Let’s start off with the fact that this article is not a “hit” on the staff OR the practice owner!! Staff often legitimately say, “It’s not my job.” And often the boss feels like, “Why do I have to be the one to make all these decisions and pick up the loose ends?” It’s just the subject of lots of debate in many practices and results, occasionally, in functions being forgotten, refused or not addressed at all.
For starters, in most practices it is often thought that the duties and actions needed to run the place are divided between the doctor and the staff members. In actual fact, this is not 100% accurate.
There are many more facets to consider:
The doctor has TWO hats (sets of functions and duties): the actual doctor hat which is the provider of service to the patients, and the owner/boss/executive/chief bottle washer hat. You already are familiar with the doctor role, but the executive role has a lot more functions than most suppose.
For the Owner:
Who sets the policy for the practice to give exact guidelines of how things are to function for the staff or do they get to set their own randomly? Who does the planning for the future of the practice and its growth and direction? Who hires and runs the bookkeeper, accountant and lawyer and gives them directions? Who gives the Office Manager authorization to hire staff, and who gives the O/M weekly and monthly directions? Who decides on the bonus system? Who gets the employment contracts made? And so on.
For the Staff:
For the staff part of the team, there are the technical staff who are delivering service as well as the admin staff who all play incredibly important parts in the delivery of perfect service to every patient or client. Job descriptions and protocols and policy for the practice give staff a feeling of comfort as they know exactly what is expected of them and how to handle situations.
Beyond the Job Description:
Additionally, each staff member will find themselves called upon in the name of ideal care to every patient to handle something that is outside their scope of their specific job. This is because there is a team member hat (duties and functions) that is above their job description and in fact, should be written into every job description: “And any other duty or action that will aid in the overall high quality delivery of the practice.” Or, “…and other duties as assigned.
Helping new staff get grooved in is one of the best reasons for job descriptions and policy manuals etc. Be sure you have them and use them! They are the guidelines for success in any practice.