The importance of job descriptions

Ask a physician leader what his or her job is, and you might get a blank stare. Eventually a vague description may follow such as, "Leading the medical staff," or "Running the department." Is it any wonder that some physicians perform their leadership roles poorly? We haven't taken the time to fully inform them of everything these important roles entail. We haven't provided them with a job description.

You wouldn't hire an individual for your organization without providing him or her with a job description. The person you hire wouldn't know what to do. You wouldn't know if the person is a good fit for the job. And once they were doing the job, you wouldn't know if they were doing it well. All of these are common problems that arise for physician leaders because medical staffs generally do not provide a written job description for each of the significant medical staff leadership positions.

If you want to help a physician perform successfully in a medical staff leadership role, you must develop a written job description for that role. The job description will establish and communicate clear expectations. Once a physician knows what is expected of him or her, he or she is likely to devote 110% to meeting or exceeding that expectation.

Job descriptions should clearly:

  • Identify to whom the medical staff leader is accountable
  • List the medical staff leader's responsiblities in that position
  • Define the expectations of the medical staff leader in regard to peer review and quality improvement, credentialing and privileging, governance, administration, and communication