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You have a staffing emergency.

You’re already short-staffed, and you just received word that a key member of your private practice just put in his or her notice.

Go ahead. Panic. But make it quick, and certainly don’t act in desperation.

You have a golden opportunity in front of you so long as you approach this challenge with a level head and a long-term vision. Don’t cut corners, and if you play your cards right, your half-empty glass is liable to take on a half-full appearance.

But getting there is going to take some commitment.

While you might feel slightly over-your-head for a time, don’t be tempted to start cancelling appointments. Instead, consider modifying your schedule to accommodate a greater flow of patients. Offer employees incentives and bonuses to work additional hours – over lunch and into the evening, for instance – and perhaps take on a heavier load of clients.

Such workarounds will buy you time, offering you some flexibility as you start a methodical candidate search, one that will result in an employee that fits in with the culture and the long-term goals of your practice.

Don’t just take the first, seemingly qualified candidate who walks in the door.

In the meantime, consider this an opportunity to move one of your current employees into a managerial or supervisory role. While the loss of staff members is never fun, it offers an opportunity to reward those who have remained loyal and committed to your private practice.

In part two of this four-part series, we’ll talk about getting the word out about your open position.