Quitting your job can be uncomfortable… more so when you’re leaving to start your own practice.
While you’re ready to move on, your employer may not share your enthusiasm. Some feel resentful, while others become “unpleasant” to work with.
- After all, they’ve invested time and money in you.
- They may fear losing patients, particularly if you’re a popular provider.
- They may resent the competition.
- And, they have to hire again…
But depending on your location, how you leave may or may not be a significant issue. However, it’s in the interest of all parties, including patients, to go on amicable terms.
Leaving on good terms may be more important when living in a smaller community. Because chances are you will continue to work with the practice in some capacity or another.
You may need to make or accept referrals, fulfill record requests, consult on a patient, etc. All will be easier when there is a good working relationship.
If you live in a bigger city, leaving on good terms may not be as important, since there may be less contact in the future. However, it’s still best to part on good terms and not burn any bridges.
But no matter what, it’s in your and your patients’ best interest to leave your job on good terms.
Here are a few strategies to help you exit your NP job on the best of terms.
- Know the specifics of your employment contract. Do you have a “Non-compete Clause?” If there isn’t one, good. But if you have a non-compete clause, be sure you know the specifics and honor them. If you have questions about the reasonability of your non-compete clause, seek the advice of an attorney before you quit.
- Be prepared for anything when giving notice. Some employers “blow a gasket” and may demand you leave by the end of the day, if not immediately. So have your ducks in a row and be prepared …
- Your employer may demand that you not tell your patients you will be leaving. Typically, they will notify your patients via a letter. Often though, they will not tell patients where you are going. So think and plan ahead… see point #5 for a suggestion.
- If you decide to talk to some of your patients, do it quietly. Be prepared that there may still be some backlash. But remember, patients are free to see any provider they wish to see, including you!
- If you know you will be leaving your job, have an established website to make it easy for patients to find you. Create a website with your name as the domain address, i.e. JaneCSmith.com. This allows patients searching for you to find and contact you through the web.
It’s good practice to have a domain registered in your name, in addition to the name of your clinic. Once you’ve decided on a domain name for your clinic and have your clinic website, you may then “redirect” your personal site to the clinic site. This means whenever someone types in your name, i.e. JaneCSmith.com, they would be redirected to your clinic website.
Alternatively, you may simply place a link to your clinic website on your personal site without redirecting visitors. What’s important here is to have a web presence so that patients can find you and get in touch with you.
- Last but not least, be sure to give ample notice. Don’t leave your employer “hanging.” If necessary, consider helping out while they find your replacement. You don’t want to create a hardship for your employer, and you certainly don’t want to leave patients hanging.
When leaving your job, do your best to leave on good terms. It is professional and good practice, but it also feels better and will make it easier to work with the office on behalf of your patients in the future.
Join the conversation and let us know what you think… what were your experiences when leaving your job?
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, MAc., EAMP, regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”