My secretary of ten years recently left for abroad. If you read my previous blog entry (http://getstartedmd.com/2013/01/make-or-break/) on who can make or break your practice, your secretary sure is one who can! Ms. A has been an efficient partner in my practice. She knows how I want things to be so I can work at my best. She genuinely cares for my patients too. She is like my administrative boss who is able to handle all non medical aspects of the job.
So what do you do when your trusted help suddenly tells you she or he is leaving? I appreciate that Ms. A told me way ahead. She knew I had to find a suitable replacement. She knew also that whoever replaces her had to be trained. Here are three things you can do to prepare for a similar situation:
- Identify the work your secretary does for you (its like a job description). I asked Ms. A to write down everything she does for me then I grouped them into general categories. These may include: documents to keep and maintain, payments to make on a regular basis, clinic operations procedures (for me, this includes how to take patient weight, height and vital signs, vaccine ordering and safekeeping, collecting from HMO etc), location and contact persons of vital offices etc.
- Write up in detail how each of the tasks are done. Make it like how any company would write its manual of operations. If you are just starting a clinic, you may need to write this yourself. But if you have been practicing and your current secretary are doing these things, just have her write it and revise as you see fit.
- If you have the opportunity, have your old secretary train the new one weeks before formally taking over. Run through the tasks with the new one yourself to check if she got things right.
Avoid getting caught off guard! If you haven’t done this, now is the time. If you are just starting, do it to be prepared.
Have you got other ways to prepare? Share and write in the comments.