Treating your staff

September 10, 2011

Should physicians consider treating their own staff?

Q: I'm a male family physician in a practice that's the only one in a small town. I do not treat my staff because it makes me uncomfortable. However, staff members often complain that they have to drive a long way to visit other physicians. My staff is made of both males and females. Am I being unreasonable? How do other physicians in small towns usually handle this?

A: Many physicians do treat their staff. There should be no additional concerns about treating female staff members compared with any other female patients. The same precautions, such as having someone else in the room during a pelvic exam, for example, would be appropriate when you're treating your staff.