Desired Qualities When Staffing Positions At Your Practice

Written by on April 30, 2013 in Practice tips - No comments
YingYangWEB“May I See Your List of Ingredients Please?”

When searching for a new employee, wouldn’t it just be great if we could record the interview?  It seems that anyone can be on their best behavior for the interview and their first 90 days of employment, but then on that ninety-first day, their true nature suddenly starts to surface.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could invite them into your office, offer them some popcorn, hit the lights and the replay button, and together watch their initial interview.  That would be the ideal time to ask where the “good twin” was, the one who interviewed for the position three months previously.

Imagine what it would be like if before you began an interview, you could ask for their list of “ingredients”.

Some desired ingredients for a medical practice front office position would be:

  • Compassion
  • Positive Attitude
  • Knowledge
  • Credibility
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Dependability
  • Accountability

There have been times I have given my business card to a waitress or a salesperson that displayed these qualities and had a great attitude along with a smile.   In my opinion, you can hire someone with a terrific attitude and then teach them the necessary skills.  It is challenging, and sometimes impossible, to teach a “positive attitude” to someone who does not have it in their core list of ingredients.

I’ll never forget the day when a young lady walked into my office for an interview, shook my hand and took the seat across from my desk.  She proceeded to open a ‘Happy Meal’ and said, “I hope you don’t mind my eating lunch while we talk, I’m on my lunch hour.”  Of course I said, “No mam, I don’t mind at all.”   Had she offered me some fries…..or the toy, she may have had a better chance at the job.

During my 34 + year career in health care, in addition to being an Undercover Patient, I have met numerous “characters” in medical practices to which I have given nicknames.  I’ll share a few here starting with the less desirable characters:

“Ima Gossip” ­- works so hard at stirring the gossip, anything negative that she can think of, she will keep it going…all while on your clock!

 “Shirley Knott” ­- will ‘surely not’ assist in another department because it is ‘surely not’ listed on her job description.

“Anita B. Wright” ­- is always right!  She knows what you are going to say before you say it.  She even finishes your sentences for you.  She is always right, just ask her!

“Chip Monk” ­– loves to eat at the front desk. One “Chip” I knew was finishing his breakfast at the front desk as a new patient checked in. Handing her paperwork over, both noticed the crumbs along the counter.  “Chip” brushed them from the counter with her paperwork and said, “I’m sorry, that’s just a few crumbs from my breakfast”, while he finished stuffing the rest of his breakfast snack in his mouth.

A positive character is:

“Earl E. Byrd”­– He is always early.  If there is a report you need ASAP, you can count on “Mr. Earl E. Byrd” to have it to you in plenty of time.

A facility can have the most competent and compassionate physicians yet with sub-standard employees, their expertise and professionalism will be lost.   Your staff sets the stage each and every day for a live audience. It has been my experience that when you hire someone with a positive attitude, they are eager to learn the necessary skills for the job.  Always make sure that every health care professional gets the proper training, knows what is expected of them and what they will be held accountable to accomplish.

While serving on the steering committee for a medical malpractice insurance company, I learned that statistics have proven patients are far less likely to sue when they have a good rapport with the staff and / or their physician.

Physicians and other health care professionals have the ability to create a most positive environment for their patients at no cost. The main ingredient should begin with compassion followed by a willingness to serve, making a positive difference each and every day.

Shine On!

 By Denise Price Thomas

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