Interviewing physician extenders

Interview a physician extender almost the same way you would interview a physician. Diplomas, credentials, and résumés tell much of the technical story, so focus on issues like work ethic and patient care principles. Use the interview to evaluate a candidate’s empathetic nature and communication skills. Look for a willingness to follow established protocols, to document faithfully, and to stay safely within the boundaries of extending, not replacing, the physician.

As with most professional interviews, don’t close the discussion without an understanding of one another’s expectations. Determine and affirm that you both want to proceed, and obtain permission to contact references.

The most critical reference check is physician-to-physician. Ideally, the doctor who will supervise the extender should interview the previous supervising physicians to explore skills, personality, and work habits. If the candidate is coming from a hospital setting, contact coworkers and supervisors there. Some experts suggest contacting former patients if possible.

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