Mentoring is an art form developed in the United States in the 1970s within large private companies and corporations and is used to support junior staff. Since the 1990s, mentoring programs have emerged in various medical professions, most frequently in the field of nursing though, rather than physician practice. Formal mentoring programs for medical students and doctors did not develop until the late 1990s (Buddeberg-Fisher and Herta 2006).



Despite the availability of other satisfying or more lucrative career opportunities for the bright and altruistic, admissions to medical schools remain desirable and competitive, thanks largely to an influx of talented and qualified female and minority applicants.  Premedical and medical education has always been stressfully competitive and a financial burden. "Stress in medical school" even merits its own individual entry on Wikipedia.



For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to become a doctor. However, I did not realize all the challenges I would have to face in order to make my dreams come true, and I also did not know who I was going to meet along the way to help me become a successful medical student.  When I was reapplying to medical school, I was told gaining more clinical experience could strengthen my application. I reached out to as many physicians as I could in order to shadow them.


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What can be done?

Communication is the key. We see our staff more than we see our families. Just like families you must deal with some difficult personalities. Families members however, are much more difficult to remove.     

When it comes to practice growth new faces of patients is a good thing, but not when those new faces are staff members. The constant revolving door of office and medical staff is killing more practices now than ever before.

The success of today’s medical practice is not only measured in the accounts receivables and overhead, but the cost of office conflict.

You cannot avoid conflict and disagreements within the office. That is human nature. The problem is when conflict is dealt with as opposition instead of opportunity.  At times, every office needs to change the mindset of the staff, and sometimes the Physician may need a change of mindset also.

Physicians are not only required to practice medicine, but practice good business as well. The revolving door is a big business expense that can often be avoided. The upset of employees leaving and the stress of training new employees is disruptive to any office. The Center for American Progress estimates that for workers earning less than $50,000 annually, it will cost physicians approximately 20% of that employee’s salary to find a replacement.

Believe me when I say that your patients notice when the familiar faces are no longer there. When this happens too often, some of your patients begin to worry about the competency of care. When they must re-explain everything to someone new each time they call


your office they tend to start looking for another physician.

It is far more cost effective and a stress reliever to deal with conflict in a way that fixes a problem. Firing is not always fixing. Addressing the issue is fixing.

Discussing the issues that come to your attention with your staff and asking for ideas is the best practice. Often a pattern is emerging. If you want the best staff give them a voice and listen to what they say and how they say it. Value them as an employee, and they will add value to your practice. Everyone just wants to be heard, and little will change until they are heard and understood.

To understand what is going on in your practice you need to understand what your staff is doing and why. Not everyone handles a task the same way, one size does not fit all when it comes to the way people work. You must intervene when patient care, morale of staff, your reputation, or finances are at risk.  It is your administrator’s job to have a finger on the pulse of the office. That can be a difficult task when added to the multitude of tasks they are already faced with. It is even more difficult if the issue causing the conflict turns out to be one of your partners, the administrator, or perhaps even you. However, it still must be addressed, and the way it is approached is crucial.


Dr. Dani Vandiviere is a conflict and bullying specialist and CEO of Summit Conflict Resolutions and Trainings. She is the President of the Bluegrass Continuity of Care Association, a founding member of KY Association of Senior Services, a member Association for Gerontology, and an Elder Care Conflict Trainer and Mediator. She also offers training programs for the workers in the Eldercare industry, medical professional, elder’s families, organizations and businesses.

To learn more contact Dr. Dani at, or 859-305-1900.