How much do you do?

How much do you do?

You're more than your title. And a job description may be the tool you need to clarify your manager's expectations and position yourself for growth in your practice, from raises to promotions.
Jun 01, 2008

You might share a job title with two or 20 team members at your practice. But your list of daily responsibilities may be as unique as you are and depends on your skills and the practice you work at. You might not even realize the depth and breadth of your duties—and often your managers don't either.

So why should you care? Job descriptions ensure you understand the job you're supposed to do. Clear expectations also help you measure your performance, especially during performance reviews.

When you're job hunting, job descriptions help you decide whether the position is one you want. And when managers can discuss specific job details with candidates, they can determine whether they're a good fit for the position and the practice. They also help managers recognize your training needs. Your practice may have managed without job descriptions for years, but all businesses benefit from using them.

How to use a job description

You might work for a practice that doesn't use job descriptions. Or perhaps no one has seen the descriptions since someone wrote them five years ago. But this is an important tool to help define what you do.

First, your job description is a great tool to help you communicate with your boss. Whether it's to help clarify her expectations or to support your request for a raise, a detailed list of your responsibilities will shine a light on what you do each day.

And knowing what you and your co-workers do can also help improve your practice's systems. This is valuable in clinics where duties aren't assigned, tasks fall through the cracks, and everyone takes the heat when jobs don't get done. You'll also uncover areas where training could improve your performance.

Finally, developing your job description gives you a chance to assess your strengths and weaknesses and what you really like to do. It's a form of career planning, and it can help you choose a career path in your current practice or another.

What does it look like?

Not sure where to start? Your job description should include these components:

  • Position title and purpose. This is usually straightforward—receptionist, technician, practice manager. But if you're in a large practice, you might need to be more specific. For example, you're a surgery technician who provides patient care and doctor assistance for surgery and during recovery.
  • Who you work for. Who do you help regularly? Most team members will work for several bosses—the practice manager; one or more owners, associates, or other managers; and team leaders.
  • Duties and responsibilities. Here's where this process gets tough. Record every task you tackle. Include technical skills, such as administering injections, answering the phone, and invoicing clients. And also note tasks that require interpersonal skills, such as handling difficult clients and training new employees.

Once you've recorded every task you can think of, carry the list in your pocket for a week. Pay attention to the work you do and add missing tasks to the list. Also try to capture tasks you only perform a few times a year, such as helping with year-end inventory counts or visiting a school for career day.

  • Minimum requirements. What education, experience, skills, and personal characteristics do you possess? Which are required to do your job? What additional education, experiences, skills, and traits would help you do your job?
  • Physical and mental abilities. What specific capabilities do you need to do your job? Do you need basic math skills? Or the ability to lift 50-pound dogs?