Sell your confidence in your staff to patients

If your patients question your staff's abilities to help them with issues, read this to learn how to effectively sell your staff's abilities and knowledge to skeptical patients.

A: To make a team-based approach to patient management work, your patients need to feel that you're comfortable that your employees are knowledgeable and trustworthy. You can help perpetuate that idea by "selling" your staff to patients to promote the appearance and, we hope, of a competent and efficient practice. Here are five tips:

1. Share the limelight. It makes you look smart when you support your staff. For example, tell a patient that your nurse practitioner would have handled a problem exactly as you would have-and probably faster because the practitioner doesn't have a long wait list.

3. Don't criticize employees within earshot of others. It embarrasses patients and employees.

4. When you return patients' calls, tell them they likely would have received the same advice from your "expert" nurse-and their call would have been returned more quickly.

5. Support the directions and policies you set for your staff, even if you make an exception for a patient. Afterward, let your staff members know they did nothing wrong; you were just using your discretion to avoid patient ill will.

Answers to readers' questions were provided by Judy Bee, Practice Performance Group, La Jolla, California. She is an editorial consultant for Medical Economics. Send your practice management questions to
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