Article Date: 6/1/2013

Checking Out a Practice

Checking Out a Practice

Using the proper resources will help you decide which practice is a good match for you.

By Dr. Kelly Kerksick, OD

When you think about the amount of time you spend with your coworkers, it’s often greater than the free time you spend with your own family and friends. As a result, it’s very important to do your homework and research anyone who may become a colleague or employer.

How do you go about collecting accurate information on a doctor and practice you may wind up working for? Often, this information is not only readily available, it’s also easy to find. Below are some ways you can begin your research.

1. Sales Reps

Believe it or not, sales reps can be a wonderful, non-biased source of information. For example, they can tell you if the doctor pay his bills on time. Determining the financial stability of a practice is important. After all, it will be providing your paycheck. Sales reps can also provide insight as to what the office atmosphere is like. For instance, do staff members seem happy or is there a high rate of turnover? Does the doctor seem engaged and open to new products and technologies? All of this information can be helpful as you try to determine if the practice is a good fit for you.

2. Practice Website

A practice’s website is also a great place to begin your research. Find out how innovative a practice is by checking to see if it offers special testing and or new instrumentation that makes it unique. A website is also a great place to get to know the practice. For instance, if the current practice hours are listed, you can evaluate areas of opportunity where you might be able to add value. Does the practice stay open late one day a week? Does it offer Saturday hours? If not, and if you’re willing to work those hours, this could be a great selling point to give you the edge over another interviewee.

3. Online Information

Researching the doctor by name is also a good idea. Many times, you can get to know a doctor on a deeper level by performing a google search for his name. Accolades or personal interests may turn up, giving you something to discuss during the interview. On the flip side, this is also a good way to ensure that the doctor is in good standing with the community and the law. You don’t want to be “guilty by association,” so be sure to do your due diligence and research the practice online before accepting a position.

4. Reception Area Observation

You’ll definitely want to arrive early to your interview — and not just because it’s appropriate. An early arrival also gives you a chance to observe staff and patients as they interact with the doctor. Many times, you can sit in the reception area and observe staff behaviors, getting a sense of whether or not they seem happy in the workplace. While staff observations aren’t always the best indicator of how they feel about the doctor, they may give you insight as to the atmosphere in the office.

5. Office Décor and Observation

Often times, the little things that are left unsaid are the things that mean the most. For example, an office that appears cluttered and messy may indicate the doctor is disorganized and doesn’t pay attention to detail. One could assume this type of disorganization may carry over to internal structure and a lack of office policies and communication. As a result, it’s important to pay attention to the small details, Observe and ask the right questions during the interview process. In other words, if the office is cluttered and disorganized and you thrive on structure and organization, the office probably isn’t right for you.

Remember, the position you accept will be a very large part of your life and will take up a huge chunk of your time. It’s worth putting in the time and effort to investigate any practice you’re considering. nOD

images Dr. Kerksick is the founder of Midwest Vision Care, LLC, in Columbia, Ill. She has lectured internationally on contact lens science and is a frequent lecturer throughout the United States on contact lens care, practice management, ocular surface disease and clinical communication.


Optometric Management, Volume: , Issue: June 2013, page(s):