How to select an urgent care clinic manager

Business growth and increasing patient volume can necessitate the naming of an urgent care clinic manager or supervisor on staff. Often times the vagaries of this job are not well-defined, merely the need that the business has now grown and someone must oversee a few key functions that the owner-operator simply doesn’t have the time or resources to mind on a daily or sometimes hourly basis.

First and foremost, there is the issue of patient flow. Many new startups don’t have practices in place to manage daily fluctuations.

Then there might be issues in handling staff. Whether it’s dealing with personality quirks or training insufficiencies of their reports, the clinic manager generally has these tasks thrown into their job description.

And dare we overlook the glamorous tasks such as supply ordering and oversight of clinic repairs? In many cases, the clinic manager is ultimately responsible for making sure the nuts and bolts necessary for operations are all in place and functioning properly.

So the question becomes who is the best candidate for this role? Do you promote from within or seek from outside? Is the candidate someone with medical knowledge or more business oriented?

And the answer?

None of that matters if the person you place in that position does not possess good CRITICAL THINKING skills. What do I mean by that? Here’s an example. I own a beautiful Labrador retriever handsome, shiny coat, AKC papers, great with the kids but never in a million years will that dog ever hunt. As a matter of fact, she won’t even fetch a tennis ball, won’t play tug with the kids, and pretty much won’t chase anything other than a treat if it means getting off the floor. She’s a great family dog and I love her to pieces, but there are some things you just can’t teach not that we haven’t tried. Before her, we had another lab, again, a beautiful dog, great family pet, and although we never spent a dime on training, Shadow instinctively pointed, heeled, retrieved anything you threw and tracked birds like she had a personal grievance against anything with feathers and wings.

Such is the case with some staff. You know the ones. Some employees have a knack for seeing the problem and formulating the best possible solutions. Better still, they can even anticipate the potential problem before it occurs and take measures to prevent or minimize the damage. Critical thinking means that these folks are going to approach a situation and analyze the data presented, perhaps gather more and at the very least determine a game plan before they start pushing the panic button.

Picking the wrong person for this position is a little like taking my current dog hunting. She’ll look really pretty standing out in a field, but she’ll never bring back a bird. Some folks, no matter how many letters are behind their name or how well they can start an i.v., simply lack the ability to think beyond the problem in front of them. You can’t teach this skill, you might try to give them rules, policies and procedures, but they’ll never think outside of the proverbial box.

We’ve all had the employee who runs to us with a problem only to dump it in our lap like so much garbage ready to haul out to the curb. This is not the person you want for your clinic supervisor or manager not unless you enjoy early morning calls or late night emergencies. Worse still, this is the person who’s going to incessantly pester you while on vacation with every little detail of clinic happenings just to “make sure you approve. This is not a manager, this is a robot.

Don’t be mistaken, critical thinking is not synonymous with autonomy or usurping your authority as owner of the urgent care. But it does empower the clinic manager to foresee and take steps to prevent problems and ultimately allow you to concentrate on more strategic planning and operational needs.

So how do you find this person? Challenge them with smaller projects. Encourage growth in staff that exhibit these skills. Don’t be afraid to let people make mistakes and turn the mistakes into learning experiences when they occur.

Developing your staff not only pays off in long-term loyalty, but in this instance may provide your organization with an employee that contributes to the overall success and patient satisfaction through daily leadership. Employ your own critical thinking skills by selecting the best and brightest and develop them along with your business.

The Urgent Care Operations Golden Rule: Above All – Do No Harm!

Urgent care operations are tough; and many owner-operators struggle to manage the burden of wearing so many operational hats. On any given day you’re a Medical Director, HR Director, Chief Financial Officer, Marketing Director and maybe even Carnival Director (depending on your staff!), but the one thing to never lose sight of is the fact that you’re a healthcare provider. Remember why you chose this profession, or perhaps it chose you?

A good friend of mine forwarded me the commencement address presented to the 2010 graduates of Yale’s Medical School. This same friend tends to forward me all sorts of insightful tidbits ranging from the political to socially conscious, so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was in for when I opened this one. The speaker, himself a physician, started his speech commending the new graduates on their success and the bright future ahead of them. He then went on to recount stories of his career as a practitioner from both sides of the stethoscope; many humorous, some quite touching.

Continuing his address, this physician then told a story of a dear friend who recently lost her husband of many years. He passed away after a terrible illness which placed him in the hospital ICU. She told this practitioner that while she wished she could focus on the good memories of her husband, the last days were stolen away from her by a technicality that was rather cruel.

You see, the hospital where her husband spent his final days had a policy that limited or restricted visitors and times to the Intensive Care Unit (as many ICU’s do). But in this case, it extended to even spouses and in this instance, without regard to the terminal nature of this patient’s illness. As the speaker so poignantly said during his address, both the patient and his wife of nineteen years would have much rather had the quality of these lasts moments together than the meager quantity that the hospitals efforts to prolong his life attempted to provide. Unfortunately, this woman, like so many others, was greeted with it’s the policy of the hospital or it’s our rules, instead of compassion and a moment of understanding. How many of us faced with a similar circumstance would have given ANYTHING for an extra moment to hold a loved one’s hand or to have an additional second to reminisce about a favorite time?

As he concluded his address to the future physicians, the speaker reminded them that everything they had learned  anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, – gave them incredible power to do good yet simultaneously be cruel. They would be placed in a position to feel privileged and powerful, to hear secrets from frightened patients, to see humanity at its lowest and highest, and sometimes to even provide the greatest gift of all  life!

With all that power and privilege, title and prestige, it is easy to become the maker and enforcer of rules, and yet so easy to forget however suffocating, dehumanizing and CRUEL those rules can be to the person in our care. This is not to say that we cannot have rules in healthcare, we must. It’s so easy to break the rules when it’s the mother of the preemie who merely wants to touch the tiny hand of her child, the frightened child who sees a parent unconscious after bypass, or a wife wanting those last moments with her husband.

But do we remember what we’re here for? Do we daily embrace the concept that the patient sitting across from us is NOT here for our gratification but rather WE are here for them? Do we treat them like they are an inconvenience to our hectic day or do we recognize that whatever illness or injury has brought them seeking our services is likely a major inconvenience to their work, home or family life?  And while we certainly look to our patients as our revenue source, let us also not forget that they too are minding a household budget and bottom line and perhaps did not anticipate yet another co-pay or another prescription for Little Johnny’s third case of pink-eye this semester.

Take a moment, reach out and shake the patient’s hand as you introduce yourself, make eye contact, share just a little something, listen and take interest in what the patient is saying. Yes- urgent care does tend to focus on a Get em in  get em out mentality, and certainly rules are important in healthcare  but hopefully never at the expense of compassion and caring about the patient.

5 Ways to Feature your Urgent Care Physician Online

Your physicians and physician extenders are an essential part of your urgent care clinic’s reputation. While it is the need for immediate medical care that initially draws patients to an urgent care clinic, it is your staff and service that distinguish your facility from your competitor’s clinic.

Here are 5 ways to feature your practitioners on your website:

Pictures: A name is great but a picture is worth a thousand words. A professional physician headshot conveys confidence and competence. Photos of the practitioners interacting with patients are reassuring, and without a single word say I am here to help you. Pictures are an easy way to display that your clinic offers patient focused care from a compassionate staff.

Scrolling Marquis: This is an attractive way to show off practitioners and their patient relationships. Your eye is immediately drawn to the movement. Include photos of the practitioners interacting with patients and overlap quotes of patient reviews and experiences. Mix up the kinds of quotes you use Dr. Jones was so kind with my little Timmy Dr. Harris was quick with my visit and I was able to get back to work right away. Let your patients be your cheerleaders.

Our Doctors: Have a highlighted tab designated to your practitioners. Your patients-specifically the mom’s of the household- want to know who they will be seen by and what their expertise is.

Include information like:

  • Physician name
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Language, if bilingual
  • Personal information *Keep this general. Don’t divulge anything too personal. Speak to their hometown, family status, hobbies, etc.

Take advantage of free press: If a physician at your clinic was interviewed for the local newspaper or was a guest speaker at a local University, post the article on your website. It gives the impression that this physician is an expert. The same can be done with community involvement such as a physician that participated in free flu shots at the local Wal-Mart or perhaps coaches a t-ball team your clinic sponsors. Patients admire a physician that is willing to give back to their community. It builds a level of trust your competitors may not have.

Direct Physician Participation: Have your practitioners participate in providing content to the website. A short article answering commonly asked questions or offering suggestions on how to beat seasonal allergies are great tools in demonstrating the practitioner’s expertise and the ability to communicate to the patient. It also gives the added benefit of showing your team cares about the patient’s well-being before they even walk through the door.

Urgent K as a Solution For Urgent Care Payroll

When it comes to urgent care payroll, startup clinics and established clinics alike strive to provide staff with good benefits at a low cost. Employee benefits offer great appeal to your clinic as a place people ‘want’ to work and are an essential tool in retaining staff.

Recently, Urgent Care Consultants teamed up with Paychex to develop services that encompass the highly sought after payroll and human resource solutions at a cost effective price. In doing so, Paychex is introducing UrgentK. UrgentK offers integrated urgent care payroll services and employee benefits focusing on the major needs of an urgent care clinic. With ala carte services and highly discounted package deals to UCAOA members, UrgentK is your payroll solution:

  • Fortune 500 401K
  • Payroll Processing
  • Direct Deposit
  • Logo-ed Payroll Checks
  • General Ledger
  • Compliance Posters
  • And much more…

Visit to learn more about UrgentK services. Contact Marnus Karlsson at [email protected] or Urgent Care Consultants with any questions.