If you think I’m poking fun at doctors, you’ve got me wrong. However, if you work in the healthcare industry, you probably know this already: doctors can’t run the medical practice on their own. They need a support staff that works together in a coherent, efficient manner, especially with all the ever-changing HMO regulations and ever-present threat of malpractice suits. The following is a guide on how to succeed in a medical practice—as a nurse, office manager, or nursing assistant.
Recognize Your Importance
What you do really matters. The doctor may have his or her name on the wall, but you’re the one who is recording vitals, checking symptoms, delivering services, and starting IVs. If you don’t record a medication properly, a misdiagnosis or interference of medication can result. If you misplace a file, a patient’s condition can be complicated. It’s essential that you perform your job with as much dignity and seriousness as the doctor does.
(If you are not yet working as a nurse and want to know exactly what tasks are expected of you each day, check out this link to a list of typical nurse responsibilities.)
Keep Up Your Bedside Manners
Because you’re dealing with patients and coworkers all day, there’s no room for a bad mood or an off day. Do whatever you need to in order to be pleasant, positive, and helpful in demeanor, no matter who you’re interacting with. If a patient overhears you gossiping about another nurse or crabbing about the doctor, you can cost the entire practice a patient, or worse, a lawsuit. To succeed in the medical field, you’ve got to be professional and positive at all times.
Master the Practical Side of Things
Most medical practices are rather fast-paced working environments, so you’ve got to pay attention to things like where supplies are kept, what the latest filing procedures are, and how to use the new computerized patient records. You can’t be bothering your coworkers mid-day with questions like, “How do I look up medication interaction information?” or “Where do we keep the extra syringes?” If you need help, try using a nurse iPhone app to assist you with questions you may have so you won’t have to bother your coworkers so much.
Keep Up Your Training
Your medical practice probably insists that you participate in continuing education classes from time to time, but even if it doesn’t, you should make continuing education a part of your life. Volunteer for training sessions, go to the new computer program orientations, and look for ways to shadow other coworkers or learn new procedures. You need to keep your eye on the latest practices and standards so a new college grad or a coworker who has been more diligent than you won’t outrank you.
Pay Attention During Work Reviews and Office Meetings
Medical offices are close-knit work environments, so you can’t risk offending coworkers or missing important updates. Take notes during meetings, review new procedures until you get them down pat, and help others get with the program when you see them falling behind. Your whole office needs to work well together for you to succeed—this is where teamwork triumphs over individual success. If you have trouble getting along with coworkers, seek help from the Human Resources department of your facility or an outside resource such as a therapist.
Your Success in a Medical Office
A medical office is an intimate work environment. Unfortunately, most nurses and medical office workers don’t learn about the soft skills they’ll need for success in the office. Take it upon yourself to learn these skills so you can build a positive work environment and succeed in this career long term.
Erinn Stam is the Managing Editor for scholarships for nursing students. She attends Wake Technical Community College and is learning about scholarships for lpn. She lives in Durham, NC with her lovely 4-year-old daughter and exuberant husband.
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