Atentive to Detale

One of the biggest challenges of running a medical practice is hiring and managing employees. In the last twenty years, I have hired (unintentionally) a methadone addict, an embezzler, multiple dingbats, two dyslexics (not an asset when their job was filing), and a receptionist who insisted she had to clock in at seven each morning to get "caught up" on work, but unbeknownst to me, really spent a full hour knitting. (She would then demand we pay her time-and-a-half for her "overtime.") Some "lemons" I spotted immediately from their resume. Here are examples of statements written by prospective employees on their resume or cover letter:

"I would make you a grate medical secretery because I am atentive to detale."

"Even though I have never drawn blood or administered shots, I could learn this on the job." (Wouldn't that be popular with my patients!)

"While I've only worked in fast-food, I watch ER regularly, so I know a lot about the medical field."

"My last ten bosses were sorry to see me leave." (And after four months, I'd no doubt be number eleven.)

"I am, hands-down, the most qualified applicant to apply for this job." (She'd read all the other resumes?")

"I am highly skilled and comfortable with computers." (Interpretation: she'll spend all day on Facebook.)

"I am outgoing and everyone comments on my friendliness." (Interpretation: She'll spend all day jabbering with co-workers instead of getting her work done.")

"After my one-month stay in the Psychiatric ward, I now feel up to working again."

"I am independently wealthy and don't need to work. I choose to work because I LOVE medical billing." (Right! Do I look stupid?)  I didn't fall for her lies and thank God I didn't! It turns out, she was "independently wealthy" because she had embezzled a half-million dollars over five years from the last group of doctors she worked for. (No wonder she loved her job!)

Then there was the applicant who answered her cell phone three times during her interview with me. . . and that didn't include her text messages.

Three months after we fired one incompetent employee, we got a call from her husband informing us, "Michelle won't be in for work today. She's in the hospital with a suspected stroke." When we informed him she'd been fired three months earlier, we found out she'd never told her husband this and had even gone to great lengths to deceive him. Each morning she'd dress professionally, give her husband a kiss and supposedly drive to our office. She'd even call him in the lunch hour to talk about how her day was going! Unfortunately, her incompetence (the reason we'd fired her) was due to an Oxycontin addiction and the "stroke" that caused slurred speech and stumbling gait was due to her over-indulgence of Oxycontin.

How about the applicant who showed up for an interview with see-through white pants and a black thong?

One medical assistant thought all my patients were sopranos for the Nashville Opera company--when they came in sick, she'd record in their medical record they had a "soar" throat.

Then there was the receptionist who nearly destroyed my medical partner's brand new practice. We couldn't figure out why her practice wasn't growing until I overheard the following phone conversation between the new receptionist and a patient:

Patient: "I'd like to schedule an appointment with Dr. So-and-So."

Receptionist: "When would you like to come in?"

Patient: "What days and times are available?"

Receptionist: "Oh, pick a day, pick a time. Any day, any time."

A long pause. "Doesn't she have any patients?"

"Not many. Maybe six," she'd said, cradled the phone with her neck while she buffed her nails.

The patient, now worried, responded, "Six patients? Is there something WRONG with this doctor? I mean, she is competent, isn't she?"

Instead of explaining that Dr. So-and-So had only been in practice a couple weeks but was otherwise an excellent internist and would have lots of extra time to address all the patient's concerns, the receptionist snapped, "How should I know? I just work here."

Slam! The patient hung up without scheduling an appointment. No wonder my medical partner wasn't scheduling patients!

Luckily, I am currently blessed with a wonderful staff who are like family to me. After the parade of deadbeats I've tolerated over the years, I appreciate their diligence and loyalty more than you can possibly imagine.