I have been in solo practice for 15 years. I am proud that four of my seven staff members have been with me for more than 12 years and the others for more than two. I have worked hard to make my office environment conducive for my employees and make them want to stay. By creating a family atmosphere in the office and listening to my staff, we have created a welcoming environment. New employees acclimate well and my patients can see the workings of the office and respect the efficiencies that a good staff creates. It’s a thrill telling my new patients that my staff has been with me for many years.
From my staff’s point of view, they say they enjoy the working environment because of the consistency I create in my patient care. By following guidelines and creating protocols that we all follow, it makes it easy for my staff to know what I would want and even make decisions for me when I’m not there. I also support my staff by standing by them with my patients and not contradicting or questioning them in front of patients.
Even when a mistake is made I show my staff support and explain the situation to the patient. This way they have trust in me and how I handle situations. One of my nurses recently took a second job with another local physician and came back to tell me how she took the consistency in our office for granted and how it made her job enjoyable — her comment was that I “spoil my staff.”
I have tried hard to give raises every year if possible and also reward my part-time staff with paid days off, holiday pay and the flexibility to take time off and cover for each other. I do feel having part time staff can be a benefit — not only for the financial advantage, but the option of having coverage when others are out. By paying slightly higher salaries and offering some benefits, I can attract and keep better qualified staff who will stay and prevent turnover that costs a lot more than the small raises every year.
I am always trying to make changes to the workflow in the office to make everyone’s job easier. By listening to patient and staff suggestions, my practice continues to evolve and change and stay ahead of the trends in technology and practice management and by getting staff to buy in they are willing to learn new methods and make the practice better.