practice’s culture and then you can see what candidates will fit best in your practice. Furthermore, ask your staff what they value most about working at your practice; you can use this information when interviewing new candidates. Potential surgeons will sell themselves to you on what your practice is gaining by hiring them; conversely, you must be able to make a surgeon want to work for your practice.

Create a new job description: If a surgeon has been working with you for a long period of time most likely the surgeon’s job description is outdated regarding experience, skills and certifications. Healthcare is ever-changing and the requirements for physicians and surgeons change periodically. Refer to the other surgeons at your practice to get clearly defined job requirements and responsibilities to help you with your search for a new surgeon. Creating a new job description will help you articulate the most important qualities you need from a candidate. The job description is a communication tool allowing the candidate to know the role and responsibilities of the job. Also, it is important provide accurate information on the following: work schedules, compensation structure, benefits, vacation time, CME allowance, etc., as well as information regarding an opportunity for partnership for the candidates that you will be interviewing in the near future.

Create a new compensation structure: Surgeons don’t generally stay at the same salary for years on end; they expect raises and monetary rewards for a job well-done. Analyze the surgeons’ salaries and job performance yearly. You may find that some surgeons are bringing in a lot of money for your practice while others are not. Do some research and make sure the compensation you are offering is competitive in the present job market. You can use resources to help guide you in figuring out a reasonable salary such as the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Medical Group Association (AMGA). With these organizations you can select geographic locations, specialty, and years of experience to assist you in having more knowledge about the standard compensation levels in your area. It is important to stay competitive with compensation to attract the greatest talent to your practice.

Create a search plan: Now that you have created a new job description and have a competitive salary in place the next step is finding candidates to interview. A qualified healthcare recruitment company can help set up interviews and conduct job searches. Recruitment is time consuming and if you or your employees conduct the search you are most likely taking people away from their responsibilities to focus on sifting through resumes and scheduling interviews. It can be very costly to advertise on job boards as well. When hiring a recruiting agency keep a timeline that will help you stay on track of your staffing needs. Recruiting agencies such as SpineSearch are professionals in the healthcare staffing field. Recruitment agencies are able to commit 100% of their workday to advertise and recruit. They are able to identify the utmost qualified surgeons and find one who will best fit your practice. They handle all of the advertising and conduct reference and background checks allowing you additional time to focus on the day to day operations of your practice.