If you’ve started a practice, or thought about doing so, you may have developed a checklist: office space, equipment, technology, insurance providers, product lines. And then comes the momentous task of staffing your office. Hiring and firing are two integral parts of both starting and running a practice. It can be extremely challenging to find the right people who will work well for the office culture you hope to develop and maintain. Hearing the trials and tribulations of others who have been through it can help you develop a more intentional and effective staffing plan. Take a look at advice from some of our seasoned dermatology authors.
“Employees are going to be the people you have the most contact with over your professional life. Having the opportunity to choose them, if you are in that position, is a huge benefit and one that must be approached with a serious and thorough process. If you do this, you will have a much happier practice in general and will likely be happier at home as a result. Choose wisely!”
Read more tips on hiring staff from Dr. Schlessinger:
Joel Schlessinger , MD, FAAD, FAACS
Cosmetic Surgeon President Emeritus American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery
President, LovelySkin.com Omaha, NE
Dr. Jennifer Baron shares some interesting insight as to why good staffing in a dermatology office in particular can be crucial to a successful practice. “Hiring a good staff is more than finding people who can function well as medical assistants, receptionists, billing coordinators, etc. Every employee in a small solo practice has a heightened responsibility of making a patient’s experience positive. Keeping in mind that patients only come to the dermatologist because they are anxious about a growth, suffering from a skin condition, or unhappy about their appearance, human nature dictates that every minute of that visit they will hold to unusually elevated scrutiny.”
Read more about what she wished she had known when starting a solo dermatology practice.
Jennifer Baron , MD, FAAD, FACMS
San Jose, CA
A couple of hiring pearls from Dr. S. Tyler Hollmig:
“Highlight the positive aspects of your practice culture during the interview in order to begin to cultivate the prospective applicant’s investment into your team’s practice values before he or she even starts.”
“It is also important to remember you are trying to match an applicant to a specific type of job; make sure you understand the skills or personality best suited to the position and compare these with those demonstrated by the job candidate…..if you are looking for someone to help ensure patients have as good an experience as possible while in your office, strive to find someone whose personality exudes compassion. One of the best nurses I have ever come across in surgical dermatology had a background as a preschool teacher before becoming a nurse—her skills managing two-year-olds translated beautifully into handling fussy patients and physicians alike!” Read more from Dr. Hollmig on Leading Culture Change and Building Your Team by Hiring Exceptional Employees.
S. Tyler Hollmig , MD
Medical University of South Carolina Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery
Assistant Professor and Director of Cosmetic Dermatology, Stanford
Scott Beals, DO suggests hiring a consultant to help with the process. His top three pieces of advice:
1. Hire the right people for your office, take your time doing so
2. A good office manager is the key to a well run office
3. Make sure the person you hire fits with your practice style
Scott Beals , DO
Dermatology Surgery Center-Crestview
Firing is never easy but it can lead to more positive change down the road. Dr. Doris Day shares a personal experience with how firing when necessary can make all the difference in the office culture. Also read the 5 practices she implemented to make the hiring process in her office more positive and fruitful. I Wish I Had Known: Being a Doctor is the Easy Part.
Doris Day, MD
Day Dermatology & Aesthetics
New York, NY
Dr. Eliot Battle also provides advice on firing. “We hire very, very wonderful people who have been with me a very long time. We get rid of bad apples so fast that you don’t even smell a bad apple. It’s amazing how a bad apple can change your practice—we all know them. I had a bad apple as a director and they were detrimental to my success and I knew it. It’s hard though, but we’re all in this together.”
Eliot F. Battle Jr., MD
CEO & Founder Cultura Cosmetic Dermatology & Laser Center Washington, DC