physician standing at the top of a mountain with a question mark working on overcoming onboarding challenges as a physician
physician standing at the top of a mountain with a question mark working on overcoming onboarding challenges as a physician

Overcoming onboarding challenges as a physician

Read PracticeLink articles from Georgia Scott
Georgia Scott

Table of Contents

Remember what it was like when you first started working on your resume? All of the excitement built around future aspirations and how that resume was going to lead to your dream job. Then once you got into it, you realized how tough it was to get the design or wording or overall flow just right. Ultimately, however, you succeeded because your well-crafted resume found its way to a physician recruiter.

Well done!

Now for the interview process. That first interview will be exciting! The hiring manager will be super friendly and even though the questions might be a little tough, the vibe will be so incredible that you will know this organization is right for you! By the third, fourth or fifth interview, however, the process may start to feel tedious and you might begin musing over ways to tell them just where they can put their stinking job. Thankfully, however, you will keep your mouth shut and make it through. Once you’re hired (and you WILL get hired), you will be engrossed in what this new chapter of your life will bring.

But wait! You still have to get through onboarding. The vast tundra of bureaucracy known as onboarding encompasses everything from menial tasks like tax, health insurance and benefits forms to fast-paced assignments associated with training. In between are several “hurry up and wait” requirements such as fingerprinting and multiple background checks.

You might be lucky enough to join a healthcare organization that has mastered the art of onboarding. And then again, you might not. For those of you who find yourselves plowing and trudging through onboarding with angst, there is a way to turn things around and get through it with aplomb.

The first thing to do is take a step back. If you’re really at the depths of your limit, maybe take two or three. From there, allow for a bit of self-reflection: assess the situation, take a moment to acknowledge you have every right to feel uneasy or angry, and then challenge yourself to name the source of those feelings. Once you’ve named it, deal with it.

Here are six common sources of volatile emotions, and how to deal with them when overcoming onboarding challenges as a physician:

Pride… Swallow it.

It is always good to feel deeply satisfied with your own achievements. After all, the special qualities you possess, and the physician skills you’ve honed have been widely admired for years. But if you allow your pride to define you to such a degree that you think you don’t need training or that you don’t like to be told what to do, then you could end up choking on all that self-worth. Instead of clinging too tightly to how accomplished you are, embrace the challenge of all the accomplishments you have yet to achieve. Challenge yourself to swallow your pride, get through training, and learn as much as you can from those around you.

Exuberance… Take it down a notch

Too much happiness can make you less focused, less creative, and less tolerable to be around. When starting a new job, being overly exuberant can raise your expectations to unreasonable heights. From there, it makes the doldrums of reality unfairly bleak and disappointing. It’s great to be excited about your new job, but it’s important to recognize that being too excited can actually make you unhappy. Try to reign it in by ranking some experiences that legitimately make you happy, then rank training in the appropriate notch.

Judgment… Don’t be a snob

Sometimes, training can feel beneath us. And why not? We are superior creatures with excellent resumes and any organization would be lucky to have us. While that might be true, being judgmental—thinking, speaking or behaving in a manner that screams your contempt for the task at hand—just makes you look like a snob. Presumably, everyone in your new healthcare organization has a strong background, and some might even rival yours. Training and onboarding, however, are not about your past. They are meant to help sustain your future, so everything great about you can shine.

Impatience… Relax

Allow yourself to clear your mind, breathe, and then focus on your breathing. Not your watch. Not your phone. Not the terrible tie or ugly socks the person next to you is wearing. And certainly not on all the other things you could be doing instead of whatever annoying onboarding task you’ve been assigned. (And also, no more thinking of it as annoying.)

Confusion… Ask questions

Asking questions helps build rapport and can encourage a closer relationship. Not necessarily with another person but with the task and process at hand. Questions not only answer something you didn’t know, but can also help make the task more likable, and even inspire you to approach it in a more innovative or creative way.

Boredom… Snap out of it

Change your point of view. Have you ever looked through a prism? The world around you doesn’t change, but the prism gives it a new dimension of color and light. That’s the same with boredom. Your perception that onboarding and training are boring and, perhaps even meaningless is affected by personal circumstances, ideas, and opinions. If you can change your point of view and manage to look at it through a life-affirming prism of change and motivation, it will yield a new dimension of nuance to the onboarding process that you might even enjoy.


Once you get through onboarding, that new chapter of your life will begin in earnest. Hopefully, it will be a great experience, full of lasting friendships, memories and success. You deserve it!

Read PracticeLink articles from Georgia Scott

Georgia Scott

Easy to Register >> Control your visibility >> 100% free

Take control of your Job Search

Recommended PracticeLink Magazine Blogs

images of what to expect from physician onboarding images of what to expect from physician onboarding
PracticeLink MagazineNovember 9, 2023
What to expect from physician onboarding
Starting a position in a new practice can be exciting – and scary. The onboarding process is a crucial phase
A puzzle showing different physicians integrating into a new physician practice A puzzle showing different physicians integrating into a new physician practice
PracticeLink MagazineNovember 21, 2023
Integrating into a new physician practice
Embarking on a new chapter in your career journey is both thrilling and anxiety-inducing. But this transition can be made