Professional Development: Staff Training Never Stops
By Ellen Terry

1.31 professional developmentWhen can you check staff training off your to-do list? Never, if you want your practice to run at its best, says TMA practice consultant Yvonne Mounkhoune.

After a new employee has gone through orientation, HIPAA and other mandatory training, plus as-needed training — such as how to use new technology — it’s easy to think he or she is fully ready to work. But if you’re not providing professional development, your new hires might not meet their full potential. 

Cross-training employees is one example. Cross-training helps employees see the bigger picture of how your practice operates, which helps them do their own job better, at the same time giving you a staff member who can fill in when another has time off. Or, having a well-trained medical assistant perform administrative and clinical duties may free up the physician to concentrate more on the patient during a visit, says the American Medical Association’s Steps Forward program. 

 “Professional development may not immediately translate directly into work-related tasks, but it will increase professionalism and result in improved performance for your practice,” Ms. Mounkhoune says in her new book, Recipes for a Happy Staff. “Training should happen throughout the employment of your staff and stimulate them to learn new knowledge, skills, and techniques or styles for working in their particular area of practice.”

“A misguided belief shared by many managers is that if you hire competent people and pay them competitive wages, they will perform well indefinitely,” the Journal of Oncology Practice said in a 2010 article on staff development. “Managers often do not understand the connection between performance and personal development.”

What is professional development? As described by BusinessDictionary, it is the “process of improving and increasing capabilities of staff through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace, through outside organizations, or through watching others perform the job.”

"Employees who are given the opportunity to build their skillset are more collaborative and feel valued,” says blogger Matthew Bates

According to Ms. Mounkhoune, professional development:  

  • Can expose staff to new ideas and new research, which in turn stimulates their own creativity and effectiveness;
  • Helps keep staff interested and excited about the work they are doing;
  • Provides another reason for staff to stay with your practice; and
  • Helps your practice grow and change, which helps you maintain a healthy, effective organization.   

“Professional development tends to be more costly than other trainings, so perhaps offering one professional development opportunity per year might be plausible for smaller practices,” Ms. Mounkhoune says.

Recipes for a Happy Staff is available in the TMA Education Center.

More Ways TMA Can Help  

  • TMA Practice Consulting offers a wide variety of assessment and staff training services designed to promote practice efficiency and staff satisfaction. Contact a consultant for more information at (800) 523-8776 or[at]texmed[dot]org.
  • Explore the TMA Education Center for webinars and publications you can use for low-cost, in-house staff professional development, and live seminars for more in-depth education.
  • Visit for more tools and resources to help you develop a great staff for your practice. 


Last Updated On

February 28, 2018

Ellen Terry

Project Manager, Client Services

(512) 370-1391

Ellen Terry has been writing, editing, and managing communication projects at TMA since 2000. She hails from Victoria, Texas; has a journalism degree from Texas State University; and loves to read great fiction. Ellen and her husband have two grown sons and a couple of cats.

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