Hiring Support Staff for the Integrative and Functional Medicine Practice

Lisa McDonald 09/19/2017 Recent News

An empty staff position can have a dramatic impact on a practice, especially with a smaller staff as is common in Integrative/Functional Medicine.

Before you start your search, make sure you have an effective recruitment strategy in place.

Create a job description

The job description will outline the key responsibilities of the position. Defining the needs of the position is critical to recruiting candidates and managing employee performance. You should include the customer skills and knowledge required for the specifics of your practice approach and demographics.

Determine hours, compensation and benefits

Benefits can play a critical role in the decision to apply for or accept a position. In addition to health insurance, think about PTO (paid time off), disability and life insurance. Also, a flexible schedule is a magnet for many candidates, if you can offer it, do.

If your practice does not offer health insurance you can look into Health Sharing program such as Liberty HealthShare or My Academy of Health Excellence which are exempt from the requirements of the ACA mandate to purchase health insurance, so there is no penalty and they can be less expensive.

To ensure your compensation is competitive, you can research salary information in your area using websites such as Salary.com and PayScale and Glassdoor.

Strategize a recruitment process

Develop interview questions that identify the key qualities you want for this position. Utilize questions that ask for specific examples of how a situation was handled. Past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. And make sure you keep the interview legal.

Define what your ideal candidate would be like, but be open-minded. I’m an advocate of hiring character and training skill. New skills can be taught, but you can’t teach personality, emotional intelligence, or purpose.

Who will be involved in interviewing candidates? There should be a minimum of two people to vet a candidate. What will the interview process look like? A phone interview first, then onsite interview?

Once your presentation and questions are prepared, review them and the interview process with the hiring team to ensure you have a professional representation of your practice. A first impression can be a last impression, which goes for candidates and employers.

Remember to conduct a background and reference checks when you’re ready to make an offer.

Create a job posting

The job description can be helpful in drafting the posting, and be sure to include key information regarding pay and hours to help screen candidates. Providing details about the schedule, qualifications, responsibilities, benefits and compensation will help reduce the number of unqualified applicants.

This is your marketing tool – highlight that your practice is Integrative and Functional Medicine, that you offer patient-centered care and the type of culture that creates in your office. You want candidates who have a passion for working in an office that educates and promotes health.

Now you’re ready to hire, but where do you find candidates?

The Medical Assistant 

Medical Assistants (MA’s) are valuable to a practice and in addition to clinical responsibilities their duties can be tailored to the specific needs of the practice. MA’s in an Integrative/Functional Medicine practice will require more knowledge than in a conventional practice. While they are not licensed to make independent medical assessment or give advice, an MA in an Integrative/Functional Medicine office will need to understand the basics of nutrition, become familiar with Functional Medicine labs and understand the protocol for your office and the patient-centered approach.

In addition to regular clinical duties, MA’s can help manage supplement inventories, tee up specialty labs and support marketing efforts. The MA will be one of the first people to greet your patients. Their professionalism, enthusiasm and knowledge will be one of the first impressions your patients will have of your practice.

Where to find Medical Assistants

College or university career centers can be great resources. Most states have an education program in place for a MA. Develop relationships with community colleges or vocations schools in your area that have programs. Consider having MA students rotate through your practice to identify suitable candidates.

Find an accredited medical assistant school in your area and contact the directors for information about their placements services and candidates.

Additionally, you can use job boards. Free sites include Craigslist and Indeed. Both of these sites are frequently used to source MA’s. If you’re having difficulty finding the right candidate it may be worth utilizing sites that require fees, i.e Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, ZipRecruiter and Monster.

Strategic Hiring for a Practice Manager

Seeking a candidate with previous practice management experience and at least some college education is encouraged considering your practice manager will be handling a variety of responsibilities to include managing office personnel, staffing, billing, collections, marketing etc. To be successful in an Integrative/Functional Medicine practice they must have a passion for health and wellness.

Finding the right practice manager is essential to the success of your practice. Some traits to look for during the interview process: professionalism, outstanding communication skills, even-tempered, friendly, empathetic and conscientious. They must have the ability to handle a stressful environment and possess leadership skills.   The practice manager influences the atmosphere and relationship of your team.

Where to find Practice Managers?

There are organizations that train practice managers and provide resources for professional development.   Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is one of those organizations and has a job board with both local and state affiliates.

In addition, the job boards mentioned previously can also be great places to source.

It can be difficult to find a practice manager with experience in Integrative and Functional Medicine, but hiring a candidate with proven practice management experience, emotional intelligence, a passion for patient-centered care and root cause medicine will go a long way to having an incredibly strong practice and a person who will thrive in the role.

Recruiting Beyond Job Boards

Online job boards are known for generating a number of applicants, but “social hiring” (leveraging social media sites to recruit) and networking are other ways to find support staff, especially for practices in Integrative and Functional Medicine.

Social Media

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be great recruiting tools. Each platform has its own culture so you will want to customize how you share your message. For example, LinkedIn has a much more professional tone than Facebook.

Meetups

Functional Forum Meetups are a fantastic way to network and learn more about Integrative and Functional practitioners in your community. These Meetups are held regularly and are free to the local community. I’ve spoken to a number of practitioners who have connected to opportunities and built referrals by attending their local Functional Forum Meetup.

If you’re hiring practitioners for your practice we make it super easy!  

Visit Integrated and Functional Connections to explore our job platform connecting employers and practitioners in the Integrative and Functional Medicine field across the nation.