All posts by Nicola Hawkinson, DNP, RN, RNFA

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How to Resign the Right Way

Resigning from a medcal job can be stressful and uncomfortable depending on the type of situation you find yourself in. Sometimes a certain medical position just isn’t the right fit anymore or, maybe you’ve found a position elsewhere that is more beneficial towards your career goals. No matter what the case is, you want to leave your current position the right way, without burning bridges or creating hostility.

Be prepared when you are looking to leave your current medical job. Go over documents you signed when you took the job you are leaving and make sure you did not sign a noncompete or nonsolicataion because you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your future employment plans. Whether you’ve had issues with a fellow employee or you feel like your job performance is being overlooked by your boss, the right way to handle resigning starts with your letter of resignation and conduct while you are employed. A letter of resignation is a concise way of telling your current employer you’ll be moving on to another opportunity. Resignation letters are not meant to be rambling diatribes about your discontent with your current employer. If anything they are to be unemotional and to the point. If you really need to tell your supervisor any grievances you have then this should be done face to face. Remember, your current job (Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Medical Assistant Medical Biller….) has trained or taught you things you can take to your next position so be polite and cooperative. Your current employer might have policies for resignations that might include an exit interview or some kind of protocol you need to follow; be flexible and handle things in a timely manner. Make sure you give your employer at least two weeks’ notice before your last day. Building a good rapport with a medical practice, hospital or ambulatory surgery center starts from the very first day and should continue until you leave because you never know if you’ll need a recommendation in the future and you want to keep the lines of communication open for your benefit.

For assistance looking for a new position in the healthcare field plese visit SpineSearch’s current jobs on our curent Health Care Jobs page

Do You Know if Patients Think Your Medical Practice is Friendly?

Most patients can probably recall a time that they felt overlooked or treated in a rude manner by staff at a medical practice. Yes, medical and non-medical staff are very busy throughout the day, but this does not mean patients deserve to feel like they are an annoyance. After all, patients are coming to your practice in need or treatment or diagnosis and they deserved to feel welcomes and cared for.

A good way to get a jump start on creating a patient friendly atmosphere is putting yourself in your patients’ shoes. Take a look around the office, is the waiting room welcoming? A lot of patients often feel intimated when they walk into a waiting room that has tons of signs posted stating co-pays need to be paid at the time of service or about being late for an appointment. Your office has policies for a reason, but posting a bunch of signs may not do the trick. Calling patients to confirm their appointments 24 hours beforehand and reminding them in a polite way about co-payments will actually produce much better results. Sure, there will always be some people who cancel last minute or forget the co-pay, but having a system in place for dealing with minor inconveniences like these will reduce the stress of the staff. You may even consider an opt in text message notification policy like many practices are using today.

If you don’t know something is wrong you can’t fix it – Always make sure the Doctors, Practice Managers, Nurse Practitioners & Physician Assistants ask patients; How has your visit been? How easy was it to schedule your appointment? Are you happy with our practice?…. Patients who are asked for their input feel appreciated. One of the biggest ways to create a welcoming atmosphere starts with good practice management. If the staff feels appreciated, then the office will run happily and efficiently. Having a happy medical staff that is also on top of their game will reduce patient wait time and create a great atmosphere for you, your staff and most of all your patients’.

Evaluating Clinical and Non-clinical Staff

For a practice to run smoothly, evaluating staff regularly is very important. Sometimes, physicians are not sure how to go about evaluating their staff. A way to avoid the problem is to only hire employees that you know are qualified for the position, but after you hire an employee you must keep up with evaluations in order to make sure that your practice is operating at its optimal level. Evaluation helps provide documentation in cases where termination is necessary. It prevents unfairness in promoting, rewarding, and transferring staff to other positions. You must take into consideration professional qualities, personal qualities and develop a rating system that will apply to all employees. No matter what job responsibilities employees have they should be able to be evaluated on the same scale.

Depending on what their job duties are, rate employees in a way that is fair but you must also make sure that they are filling all aspects of their job description. Both clinical and non-clinical employees should understand that they are crucial to a practice operating smoothly. For instance, a non-clinical employee should not take their job less seriously because they are not a part of the clinical staff and vice versa. There shouldn’t be tension or resentment in the workplace. As an employer, your responsibility is to make it known that every employee in the practice has an important purpose. If you are playing favorites with the clinical or non-clinical staff then that will cause hostility and that’s something your practice cannot afford.

Evaluations of employees should come from the employer and the practice manager. Peers should not be responsible for evaluating other employees; you want to eliminate as much bias as possible. Peer review is generally not the best idea. As a boss, you have to look as who that employee works directly with; those are the opinions that matter. You should take the time to know every employee who is working for the practice. This may seem like a daunting task but in the long run you and your employees’ will be happier for it. Take an active role in the hiring process and schedule weekly meetings with staff, have a pre-evaluation, evaluation and a follow-up to make sure that employees needs have been met. Just using a few of these ideas will greatly improve your practice’s existing evaluation system or help you start an evaluation process in the future.

Creating a “TEAM” atmosphere in your medical practice

In order for a medical practice to run efficiently, members of the staff must work together to give the best patient care. A lot of the responsibility for a well-working practice will be up to the physician. If the physician puts in the effort to help make employees feel like they are working as a team, then employees will respond positively.

Just because employees share a common employer does not mean that they automatically become a team. As the employer you must create an atmosphere that values collaboration. If employees are shown that collaboration is a key part of making your practice run, then they will respond well to working with each other. This collaborative culture does not happen overnight. Employers must make a point to show employees that the whole practice is working together. Physicians and practice leaders should model teamwork in their interaction; this will help employees model the same behavior.

If two employees are not getting along then the employer needs to look at both employees as individuals with his/her own strengths and weaknesses. Examine their work process. In most cases employees disagree over how a task or process should be performed. One way of avoiding this conflict is to have weekly meetings where staff can share ideas or concerns. Employees need to have well-defined roles. When employees understand their role in the office they will work to their best abilities. Employees need to be reminded of the goals and mission of the practice. If employees are able to share ideas openly and honestly there may be less conflict in the future. You may also want to incorporate ice breakers into weekly meetings. Ice breakers may seem silly at first but they are effective in getting the whole staff to feel comfortable with one another. Limit these activities to no more than ten minutes. As much as you want the staff to feel comfortable, you also want to remind them how important professionalism is. Being a part of a professional medical staff is very important when it comes to patient care. When the team is able to come together, thinking, planning, decision making and actions are better when they are done cooperatively.

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Top Reasons Your Practice Should Utilize NP’s/ PA’s

Due to increase demand practices can benefit greatly by hiring a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. So, let’s start by eliminating some of the common misconceptions people have about using Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants.

In some cases, a patient may feel like an NP/ PA is not qualified to give the same care that a physician can give. This is not true. NP’s and PA’s go through extensive schooling and training in order to diagnose and treat patients. The main difference between them and a doctor is NP’s and PA’s work under a doctor’s supervision. This means that they can consult a doctor about a patient’s condition. The use of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants is rising and can help fix the needs that may be unmet by a physician. This does not mean the physician is slacking on their patient care, but a heavy patient load may be dividing the physician’s attention. There’s no better way to fix this problem by using other qualified medical professionals.

Nurse practitioners and Physician assistants can help reduce salary expenses because it costs significantly less to employ an NP or PA than it does to employ a physician. Patient wait time will also be lessened. With an NP or PA on staff, the patients will not have to sit as long in the waiting room for a busy physician. As patient flow increases, the office will run more efficiently. For patients that have questions about preventative strategies NP’s and PA’s are the perfect fit for helping teach patients about obesity, newborn care, hypertension, diabetes etc. Patient compliance will increase and this frees up the doctor to see more patients throughout the day.

NP’s and PA’s can act as an alternate for the physician. If a physician is unable to see a patient and sends in an NP or PA, they are qualified and credentialed to give the same quality of care you would get from a doctor. NP’s and PA’s are trained to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. They both have extensive clinical experience and practice under a variety of specialties. As a patient, you want the best care and NP’s and PA’s are fully qualified to provide that care.

A physician has the ability to train the Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant in the manner that best suits the needs for the practice. This will help patients who may not feel as comfortable seeing an NP or PA have reassurance of their capabilities. In conclusion, physicians can benefit a great deal from utilizing an NP or PA in their practice.

To take a look at any open phsyician assistant or nurse practitioner positions/job descriptions please click on the following link SpineSearch Positions

Management Tips for Physician Practice Owners

Practice management is the most significant aspect of a well-organized office. The recruiters at SpineSearch know how important it is for a practice to have great management in order to retain employees. This week we will focus on steps you need to take towards effective practice management.

In order to manage your practice well, you have to establish a well drafted manual of policies your employees will follow. Use probationary periods and have a formal hiring process. If you have a system for hiring, you are less likely to hire employees that will not meet the criteria you are looking for. These tasks may seem difficult but there are huge benefits in establishing an office that runs efficiently.

Set up a meeting for your staff and show both new and experienced employees the new policies. Make sure everyone is on board and understands why you are enforcing these policies. Your goal is to create an office environment that is both positive and structured. Your employees need to feel like they are being heard just as much as you need to feel like you are in charge.

Aim for a healthy sense of control; you know what your employees are up to and they feel like they can come to you with any issues or concerns they have about their jobs. Communication goes a long way in an office setting; you can retain employees better if you establish a good working relationship with them.

Practice management can feel like a daunting task, but if you start out with a clear set of standards before you hire your next employee you will see a huge improvement in the overall flow of your office.

Here are four steps to remember:

1) Empower and Inform: Practice owners should monitor employees in a constructive way.
2) Talk and Listen to People: Spend one-on-one time with employees. The more you know about your practice, the better it will function.
3) Let People Work at their Highest Purpose: Give positive reinforcement. Encourage your employees to take on more responsibilities at work.
4) Follow up and Be Consistent: Set specific goals and timelines, have weekly meetings to catch up with what everyone is working on.

Compensate for Talent with Effort: New Graduates

As a new grad you probably feel like you’re outnumbered by candidates who have experience. SpineSearch wants to help you see that making an effort for a new job will impress the employer you are interviewing with. Employers usually want people with some experience, but as a new grad you have your schooling, clinical rotations, and internships to fall back on. Don’t let the employer underestimate you.

Enthusiasm will be your biggest and best advantage over other applicants. You want to show the employer that you chose this profession for a reason—you love it. Showing that you care and how excited you are to work in this field will make an employer think twice before counting you out.
You want to be as prepared as possible for your interview; research the practice or hospital you are looking to apply to, what they specialize in, and if they are right for your line of work.

Sending a “Thank You” card or email (which is much more common these days) goes a long way when interviewing right out of college. The employer appreciates it and will set you apart from candidates who didn’t go the extra mile. The thank you can also act as a follow-up and remind the employer who you are and they will be much more likely to get back to you with a yes or no sooner rather than later.

Compensating for your lack of experience with effort will go much further than an experienced candidate who has become apathetic about the field. If you show up and want to be there, you will learn volumes and be ahead of the pack before you know it.

SpineSearch is Headed to St. Louis!

SpineSearch would like to extend the invitation to Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioner’s to join us on August 25th, in St. Louis, for Spine Specialty Day! Spine Specialty Day is an authoritative educational program that educates professionals about common spine conditions. The objective is to educate spine professionals with knowledge regarding spine anatomy, pathology, diagnoses and treatment options. It will be orthopedic/spine focused and there will be a sawbones demonstration within the event. This course has been accredited for 7 CME/CE credits. For more information check out our brochure, or contact us at 516-333-5050 about how to register.

Emotional Needs in the Workplace

Am I happy with my job? People ask themselves this all the time without putting too much stock into whether the answer is yes or no. However, if you are unhappy with your job this can affect job performance and overall self-esteem, and decrease your productivity at work. This week we’re focusing on how emotional needs have to be met in the workplace in order to create a positive work environment.

Emotional needs in the workplace are very important in contributing to an overall healthy work environment. If you feel like no one cares about you at work, then you are more likely not to work as hard or dread going to work.

Feeling like you belong at your job and with your coworkers goes a long way when furthering your career; motivation is everything. When you feel like you belong and that people understand and listen to you, you’re much more likely to be successful at work. Team building at work can help fulfill the sense of belonging and also relieve stress. When a person feels like they cannot turn to anyone at work they become unhappy in the workplace.

Being given more responsibilities at work helps create great self-worth. When your boss gives you more tasks and responsibility it shows how valuable you are to the team. You should always be looking for opportunities to grow within your field and gain more knowledge about your industry. It is important to gain recognition for a job well-done. If you do not get the credit for your hard work you will not feel valuable.
Happiness at work is an important factor for employees everywhere. Finding a field you love and wanting to further your career will give you lasting success. SpineSearch can help you find a job that makes you happy and successful!
Contact SpineSearch Today!

Support Your Spine Health

While many of us Spine Professionals spend our day helping others with back pain we thought this week we would offer some advice on how to care for your own back.

Taking care of your spine early on will promote spine health in the future. There are many ways to strengthen and preserve your spine so back pain will not overcome daily activities. Maintaining good posture no matter what activities you are doing will help keep your spine aligned. If you have good posture, you will be able to do other activities, like working out, without back pain.

Sleep can have negative effects on your spine health if done incorrectly. Everyone sleeps differently, but whether you are a back, side or stomach sleeper there are ways to improve. If you sleep on your back, you should sleep with a pillow underneath your knees and lower back. If you sleep on your side you should sleep with a pillow between your legs. Stomach sleepers have the most disadvantages because sleeping on your stomach is least fit way to improve spine health while you sleep, but if you are and avid stomach sleeper, you should snooze with a pillow under your stomach to help align your spine. The point is to keep your body in the straightest line possible even when you’re sleeping.

Exercising is great for your back health. Building muscle and improving your balance will help your spine stay aligned all on its own! Yoga is a great way to stretch your back muscles, improve posture, balance, and blood circulation. Have your doctor do a scoliosis check at yearly check-ups. Stretch when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed. All of these examples will help you promote your spine health in order to avoid chronic pain or surgeries in the future.