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The HR-Endorsed Guide on How to Hire Healthcare Assistants for Your Practice

One of the most important yet difficult things you will have to do in your practice is hiring your team, including your healthcare assistants. 

You are not just looking for competence. While that is important, there is much more to the job. Your healthcare assistant is the person who provides the majority (if not all) of your patients with first-hand comfort and care. They are typically the first person in your practice that will develop a relationship with your patients. You want to hire someone who is going to be a source of emotional comfort, someone who will contribute to a healthy, comfortable atmosphere in your office.

Therefore, when it is time to hire healthcare assistants, you will need to approach your task with extra care and consideration. Doing so will ensure that your patients get the best care possible. Additionally, a high-quality healthcare team is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your practice from malpractice claims. 

5 Steps to Hire Healthcare Assistants for Your Practice

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of medical assistants is expected to grow nearly 20% in the next decade. The projected increase is due to the aging baby-boomer population and their demand for services provided by individual practitioners or small medical practices, such as preventative treatments and diagnostic testing.

Due to the increased patient demand, practitioners will need to rely more on their assistants. As your practice grows, you will need to hire healthcare assistants that can perform a variety of clinical and administrative duties. 

Here are some steps to take to find the assistant for your practice. 
1. Consider Your Patient’s Needs

Most people do not look forward to medical appointments. Because of this, they are likely already in a state of anxiety and possibly even annoyance. Add to that the stress of getting a diagnosis, or the frustration of still not getting one. It does not take much for patients to vent their feelings on you and your team. 

In that moment, your patient needs someone around them who will show empathy, compassion, and understanding. Of course, you will need to provide this, but so will your healthcare assistants. 
Find out during your interview or while checking references how a potential assistant handles stressful situations. Are they able to keep their cool and set their own feelings aside? Or do they have a hard time in these circumstances? 

Another thing to consider is the interpersonal skills of potential assistants. Do they express themselves clearly? Are they bilingual? If they are bilingual, are they familiar with the customs of that particular cultural or ethnic group? Cultural sensitivity is important for patient comfort and satisfaction.  
2. Look for Proper Credentials

The credentials necessary for certain roles depend much on where a practice is located. Investigate federal, state, and local requirements when hiring healthcare assistants. When a potential assistant applies for your job opening, ask them to provide proof of current licensure and continuing education requirements if pertinent. 
3. Evaluate Prior Work Experience

An ideal assistant does not need to have worked in your particular field to be a good candidate. However, it is best to look for someone with years of relevant experience if you want an assistant on par with your level of experience or do not have much time to train a brand-new assistant.  
4. Pay Attention to References 

A professional reference will help you understand a candidate’s past job experience and duties. A candidate’s references speak to their ability to do the job, positively deal with patients and potential challenges, and contribute to positive work culture. 

Some questions to ask a potential candidate’s references include: 
  • What was the quality of your workplace relationship?
  • What strengths and weaknesses does the candidate possess?
  • What makes them a good fit for this job?
  • Would you rehire this candidate? Why?
  • How did the candidate get along with co-workers, patients, and management?
5. Willingness to Learn

In many states, anyone with healthcare credentials needs to complete an established number of continuing education units (CEUs) each year (or every two years). Without those units, a person can lose their healthcare license. 

For most employers, though, it is not enough for a healthcare assistant to simply meet their CE requirements. They want a team that is willing to learn, that is constantly looking for opportunities to learn. 

A willingness to learn will benefit you, your practice, and your patients. The more your team knows, the more they can help you and ease your workload. Additionally, when you hire healthcare assistants that want to learn, they can apply for advanced certification. The more training and certificates your team have, the more services you will be able to provide patients. 

Learning does not have to be limited to healthcare practices and products. It can include improving their skills in: 
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Workplace environment improvement
  • Patient advocacy
  • Administrative technology
  • Medical procedure technology

Make sure to carefully vet potential assistants, checking their credentials and references, and listen to your gut during the interview. Is this person going to contribute to the positive environment you are trying to create? If so, you have found a gem, someone who will add much to your practice and help you build a good reputation within your community. 

Healthcare Practice Ownership: Protecting Your Practice

Hiring a professional, empathetic team of administrative and medical assistants is one of the ways you can protect your practice. Due to their good work ethic, experience, knowledge, and expertise, you will feel confident putting part of your patients’ care in their hands. You will also be well rewarded with happy patients and a good reputation.  

Another way to protect your practice is with healthcare business insurance. As the practice owner, you are ultimately responsible for anything that goes wrong, whether you are directly responsible or not. Malpractice insurance will help cover legal expenses that are related to any accusations of negligence or errors on the part of you or anyone you employ. Depending on your policy, healthcare business insurance can cover medical bills, legal fees, settlements, and funeral expenses in the case of a fatal incident. 

Get a quote today.   
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