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Why this matters:

Before beginning any treatment or operation, an orthopedic surgeon must gather ample information about the patient’s medical history and symptoms to make a proper diagnosis. The candidate you hire should have a thorough, analytical diagnostic process to ensure best outcomes for patients and reduce errors.

What to listen for:

  • A blend of approaches that indicates a comprehensive diagnostic process, like reading prior medical histories, doing exams, and running tests
  • Strong listening skills and a patient-centric approach  
  • Willingness to consult colleagues and other specialists when necessary

Why this matters:

An orthopedic surgeon’s job doesn’t end with surgery. Sometimes patients need physical therapy or rehabilitation after a procedure, and they generally have follow-up appointments and check-ins. To facilitate a patient’s speedy recovery, candidates should understand best post-surgical practices and home care guidelines for patients.

What to listen for:

  • Best home care practices, like changing a dressing, taking medications as prescribed, and eating healthy foods
  • Clear directions that patients can easily follow    
  • Recognition that every case is different, and recommendations will vary depending on the circumstances

Why this matters:

In the medical profession, constant learning is critical, allowing physicians to stay informed on changing therapies, approaches, and overall best practices. Most doctors have to complete continuing education credits every few years to maintain their licensure. This question provides insight into the orthopedic candidates’ likelihood to meet their requirements and stay at the top of their game.

What to listen for:

  • Signs that the candidate stays abreast of developments and changes in the field
  • References to trade publications, specific journals, or conferences, indicating immersion in the profession 
  • Ability to communicate complex orthopedic topics in a manner accessible to patients

 

Why this matters:

Orthopedic surgeons rarely work in isolation. A team of nurses and fellow doctors help ensure all goes smoothly in the operating room while scribes and medical assistants help manage a busy caseload in the office. To maintain a positive internal culture, look for a candidate who will get along well with the rest of your team and is willing to listen to others’ opinions.

What to listen for:

  • Signs of good interpersonal skills, including the ability to listen, communicate, and collaborate with others
  • Indication that the candidate is a team player 
  • Recognition that the accomplishment was a team effort and not one person’s doing

Why this matters:

Conflict resolution is a regular part of any doctor’s job. In addition to facing potential disagreements with colleagues about treatments and diagnoses for patients, orthopedists often encounter pushback from patients’ families and patients themselves. A candidate who can gracefully resolve these disagreements will benefit the entire team in the long run.

What to listen for:

  • A willingness to consider other viewpoints
  • Conflict resolution skills, like acknowledging the validity of others’ opinions
  • Signs that the candidate can empathize with those who disagree with them and respond to conflict with patience

Why this matters:

In an ideal world, every case and operation would proceed smoothly. In reality, mistakes and surprises pop up for even the most seasoned orthopedic surgeons. What’s important is that the candidate is able to confront these challenges, exercise humility in circumstances when they are wrong, and learn from their mistakes.

What to listen for:

  • Perseverance in the face of difficulty and an eagerness to solve hard problems
  • A willingness to ask for others’ help or get a second opinion when appropriate
  • Indication that the candidate has learned from previous mistakes and roadblocks

Why this matters:

With long shifts that can stretch into the night and weekend, as well as important daily responsibilities, medicine can be a tough profession. Orthopedic surgeons spend much of the day on their feet and are often on call, making their jobs even more taxing. To avoid burnout, it’s important the candidate has healthy strategies for coping with the demands of the job.

What to listen for:

  • Good stress management practices like exercise, meditation, or outdoor activity 
  • Willingness to unplug from work and technology
  • Signs that the candidate values their well-being and prioritizes mental health

Why this matters:

Providing exceptional patient care requires both treating physical ailments and ensuring patients feel seen and heard. An orthopedist should be willing to listen to patients’ concerns and worries, especially regarding surgery. While they should trust their medical training when making a final recommendation, it’s important to empathize with the patient and take their feelings into consideration.

What to listen for:

  • Empathy for the patients’ discomfort or fear regarding an operation 
  • Suggestion to set up a one-on-one meeting with the patient to discuss their concerns in greater detail
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills

Why this matters:

At the end of the day, you want an employee who’s not only in it for the money but also dedicated to the work they do. A strong intrinsic desire to better peoples’ lives can help orthopedic surgeons get through difficult days, and a self-motivated individual will be a strong asset to your organization.

What to listen for:

  • A true devotion to helping people and a desire to make a difference
  • Interest in solving complex problems and confronting challenges  
  • Passion for the field of medicine and providing high-quality healthcare
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