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Onboarding Checklist for Physicians and Nurses

May 21, 2020

Hiring a new practitioner is a complex process for many health care entities. For a physician or nurse signing on as a new provider, adjusting to a new workplace can also be difficult. A clear onboarding process can make the transition easier for everyone.

Although onboarding processes vary from one organization to another, every provider should have a clear idea of what steps need to be followed; after all, health care best practices don’t happen by accident. A checklist can help onboarding go more smoothly, and a streamlined onboarding process benefits the entire practice.

Why You Need a Physician and Nurse Onboarding Guide

A physician onboarding plan isn’t just nice to have, it’s a necessity. Some practices and practitioners may reason that their time is better spent on their area of expertise rather than learning about business processes. However, when onboarding is done right, it can lead to improved outcomes for everyone.

Here are a few benefits of a successful onboarding process:

  • Retention: Taking the time for health care onboarding in your practice creates the expectation that you care about staff being comfortable in their new environment. That, in turn, creates loyalty, which translates into better retention rates, saving money in the long run by reducing staff turnover.
  • Efficiency: Organizations of all sizes and makeups benefit from an established, consistent workflow. When everyone top-to-bottom follows the same procedures as outlined in your health care onboarding plan, new staff members will better understand the day-to-day processes more quickly.
  • Collaboration: When your new medical staff begins forming relationships early during the onboarding process, trust is established faster, especially when all staff members have received the same training and understand how to best work together.
  • Morale: In a medical practice, there’s always more to learn. A culture that prioritizes training and cooperation encourages progress and job satisfaction.
  • Patient satisfaction: If employees feel they are making an important contribution to the practice and enjoy working together, patients will notice.

During the interviews, a prospective practitioner may get a feel for an organization and its culture. But once the practitioner has signed a contract, every interaction from that point forward signals how the practitioner will be treated as a member of the practice.

A practitioner dissatisfied with the onboarding process is more likely to leave within the first year. This could negatively impact your practice’s culture, patient interaction, communication, and ultimately, your bottom line. This is why an onboarding plan for all new practitioners can make a significant difference.

Credentialing and Onboarding for Physicians and Nurses

Credentialing and privileging a new practitioner can take months. For a new physician, credentialing includes obtaining the following documentation:

  • State license
  • Board qualification/certification status
  • Surgical logs
  • Documentation of hospital privileges
  • 10-year insurance claims report
  • Updated curriculum vitae
  • ACLS/BLS certification
  • DEA certificate
  • Immunization records
  • School diploma
  • Professional reference(s)
  • Residency diploma
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card

For Physician Assistants and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, documentation is similar, but with several key differences. Credentialing is legally required if the practitioner will be performing direct patient care. It can include:

As part of health care onboarding best practices, most health care organizations begin the process of credentialing and privileging months before the new physician or nurse practitioner begins to practice. An organized process and a third-party solutions provider like Verisys can speed this process along. If most of the paperwork required for credentialing takes place online and in advance, delays or other issues can be resolved quickly, leaving more time for the rest of the onboarding process.

The same holds true for other parts of provider onboarding. Onboarding best practices include creating online portals so new physicians can supply as much documentation as possible prior to their first day of work. In the following Physician Onboarding Plan (which can also serve as a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner Plan), many elements can easily be uploaded to an online portal, leaving the provider and staff more time to focus on other practical aspects of onboarding.

Physician Onboarding Guide


  • Office materials, including prescription pads and stationery
  • Equipment such as medical supplies, lab coats, name tags, office space
  • Technology like a computer and equipment, software, email address, phone


  • Contracts
  • Bylaws, rules, and procedures
  • Hospital and office tours
  • Office schedule, on-call schedule
  • Meetings with practice manager
  • Front desk tour
  • HIPAA, OSHA, etc.
  • Administration procedures
  • Mission, vision, values, other organizational goals
  • Role expectations
  • Mentorship opportunities


  • Business cards
  • Appointment cards
  • Signage
  • Website updates such as photo, bio, video
  • Local media public relations
  • Social media campaign
  • Print mail campaign
  • Events to welcome new practitioner
  • Speaking engagements
  • Referring physician introductions
  • Updated phone greetings
  • Updated print and digital advertising
  • Advertising tasks such as photoshoots, print ads, billboards, digital campaign management
  • Membership in national and state health care organizations

Human Resources:

  • Offer acceptance letter
  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Immunizations
  • Tax forms
  • Employee handbook
  • Cell phone, keys, access badge, codes
  • Benefits selection and enrollment
  • Parking space
  • Contact lists
  • Direct deposit

Staff Integration:

  • Logins and training for phone, email, software, systems, computer
  • Introductions to staff
  • Coding, procedures, and billing
  • Observation of all areas of the practice and specialty
  • Meetings with the board, leadership, committees, etc.

This list is not an exhaustive one. Your onboarding health care plan may differ according to the needs and services of your practice, the type of practitioner you hire, and individual state laws.

New physicians and nurse practitioners will appreciate your attention to detail and your efforts to welcome them to the practice, which will be reflected in their level of service.

Verisys Saves You Time and Money

Health care onboarding can be a long and complicated process due to legal and regulatory requirements, but it’s a worthwhile investment for your employees, your practice, and your patients. Verisys can save you time and money by making your health care onboarding process much more efficient. With our data and technology, we can do the work behind the scenes to help you follow best practices in provider credentialing and onboarding.

Juliette Willard Written by Juliette Willard
Healthcare Communications Specialist
Being creative is my passion! Writer. Painter. Problem Solver. Optimist.
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