Doctors have the daunting task of not only being exemplary in their field, but they must also run a business at the same time. One of the worst things they face is having to let someone on their staff go. Sometimes they hold out year after year and other times it is because the doctor has not been able to summon the courage to let them go. But there are four reasons why they should.

1. Patients deserve better

2. Co-workers deserve better

3. Practice deserves better

4. YOU deserve better

An office with a bad apple is not good for other staff. It creates low productivity in the office, problems within the office and problems between the office staff and causes the work environment to suffer. It is interesting when that person is on vacation or has reported for illness, the office seems to be at peace and works better. You don’t want to lose your best employees to a bad one. That is a sign that this person must go.

If employees are caught in serious violation of policy or have endangered a patient or co-worker, the best time to fire them is when all the facts have been accumulated and verified. It shouldn’t last for weeks or even days. It is better to handle the situation as soon as possible. When someone has been fired, they must leave immediately. You never want to fire someone and then tell them that we would like you to finish the week. That could cause another set of problems. What do they have to lose at that moment? It is unknown what they might do to retaliate.

Another suggestion is to fire the person during the week and not on a Friday because you will have the weekend to think about their condition. By doing it during the week, this gives the person an immediate incentive to look for another position.

Termination must be done in private and with another staff member present. This is very important, especially if the doctor and the staff member are of the opposite sex. The process should be short and direct. Make it clear that it is decided and that there is no room for negotiations. It is not necessary to mention everything the person has done or not done because you do not want to get into an argument.

Document the meeting and keep it on file with the employees. It is always good to keep good records from the beginning of a person’s employment and it is also good to have a performance review from time to time that can also be documented and put in the employee file.

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