Hiring your First Employee

Female doctor portrait.You started a practice, perhaps following one of the “Ideal Medical Practice” models where you and you alone are the sole “employee”. You schedule the appointments (or allow your patients to schedule themselves online). You room your patients, order (and perhaps draw) your own labs, send the referrals and obtain the prior authorizations. Perhaps you even do your own billing (or you outsource it).

However, you’ve now reached the point where you need to bring on someone who can help you out with the patient flow, answer the phones, assisting with cleaning up at the end of the day and maybe take care of the labs and prior authorizations.

So now what? How do you hire your first employee?

Before you write the advertisement looking for your ideal assistant for your ideal practice, you need to do a bit of preparatory work (including research) to make hiring your first employee as easy and painless as possible:

·      Start by writing a list of all the things you want this person to do?

·      Consider the attributes that are important to you and your patients?

·      What sort of education, credentials and experience do you want this individual to possess?

·      What sort of salary are employers in your locale paying for such an individual?

·      What types of benefits are standard?

·      You’ll want to research the taxes (federal, state and local) and other associated fees (i.e., workers comps) that are associated with employment.

·      How many hours per week do you need this individual to work?

·      What licenses will this individual be required to have in order to do the work?

·      And what equipment will you need to purchase or have on hand for this individual in order for them to get  their work done?

Once the research is done, you’ll need to write a job description.  Additionally you’ll want to make sure that you have an employee handbook and written policy and procedures for employees.

As you can tell, there is a lot to consider and put into place in advance of putting that ad out in the local paper or on Craig’s List.

Of course this is a short list of items you’ll need to consider, but it should help you get started.

Feel free to add you tips to hiring great staff,  or share your greatest challenges regarding staffing.


Barbara C. Phillips, NP, FAANP is a professional speaker, author, clinician and business owner who provides business education, resources and support to Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and other Advance Practice Clinicians — both for the employed and self-employed clinician. Additional information about Ms. Phillips is available at www.BarbaraCPhillips.com.

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