Hiring Your First Clinician, Part 3

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You are in the home stretch of hiring a new clinician to your private practice, which is very exciting! If you haven’t read Hiring Your First Clinician, Part 1, and Hiring Your First Clinician Part 2, I suggest reading these articles first so that you’re caught up with where you are in the hiring process. Now, let’s talk about onboarding and training your new clinician:

Set a Start Date

Before offering the job, get an idea about how you’re going to onboard your new clinician, and when their start date will be. Having a concrete timeline of when things are due to you, and when you need to get things done can help ease some of the chaos of getting new staff onboard.

For example, I have a 2-month onboarding process. It is broken down into two parts, with dates of getting required documentation to me by each due date. I try to remember that in most instances, my new clinician has a job and cannot devote multiple hours per week to get me everything I need right away. Plus, I need some time to review everything and do the things needed to get that person set up with my practice. If you’ve never onboarded or trained a new clinician before, know that it will take much more time than originally anticipated.

Create Lists

Here are several things that I need back from my clinicians before their start date:

  • Independent Contractor Agreement signed, dated, and notarized
  • BAA (Business Associate Agreement)
  • Liability insurance certificate
  • Copy of license(s) and NPI number
  • Times/days they are available to work
  • Name, address, and EIN of their business (for Independent Contractors only)
  • CAQH number and date CAQH application is done (if applying for insurance panels)
  • Bio for website listing and online directories
  • W-9

This list is not exhaustive, and you may come up with even more things that you need from your new clinicians. Write down everything you can think of, and realize that you’ll most likely have forgotten a few things. For hiring employees, your list may look different.

Identify Training Needs

Once you have a start date set and you’ve provided a list of things needed to your new clinician, identify training requirements and create a training document. Try to put yourself in your new clinician’s mindset, and think about what they need to learn to get to where you are now.

There are some obvious things to train your new clinician on, like learning your EHR, getting an office and building orientation, and how to contact you. Think about details such as what calendar will they use for scheduling, and who gets access to it? Or creating an email signature similar to yours – if you give them an email address. Write down everything you can think of that your new clinician might need training on.

Training Guide

Now you’re ready to create a training plan. You have everything listed, so devise a training guide with each activity listed on it. Also assign who does the training if you have someone other than yourself helping with that, and when each training activity will take place.

Will you do one 3-hour training/orientation block, or break it up into several smaller sessions? Are you doing in-person training, virtually, or sending them pre-recorded videos or documents? Ideally, a combination of several types of training appeals to different learning styles. Therefore, you may need to adjust how you provide your new clinician with all the information they must know.

And voila – you’re almost there! You are so close to really getting started on creating your group practice. You now have an idea of the onboarding process for your new therapist, and you’re likely in the midst of hiring a ideal clinician to your private practice and training them. All that hard work is finally going to start paying off, and you’ll have someone to share your private practice with. How exciting! Great work!

Shannon Heers is a licensed professional counselor in Colorado. She owns the private-pay group practice Catalyss Counseling in the Denver metro area, focusing on helping adults manage their anxiety, grief, and trauma. Shannon is also an experienced clinical supervisor and manager and is just starting to offer business consultation services to other therapists. She balances working with raising her two young children.