Toxic Mindsets in Ambulatory Medicine: „Employees are only interested in salary!“

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

Two-thirds of medical and dental assistants complain of little to no appreciation of their work by practice owners. More than salary, this very behavior increases motivation, commitment and loyalty to the practice.

Promoting commitment

There are several reasons why appreciation is so important in managing staff in medical practices. First, it promotes staff self-esteem. When staff feel that their work is valued, it increases their self-confidence and job satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to greater motivation to work and a willingness to perform.

Termination prevention

Second, appreciation leads to higher employee retention at a practice company. When they feel valued, they are more likely to make a long-term commitment and work toward its goals. As a result, turnover is reduced and practice owners can count on a loyal and motivated workforce.

Improving the work climate

Third, appreciation also promotes communication and trust between physician and professional staff. When the physician acknowledges the accomplishments and competencies of the , an open and constructive exchange is encouraged. The staff feels heard and understood, which subsequently improves cooperation and promotes a positive working atmosphere.

Why appreciation often fails to materialize

Five reasons are responsible for practice owners not showing enough appreciation to their female staff:

  • Time pressure: Physicians often have a lot on their plate and can feel stressed, which leads them to not take enough time to adequately appreciate staff performance.
  • Lack of sensitivity: some practice owners may not be very attentive or empathetic, and therefore may not recognize the importance of acknowledging and supporting their staff.
  • High expectations: When medical professionals have very high expectations of their staff, they tend to focus solely on results and neglect the importance of appreciation.
  • Fear of weakness: Some physicians may fear that they will show weakness if they praise their staff and therefore refrain from showing appreciation.
  • Lack of skills: Others may not have learned how to praise and support effectively, so they have difficulty expressing appropriate appreciation.

How physicians can show appreciation.

Specifically, a physician can best express appreciation to his or her professional staff by

  • Regularly praising and acknowledging when excellent work is done,
  • communicating openly and respectfully, both in personal and professional situations,
  • Responding to and taking seriously the needs and concerns of his or her employees,
  • Provides time and resources for continuing education and training,
  • Listens and actively listens when female employees provide feedback or suggestions,
  • pays a fair and reasonable salary and also supports an appropriate work-life balance; and
  • creates an open, friendly and respectful work environment where staff enjoy working and feel comfortable.


Overall, then, appreciation is an important factor in successful physician staff management by

  • Promoting motivation, commitment and loyalty
  • Increasing productivity and fostering the work climate, as well as by providing a
  • „protection against dismissal.“

Therefore, primary care physicians, specialists and dentists should consistently demonstrate appreciation and consider it an integral part of their leadership role. Practice owners who would like to check whether they have already succeeded in this and are interested in parallel in examining all other action areas of their practice management for unused opportunities for improvement, can use the Practice Management Comparison© for this purpose.