• Dealing with Doctors

    Earlier this year, I wrote an article providing my top 8 tips on being a great practice manager in the clinic (hyperlink: https://thelifeofapracticemanager.com.au/top-8-management-tips-for-practice-managers/) where I covered leadership, work-life balance, team building and other important facets of the important role you have.

    And just like our fellow staff members, our doctors are vital people in the workplace (obviously!) and whilst we are aware of how to manage staff, we must also know how to deal with our fabulous GPs.

    This is by no means an article on ‘how to deal with your incompetent/bad boss’. This is about how best we can stay professional in trying times and what we need to do to make sure our approach to the working environment is at an optimum. Here are my tips just for you!

    Build the Trust

    We’ve all done it before…at one point or another, we’ve bitched or whinged about our doctors, or bosses. But now as practice managers, we have a responsibility to lead by example and simply stop the negative talk. We are there to help our GPs run the clinic as smoothly as possible, and work together alongside them to build a trusting relationship. A practice manager who doesn’t get along with their GPs is a disaster waiting to happen; they rely on us to get all the financials right, have the proper paperwork for every scenario, keep the technology up and running, and see that both patients and staff are comfortable, welcomed and seen to.

    When you allow your physician to focus on their patients, and their patients only, the trust between you will flourish – this will benefit all sides!

    Remember Your Role

    As mentioned earlier, don’t forget your role as the practice manager and what that entails so that your GP stays focused on his or her patients. You’re needed to run the medical practice and most importantly, stay positive and honest – the relationship between you and your GP is what transforms your clinic from good to great. Patients and staff alike will feel more comfortable walking in knowing that the growth and trust between practice manager and GP is respected and trusted.

    Be Transparent

    One of the most important factors when establishing a good relationship with your GP is transparency, which will certainly have positive significance for your long term goals within the clinic. Don’t be afraid to show them how all the computer systems and software work, how you operate with to-do-lists and scheduling, how the MBS works – essentially, be open and transparent with your practice management operations so they know you have everything under control.

    Put Yourself In Their Shoes

    Our GPs use empathy and understanding to retain patients; it’s only natural that we do the same when it comes to working with them. If you expect them to understand your workload and how you operate, then the opposite should also be taken into account. You can assist by making their life that much easier by organising their planners, being positive around them, and guiding them around the systems.

    It’s a little known observation that GPs are just as susceptible to burnout and depression as other workers, so showing them the importance of work/life balance is high on the agenda. Encourage them to operate on a flexible schedule and automate some of their tasks to help free up valuable time. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would love to be helped.

    Get To Know Them

    Productive, respectful relationships between a practice manager and a GP is key to any medical clinic’s success, and it can certainly improve everyone’s morale. So…get to know your GP!

    Yes, your GP may be busy, but as a practice manager you should take the initiative to meet with them one-on-one at least once a week or once a month, whatever works best for you both. Use the time to discuss any and all projects, to present ideas and initiatives, and to check-in to make sure you’re both on the same page with future goals for the clinic.

    Remember, your GP is human too. They may come to the practice with their game face on, ready to tackle head-on all the day’s trials and triumphs, but asking them how they are or what they did over the weekend is about communicating on a more personal level so that you can get to know them. A quick tip though – keep conversational topics light. Don’t go fishing for information, use a happy hour to gossip about staff members or talk about private relationships.

    Look After Your GPs

    Instead of constantly looking for what your GP can do for you, think about how you can make their job easier. Practice managers who consistently make an effort towards what would be good for the clinic are the people who are favoured and respected.

    Being someone your GP can rely on goes a long way. Trust is an important factor, and being able to relieve them of some of his or her duties will allow them to develop that confidence in and reliance on you as a practice manager.


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