Letter to the New Radiology Practice Hire

October 20, 2011

I wish I could openly say some of these things to you, but I hope that you already know them on some level. I am both excited and nervous to have you join my practice. On the one hand, I’m hoping this will be a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship that lasts a long time. On the other, I know how things can go awry, and plan to be very attentive to signs of developing trouble.

Dear Newbie,

I wish I could openly say some of these things to you, but I hope that you already know them on some level. I am both excited and nervous to have you join my practice.

On the one hand, I’m hoping this will be a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship that lasts a long time. On the other, I know how things can go awry, and plan to be very attentive to signs of developing trouble.

You are pretty fresh out of training, so virtually everything you think you know about the “real world” outside of your teaching hospital is based on what other people have told you. I, on the other hand, have been working in this environment for decades.

I hope you will recognize that my experience far outweighs yours. I’ve gained some of my wisdom the hard way - by making mistakes and learning from them. My experience, along with plenty of hard work and financial risk, has made it possible for me to maintain and grow my practice. I have developed a way of doing things that might not always make sense to you. Your way of doing things might not always mesh with mine, and you should be prepared to make adjustments if you want to fit in.

There is a lot you and I don’t know about one another, as the application process only informs us of so much. This was, in part, a leap of faith, and you might want to think of the next few months as an extension of your interview process.

While you’re getting familiar with my practice and your role in it, I’m going to be evaluating your performance. If I see you working hard and pulling your own weight, I’ll want to keep you around. I’m not going to be as eager if you slack off, if it turns out that you exaggerated your abilities while you were applying, or if you’re clearly unhappy here.

Always be on the lookout for ways to make yourself valuable. When others say they can’t do something (mammography, Doppler, invasive procedures), be the exception. Even if your skills need some brushing up, indicate your willingness to pursue the relevant CME. If you do have an area of expertise, be generous with it, and develop a reputation as an in-house guru.

Be flexible with your schedule; provide coverage when others don’t. Develop a reputation for reliability - if you say you’ll do something, follow through on it. If you are given privileged information, maintain its confidentiality. When you bring me problems (and you will, sooner or later), have a solution or two in mind. Make your presence, or even the mention of your name, a positive thing for me.

I’m very proud, but also protective, of the practice I’ve built. I hope that I’ll look back on hiring you as one of my best moves.

Sincerely,

Your employer

The newbie’s response will be in a forthcoming column.