person holding a medical prescription

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When it comes to the medical field, it’s not exactly human-centered. Well, specifically, it’s not mentally human-centered; of course, physically, it is. For decades now, the medical field has been known for overworking its employees; it’s common to have doctors, even nurses, doing double shifts, it’s common to make them stay on campus for more than 24 hours, and there’s even hospital that has bunkbeds for their staff. Sometimes, employees have to skip out on lunch breaks or general breaks as there’s just too much work that has to be done. 

Now, this is all far from ideal. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of attention on this; it was getting on the news, going viral on social media, and there were plenty of strikes too. But not much has changed. 

In fact, a lot of doctors from various focuses have stopped working for large corporations, hospitals included, due to the sheer lack of work-life balance, and you’ll see more private practices pop up. Burnout is high in the medical field, and with private practices, the whole point is to have more balance so you know you’re not being overworked. 

But with that overworking culture starting in medical school, it’s easy to be swept into this high pressure, even in your own private practice. So, what can you do to make your private medical practice into a supportive workplace? Well, here’s what exactly you can do! 

Foster Open Communication

You have to keep in mind that true collaboration starts with open communication. A workplace where everyone, from the receptionist to the senior doctor, feels comfortable sharing their thoughts can transform the typical day-to-day operations into a more dynamic and inclusive environment. 

While a degree of hierarchy is okay, you also have to keep in mind that there still needs to be some equality, equality where your staff knows it’s okay to be open and transparent about their feelings. On top of that, it might also help to look into implementing regular check-ins, creating an anonymous feedback system, and encouraging informal catch-ups over coffee, which can make all the difference. It’s about building trust and ensuring every voice is heard.

Is There Inclusivity?

You may or may not be surprised to know that the lack of inclusivity is rampant in the medical field. A lot of medical corporations are known to discriminate, and it’s usually in the name of greed and productivity. Now, they’re packed with hundreds of lawyers, and if you’re not inclusive to your staff, you can expect a disability discrimination lawyer to be on yout case. 

So, in order to have a supportive workplace, you need to take a more human-centered approach. Your staff is human. They may have health issues sometimes, they may have them all the time, and they may have children. Realistically, you can’t expect your staff to dedicate their lives to their jobs or your business. You have to be inclusive in all ways, shapes, and forms. 

Put Work-Life Balance First

What’s the reason why you started a private practice or decided to work for one? It’s because you wanted more work-life balance than massive medical corporations don’t give, right? Well, think about your staff too; there’s a reason they’re choosing a private practice to work in rather than a corporation- just like you. 

So, acknowledging this, it’s vital for practices to champion work-life balance. This could mean offering flexible working hours, ensuring staff can truly disconnect after hours, and actively encouraging them to take their full annual leave. When staff members have time to recharge, they bring their best selves to work.

Encourage Professional Growth

Everyone has ambitions, and fostering those aspirations can lead to a more motivated workforce. Supporting staff through continued education opportunities, access to seminars, and specialty training can propel both their careers and your practice forward. It’s about investing in their future and showing that the practice cares about their personal and professional development.

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Support Comprehensive Wellness

Looking after the physical and mental well-being of staff is just as important as caring for patients. This is what a lot of practices get wrong! Again, they’re humans, too. This is why it might be incredibly helpful to look into developing a thoughtful wellness program that includes mental health support, fitness benefits, and wellness days off that can help maintain a healthy team. Encouraging regular health screenings and providing resources for mental health can underline the practice’s commitment to its staff’s overall health.

Implement Team-Building Activities

Even if you have a small team of staff, this is still going to be a good idea! Just think of what other businesses do: It’s not to burn money, but it’s to improve the team. With that said, regular team-building activities can strengthen relationships and improve collaboration among staff members. 

Whether it’s a group outing, a team lunch, or problem-solving exercises, these activities help break down barriers and encourage a sense of community and belonging. It’s not just about having fun together; it’s about creating bonds that enhance teamwork and understanding back in the workplace.

Recognize Their Efforts

It’s nice when someone recognizes how hard you’re working, right? A lot of larger medical practices, including hospitals, don’t do that. It’s more of a “well, you’re supposed to,” and that alone can really cause burnout to soar. So, recognize that you see the sheer amount of work your staff is doing. 

So, your practice can create an environment of appreciation by implementing employee recognition programs that highlight outstanding contributions, whether through ‘Employee of the Month’ awards, celebratory announcements, or even small tokens of appreciation like gift cards. On top of that, regular praise and recognition can boost morale and motivate the team to maintain high standards of care.

Offer Support for Personal Needs

So, this one goes back to what was said earlier. Your staff has a life outside of work, and that means that sometimes, there will be personal needs. You should consider offering more than just flexible scheduling; you could also provide support for personal needs such as child care, elder care, or even mental health days. So why do this? Well, this approach demonstrates an understanding of the various pressures employees face outside of work, helping them to perform better when they are at work.

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