Completing the preliminary work for hiring aesthetic physician extenders—i.e., nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and nurses—takes time and energy. While these tasks are important, it’s actually the onboarding process that makes or breaks these new relationships. Practices that hire new providers without a well laid out training plan run the risk of being perceived as unorganized or dysfunctional.
Additionally, practices with an informal or fragmented training process may be inadvertently building relationships on a foundation of frustration and failure. Since first impressions of your practice will be formed within the initial 60 days, this time period is especially crucial in establishing successful working dynamics. Knowing this, you can create favorable relationships by having a carefully thought-out onboarding process in place. By outlining the knowledge and training that your new aesthetic extenders need to carry out their job duties, you can help ensure their—and the practice’s—success.
Key Training Categories
The cost of training and hiring new aesthetic physician extenders makes them a significant investment. Practices looking to protect their investment should use the training categories outlined ahead to help make the first 60 days (and beyond) count.
Operations. Even if your new aesthetic providers have years of experience, they don’t know your practice or what makes it unique. Ensure they are confident representing your entire practice by scheduling specific times and dates for them to shadow various staff members and areas of the practice. By giving new hires the opportunity to observe how the practice operates, they will better understand how appointments are scheduled, the flow of patients through the practice, the role front- and back-office staff play, and how their role impacts other staff and providers. This shadowing also helps other employees understand the role new providers will play in the office and to its success.
Practice knowledge. To be strong representatives of your practice, new staff need to understand the organization’s principles, culture, brand, and direction. Ensure this by scheduling time with the owner, lead provider, and/or practice manager to explain the practice’s vision, core values, and mission statement to each new provider. This introduction should also cover your commitment to the patient experience and why you do what you do. Ultimately, going over these fundamentals helps new providers determine early on if the practice is truly a good fit and better understand their role in shaping the practice’s future.
Clinical skills. Every employee is an extension of your practice; for this reason, you must be confident in the abilities of new aesthetic physician extenders. When new providers are shadowing your practice, they should observe the owner or lead provider in a consultation and treatment. Observing how an established practice provider engages with the patient, establishes trust, handles challenging questions, develops a treatment plan, credentials teammates, and recommends procedures and products will serve as an example for new providers.
Third-party training with your vendors is also helpful in bestowing tips and best practices to help new aesthetic providers continue developing their skill sets and acclimate to their new practice setting.
Product knowledge. The reason you’ve decided to bring on physician extenders is to help grow your business, create a new service offering, or diversify your revenue. Regardless of your goal, new providers will only succeed if they can confidently speak to all your services and products. While some of these details will be touched upon when shadowing other departments and employees, scheduling hands-on training(s), assigning a mentor, reviewing product messaging and scientific data, and explaining how certain treatments and products complement one another are all ways to further instill product knowledge.
Afterward, you should evaluate how well your new provider makes recommendations to patients by role playing likely patient scenarios to ensure the provider presents with confidence.
Credentialing. The new providers aren’t the only ones who need education; staff members need to know about the new employees to properly credential them. Scheduling team members for a consultation and treatment with new providers will enable them to help grow the providers’ business through personal testimony. Based on their experience(s), encourage staff to develop credentialing statements for the new providers, as it will allow them to speak confidently about each new provider. When staff can personally attest to a new provider’s consultation skills, injection techniques, and patient treatment plan, it will help potential patients feel more confident in their care.
Patient interaction. New providers don’t just need patient leads to be successful; they need to retain them by building rapport and trust. Communication skills training will allow your providers to gain self-awareness of their communication style, the many ways patients and staff communicate, and how to flex their style to better connect with their patients and colleagues.
To objectively gauge the new provider’s bedside manner, consider recruiting existing patients to mystery shop new (and existing) providers. Then, send follow-up surveys or provide questionnaires to patients that ask them to provide feedback on all aspects of their visit and rate their experience. This narrative should be shared in a positive and supportive environment to ensure new providers are receptive to the constructive feedback.
Marketing. To have a successful start (and career) in your practice, new providers will need help building their patient base, which requires both internal and external marketing efforts. Internal methods include staff credentialing and encouraging patients to rebook their next appointment with the new provider before leaving the office. External methods include reaching out to patients who haven’t been to the practice and introducing them to the new providers; scheduling a private “Friends and Family” event for new providers with staff helping recruit attendees; and adding new providers to your website and uploading before-and-after photos, videos, and/or patient testimonials. After all, patients cannot come to your new staff members if they are unaware of their existence in your practice.
Integration with Forethought
Before hiring an aesthetic physician extender, thoughtfully develop a plan that includes time for shadowing and check-ins to ensure they are onboarded and trained properly. Present this plan to them to show your commitment to their success and development. This will increase the odds of them staying with you long term and being a successful addition to your practice and its growth.
At the end of the day, your business is only as good as your providers and staff—so set everyone up for success by integrating new aesthetic providers with careful forethought.