Lessons Learned in Staffing The Office

ma.jpgAs we continue to hunt for an MA to augment our staff, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons we have learned along the way.

  1. Age and maturity matters.
  2. Even though they bring you a beautifully produced resume, make them fill out an application by hand. Look at their handwriting and spelling.
  3. Give them a spelling test! I’m appalled at the poor writing skills and spelling that people have these days.
  4. Pay attention to “holes” in their work history, as well as the length of time at a job. If they tend to only work at a job for a few months…don’t expect it will change at your office.
  5. Give them a 90 day probationary period and use it.
  6. I’ve heard this often and I think there is lots of truth to it:  “Hire slow, fire fast”.
  7. Supply scenarios during the interview of common situations you see in your office to determine how they might respond.
  8. If they show up to the interview showing cleavage and naval piercing, they may not be the right MA for you.
  9. Ditto if they show up loaded or they are acting like they are in need of a fix.
  10. Which has led me to add UA’s to our hiring process.

Be picky when hiring. Your staff represents you and will help set the tone and efficiency of your office. Listen to your patients – their unsolicited feedback will tell you quite a bit about things you don’t see.

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  1. Also have them file papers or charts to see if they can alphabetize correctly. I still cannot get over the inability of grown adult women who can’t alphabetize to save their lives. They pull a chart in front of instead of the back when pulling a chart. The M’s go with the W’s and vice versa. And don’t ask them to file records! Every last person that has worked in my office has hated to file records and so we always have a ton of records not filed and when I see a patient the files I need are not there and I have to start calling medical records or ER or whoever and they are usually in the stack not filed. How frustrating especially since I go over every file before it gets filed and tell them what to do on each record. So if they looked at the files and then filed them, my orders would be carried out AND I would have what I need in the chart when the patient is in the room with me.
    Most don’t look very hard to find a chart. If its not in the first place they look, they make a new chart (I’m paying for the expense of that so why not?) and have the patient fill out all new paperwork. That aggravates the patients a lot and some have made patients fill out new charts every single time they came to the office because they were too lazy to look for the chart. I nipped that in the bud when I kept seeing new charts on patients like they would be new patients which I knew they weren’t.
    My latest catastrophe was a MA whose references checked out and she was a patient and I knew her fairly well. When I went to my daughters at Christmas, this girl had only worked 2 days and she called in a narcotic cough syrup at 4 different pharmacies for her boyfriend. The pharmacists knew I was out of state and called to check and sure enough the order was not sanctioned by our office. The girl and her boyfriend were both arrested and are still in jail today – the pharmacist called the police. So much for references!

    Nina Ravey

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