When hiring nurses and medical staff, it's important to find the right people for your practice and the environment you want to foster. Sometimes, even if a particular candidate impresses, s/he might not have all the right tools or the proper mindset to function in your practice environment. It is important to create a ‘culture' for your office, especially when you are involved in cosmetic treatments. That culture involves both the staff and you, and the interactions the patient observes. The interview process is where you can see whether the candidate fits.

The first stages of the interview process must include a thorough screening process that results in interviews for only a very select number of qualified candidates. You can often get a good feel for the best candidates from preliminary phone interviews. Narrowing the pool intelligently can save you valuable time.

Deciding what qualities to look for in candidates will depend on the position for which you are hiring. For example, you may use nurses in your practice in different ways. If you are looking to hire a nurse for the “clinic floor,” it's important to take account of the candidate's healthcare background. For example, if a nurse is accustomed to a hospital environment, it might be exceedingly difficult for that candidate to adjust to a practice environment—particularly in a unique specialty in which aesthetic procedures can be routine and the pace may be different than that in a hospital. A clinic nurse who may have worked in a slow-paced environment may not be able to adapt to a faster-paced dermatology practice.

For example, we have two departments in our clinic wherein nurses are hired, the regular clinic and clinical research department. Due to the different needs in nursing, we hire entirely different nurses for both departments and it is rather unlikely that the nurses would be ‘interchangeable' from department to department due to the different skill sets. Research nurses are more detail oriented and methodical, while floor nurses are more task oriented and forgiving of a rushed pace.

While taking note of each candidate's individual qualities, it's important to try to envision that person in the environment of your practice. Will they be kind and courteous to patients? How would they work with the physician and other staff members? Each position is different, but there are certain underlying traits you should be looking for that fit the culture of the practice, in addition to assessing specific qualities for the position.

Of course, one can never be 100 percent sure about a candidate. And that is further complicated by the fact that the learning curve for each position and each candidate will also depend on age, experience, and other factors.

Careful analysis of all elements is necessary to avoid decisions that lead to hiring of an unsuitable candidate who will require much time to train and then leave or be found wanting to leave.

We should also note that we test candidates before they are hired. There are multiple tests available online that offer quick evaluation of skills in spelling, mathematics, and writing. We also run background checks on all hires, which has proven quite useful in eliminating some potential problem employees and avoiding future issues. Discovering that potential employees have failed to note (or have completely lied about) issues, such as a Minor in Possession or DUI, is an indication of their honesty on their application and can lead you away from someone who could be a problem in the future.

There are no guarantees in the hiring process, but significant care and effort in the screening and interview process can reduce the likelihood of hiring a staff member who doesn't work out for your practice.

Joel Schlessinger, MD is Founder and Course Director of Cosmetic Surgery Forum. He practices in Omaha, NE. The 2014 Cosmetic Surgery Forum will be held from December 4-6 at the Palazzo Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. For more information and to register, visit www.CosmeticSurgeryForum.com Feel free to address questions to him at JS@ CosmeticSurgeryForum.com.

Nancy Schlessinger, MS is Vice President of Lovelyskin.com.


Having a good and properly trained staff is paramount to the success of all businesses It's not just the healthcare industry.

Your staff truly is a representative of you. Good business and good patient relations starts from the top down. The key parts of hiring staff are recruitment, hiring, training, incentivication, and retention.

Pay them properly, give them good benefits. It's not always about the money. Make sure that staff feels that you really appreciate them.

Once you have staff on board, make sure that they feel properly respected and motivated. They are an integral part of your practice. A staff member who does not feel respected will leave, and you'll lose that person.

Jay A. Shorr, BA, MBM-C, CAC I-V is Founder and Managing Partner and Mara Shorr, BS, CAC II-V isVice President of Marketing and Business Development at The Best Medical Business Solutions.


Developing leadership in staff members is an important aspect of your practice. Be aware of yourself, which also helps you to be more aware of others.

It is important to know personality types of your staff members and their workstyles. Someone who is outgoing and smiling may be better at the front desk. Someone who is quiet and shy may do better with paperwork or calling back results to patients.

Try to build teamwork through staff meetings on a regular basis. Ideally, staff will meet on a weekly basis. It's also important to gather staff together from time to time for fun events that encourage interaction and help build a great team.

Todd Schlesinger, MD, FAAD is Director of Dermatology and Laser Surgery of Charleston, SC.