When It’s Time To Terminate A Staff Member’s Employment

Physicians have the daunting task of not only to be exemplary in their field but they also have to run a business at the same time. One of the worst things they have to encounter is having to let someone go within their staff. Sometimes they hang on year after year and sometimes it is due to the physician not being able to get up the nerve to let them go. But there are four reasons why they should.

1. Patients deserve better

2. Co-workers deserve better

3. The practice deserves better

4. YOU deserves better

An office with a bad apple is not good for the rest of the staff. It creates low office productivity, problems within the office, and problems between the office staff and makes the working environment suffer. It is interesting when that person is off on vacation or they have called in sick, the office seems at peace and runs smoother. You would not want to lose your best employees over one bad one. That is a sign that this person needs to go.

If employees are caught in gross violation of a policy or have endangered a patient or co-worker, the best time to fire them is when all the facts have been accumulated and verified. It should not linger on for weeks or even days. It is best to handle the situation as soon as possible. When someone has been terminated, they should leave immediately. You don’t ever want to fire someone and then tell them we would like for you to finish out the week. That could cause another set of problem. What do they have to lose at that point? There is no telling what they might do to retaliate.

Another suggestion is to fire the person during the week and not on a Friday because they will have the weekend to think about their condition. By doing it during the week, this gives the person immediate incentive to look for another position.

The termination should be conducted in privacy and with one other staff member present. This is so important especially if the physician and staff member are of the opposite sex. The process should be brief and direct. Make it clear that your mind is made up and there is no room for negotiations. There is no need to bring up all that the person has done or not done because you do not want to get into an argument.

Document the meeting and keep in the employees file. It is always good to keep good records from the beginning of a person’s employment and it is also good from time to time have a performance review that also can be documented and put into the employees file.

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