Healthcare practices can adopt certain behaviors from the military to help not only boost the morale of the office, but also create a more engaged working environment. Follow these eight habits for your practice to operate at the optimal level:
1. Be loyal.
Loyalty to the team starts at the top. Loyalty is about leading by example, providing your team unconditional support, and never throwing a team member under the bus. Member of your team will be loyal to your practice if they feel like they are being appreciated.
2. Put others before yourself.
Go to work every day with the intention to make your team better and offer help to those who need it. People who become overworked and overtired are not productive members of your team. The success of the practice should be a priority for all employees.
3. Be reflective.
Understanding what works for you and what doesn’t is often underappreciated in the workplace. You’re expected to do things according to the way of the practice and that’s fine, but you should reflect on how your behavior and adaptability affect your overall performance.
During the recruitment and hiring process there are a lot of protocols that should be followed. Hiring qualified candidates starts by creating the proper pool of applicants; only put the best resumes into your database. Knowing the difference between a good resume and a bad resume is sometimes harder than you may think.
Technology is a huge part of daily life as well as job hunting techniques. Candidates are now able to search for example resumes online and use other services to create resumes. We are no longer immune to false advertising on resumes. Yes, everyone wants their resume to stand out and look good, but your resume won’t be the one meeting deadlines and fulfilling job responsibilities; that’s up to you.
Some of the biggest red flags on resumes are: lapses in employment and short time at jobs. When a candidate has not worked in five to ten years that should be concerning. Why? Because healthcare changes all the time and if an employee is not up-to-date with the current changes it can be detrimental to business. Some candidates have reasons for why they have been out of the working world for so long, and if the reason is legitimate, schedule an interview and see if they can overcome their lack of job experience in the recent years. Only do this in cases where the candidate had the right experience before leaving the field, and a good track record of keeping previous jobs. Another red flag is short time spent at jobs. If you see that a candidate has steadily left previous jobs after a year or two than rethink taking them on as an employee. What will happen after a year working with you? Will they leave? You don’t want to have to constantly be worrying that the person you hired is going to pick up and leave.
Once a candidate has been selected for an interview, ask the right questions. If a person cannot give a straight answer about previous job responsibilities, then chances are they have lied about job responsibilities to look better on paper. Some red flags you just can’t confirm without meeting the candidate in person. You may feel like you have wasted your time but at least you are honing your skills for picking up on phony resumes. Paying to red flags will save you a lot of time in the long-run.
Healthcare workers are in high demand and this means healthcare organizations must create environments that encourage them to stay once they’re hired; easier said than done. Lack of advancement opportunities is one of the main reasons people working in healthcare leave jobs; recruiting and retaining healthcare workers depends on developing a nurturing environment where these professionals can thrive.
Most healthcare professionals are more likely to leave jobs when they are unhappy with the office culture or they feel like they can get more experience somewhere else. You have to create reasons for them to stay. Some options include, but are not limited to: In-house skills training, technology training, performance-based incentives and sign-on bonus. Healthcare workers value these programs because they encourage professional development and upward career mobility for all medical staff. The experience they get from your practice should be invaluable to them over the course of their career. You will attract more highly qualified candidates if you are offering employees more than just a paycheck.
Office environments are underrated by most professionals. Medical practices tend to assume that if people are leaving jobs it has more to do with that person than with the structure of the practice. Some people might leave because the job just isn’t what they expected, but other people will leave because of what you aren’t offering them. Medical assistants, nurse practitioners, physicians and receptionists won’t stay if you are unable to offer the kind of atmosphere that ensures a safe, healthy and productive work environment.
Since healthcare changes and evolves your education and training for members of the staff cannot be static. EMR systems will be subject to change especially as the technology advances as well as processes for billing and coding. These changes will affect the entire staff and how you recruit for new candidates. Concurrently, urgent care facilities are becoming more prominent and hospital employment is looking more favorable for physicians; because of this, private practices are having trouble with retention. Instead of scrambling to replace people, look into what you are currently doing and how to make it better. Happy employees don’t go searching for new jobs.
Once you’ve hired the staff for your medical practice you have to make sure that they are engaged in their jobs and day to day responsibilities. Some practices do not take the time to check in with employees and make sure they are interested and staying on task throughout the day. Every employee should feel like they are a valuable member of your team
The practice will be busy throughout the day leaving very little down time for employees so they need clearly defined roles from the onset of employment. Job responsibilities break down into two groups: clinical and non-clinical. Clinical staff should have a set of policies in place for them to follow and non-clinical staff should have their own set of policies as well. The office should run smoothly on a day to day basis. One of the best ways to engage employees is to ask key questions during the interview process to make sure they are going to be a good fit for the practice. The better you know your own practice, the better you will be at marketing it to prospective employees. Provide training for new employees to give them the skills they need to excel and increase value to the practice. Training for employees is highly appreciated and will give them a probationary period where they know they are learning the ins and outs of the practice.
During the interview process you can get a better feel for the type of employees you will be hiring by asking specific questions. Ask them about their accomplishments in their previous positions and the amount of time it took them to complete tasks. You should see if they prefer jobs where they were given a lot of responsibilities or more highly structured positions with more supervision. Employees who are engaged have greater commitment to the practice and they go above and beyond their basic job descriptions. Having weekly staff meetings will increase office morale and keep employees interested in their jobs.
Think of staff meetings as an investment; you want to keep your staff informed about what is going on in each department. Set up an agenda for the meeting in advance so everyone knows what topics you will be covering. Including them when it comes to decisions for the practice is another way to keep staff engaged. Maybe you’re thinking about switching to a new EMR system or about creating a practice website, discuss this with your staff so they can give feedback. Don’t just listen to their feedback; utilize it to better the practice. Be consistent with your communication; employees want to know that if a problem arises you will be able to take care of it in a timely and professional manner.
Keeping employees engaged starts with the hiring process and marketing your practice to the right people. Communicating effectively with clinical and non-clinical staff, scheduling regular team meetings are simple ways to make the office run more efficiently and give every member of your staff the opportunity to be successful.
For many medical practices retaining patients is an unspoken challenge. Of course there are always going to be patients and physicians to treat them but during a time of change in healthcare it is increasingly difficult to retain patients. There are six simple ways to help keep your practice on track:
Marketing your practice the correct way will help increase patient retention. A lot of practices still don’t utilize the technology that is available and this can negatively impact their practice. Contacting patients through Email, making them aware of the services your practice offers, is one way to stay in touch with patients. Your online presence plays a huge role in how accessible you are to patients. Creating a website and keeping it updated regularly will also be in your best interest.
Proper Scheduling /Wait-time
When the office gets busy, sometimes appointments can get backed up. Many patients have busy schedules as well and you don’t want to keep them waiting around. Be realistic about how long it will take the physician to see the patient and schedule accordingly. Patient wait-time can negatively impact your practice and cause you to lose patients. The more organized the office is at the start of the appointment (check-in) the less confusion and idle time there will be.
Schedule a time in the day for the physician to follow-up with patients. Regularly notify patients of upcoming appointments either by email or telephone. Not only will patients feel like a priority but the practice will operate more smoothly if you can plan ahead for canceled appointments or changes.
The amount of time the physician is spending with patients matters. A physician can be outside of the room looking at the patient’s chart for 15-20 minutes and then go into the room and speak to them for 5 minutes. A patient is not seeing the amount of time the physician spent on his/her case and that can be discouraging to the patient. The physician should spend more time with the patient; going over the chart and plan for care with the patient in the room will be beneficial to you and the patient.
Patients value how telephone communications are handled by the practice. Have a protocol for answering and transferring phone calls; the last thing you need is a patient complaining about rude front desk receptionists. You don’t want there to be communication gaps; make sure the staff notifies the physician of important calls as they come in.
Sometimes patients may have questions or concerns that come up after their appointment and this is expected, but planning ahead is essential. Be prepared. Make sure the office has pamphlets and other material that will be useful to patients and answers common questions about care and treatment. Try to answer as many questions before the patient leaves the office so the receptionists won’t be fielding questions to the physician all day, which takes up a lot of time.
Retaining patients should be a top priority and ensuring you are able to create good relationships with patients depends on how well the practice functions on a daily basis. Making small changes that enhance patient experience and organization will have long-lasting effects.
If you’re looking to hire an NP or PA the benefits can have a great impact on your practice. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates that the U.S. will face a physician shortage of over 90,000 physicians by 2020. Due to this fact NPPs are becoming increasingly important to primary care and overall patient satisfaction.
Patient satisfaction is the most important aspect of your medical practice.
In some cases, Physicians might be concerned that an Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant won’t garner the same respect as an MD, but this has proven not to be the case in many instances. Studies have shown NP/PAs score equally with physicians in terms of patient satisfaction. The Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research found that patient satisfaction levels based upon interpersonal care, confidence in the provider and understanding of patient problems ranged between 89 and 96 percent for PAs. Nurse Practioners & Physician Assistants handle many types of office visits that a physician may be too busy to do, including: preventative care services, diagnose conditions, evaluations and therapeutic plans. If NP/PAs take time to establish relationships with their patients, they can build a positive rapport that will increase satisfaction, accessibility, and productivity. Hiring NPs and PAs are not only a financial benefit, due to the decreased salary expenses, but they also ensure that your medical practice will run more efficiently. If your practice is running more smoothly, then patients will be happy with their quality of care making Nurse Practitioners / Physician Assistants an invaluable benefit to your practice.
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’.
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.
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
A cover letter is just as important as your resume. As a candidate, you are introducing yourself to the employer and letting them know why you should be considered for the position. This week we are focusing on how to write a great cover letter that will impress any employer.
First, you must evaluate what you should write in your cover letter. A cover letter is not the same as your resume; it gives the employer the opportunity to understand how your previous work and education have made you the right fit for their job. A cover letter does not need to be lengthy, but it must be clear and concise. Here are some steps to remember when writing your cover letter:
1) Express your understanding of the field and how your previous schooling and employment have prepared you for this position.
2) Explain why you are interested in this employer and your reason for desiring work in the healthcare field.
3) Give relevant school work and experience as an example, but don’t reiterate your entire resume.
4) Proofread your cover letter. Proofreading a cover letter is just as important as proofreading a resume. Check for grammatical and spelling errors.
Remember, a great cover letter and resume will help you get the job of your dreams!