Dealing With Workplace Pressure in your Medical Billing and Coding Job

Medical billing and coding jobs are high-pressure. Here's how to cut the tension and get along in this kind of environment...

If you've ever worked in a high-stress environment, you know how these work situations can make iffy relationships even worse. Before you know it, your work relationships can deteriorate so much that your old best friend is now your worst enemy.

Some work situations can get so bad that the stress causes you health problems and anxiety attacks.

Small medical offices are no different. Even in large facilities like hospitals, there are small groups of employees who work closely together on a daily basis.

When these groups get along well it's wonderful - what a great work environment! Going to lunch together, spending time off together, and helping people through their problems at work can create lifelong friendships.

When these relationships sour, however, it can be dreadful. Gossip, power struggles, favoritism, personal issues, and even sometimes simple personality differences can compound normal situations into awful workplace environments.

Some of the problems

There are several potential problems which may occur in your medical billing job

There are a few problems that are like dynamite in the workplace. Once you light the fuse, it's extremely difficult to calm the situation down...

  • Gossip: Perhaps one of the most prevalent and toxic habits of coworkers is gossip.

    From small offices to large facilities, gossip spreads like wildfire and can burn bridges and friendships just as quickly.< Just like high school, gossip travels fast and is sometimes unnecessarily vicious.

    The toxic results of gossiping about your coworkers cannot be overstated. When gossip goes unchecked, otherwise healthy work environments can turn stressful, unhappy, and unhealthy.

  • Favoritism: Everyone knows how awful it is to be passed over for someone else, especially if it's due to favoritism. This is especially bad in the workplace, where favoritism can lead to varying rates of pay, special privileges, and possibly unreasonable punishment or promotion.

    Favoritism can make work situations so poisonous that they are practically impossible to maintain. Favoritism is the opposite of a healthy work environment, in which each employee is valued for their individual work, and functions as a team to complete daily responsibilities.

  • Power Struggles: A power struggle in the medical industry is typically between one or more of the office or business managers, and results in an open (or concealed) battle between who makes the business or practice management decisions.

    Although not all of the employees in the office will be involved in a power struggle, this type of situation can leave the entire office or facility looking for guidance, support, and direction, and can ultimately result in the failure of the entire business.

  • Talking too much: In each office, there is always at least one person who can talk all day long, about everything except work. This causes people to get their work done slowly and inefficiently. You have to prevent it before it becomes a larger problem, such as gossip.

  • There are several potential problems which may occur in your medical billing job
  • Stress: Stress can make you act in strange ways, including having anxiety attacks, health problems, differences in mood, differences in behavior, and absentmindedness.

    If you are stressed out, whether or not because of your medical billing and coding job, the quality of your work and work day will diminish.

  • Personality Differences: Sometimes people just don't get along.

    Unfortunately, if you work with someone that you don't get along with, you'll either have to...

    1. learn to deal with it
    2. continue to be miserable
    3. or get out of the situation.

    Luckily, if you can maintain your distance, as well as an understanding (that you agree to disagree), these types of differences can sometimes be manageable.

What do you do?

If you have any of the above situations, you'll need to consciously change the situation to make it a more reasonable work environment.

It's hard to maintain your daily responsibilities when you're worried about the nurse down the hall that hates your guts, or the receptionist that can do whatever she wants and get away with it.

In these circumstances, you cannot drop down to gossiping, spreading rumors, or just reverting to being miserable.

You have to make the change so that the entire office can be involved in creating a better workplace environment.

There are several potential problems which may occur in your medical billing job

Here are some tips:

  • First, make sure that you're not the problem.

    You need to really consider that fact that you may be the one spreading rumors or bringing your personal problems to work with you. Ask a trusted friend or office manager if there is anything you can do to improve your own attitude.

  • Just as importantly, stay away from gossip!

    It may be interesting to talk about your coworkers, their boyfriends, and who they went out with last night, but these types of conversations are best left for outside of work, with your personal friends.

  • Don't bring your personal issues to work with you. If you interact rudely with your coworkers because you're thinking of an argument you had with your spouse last night, you'll alienate the entire office. Try to leave your personal problems at the door, so you don't compound them into work problems.

  • Set ground rules with your friends at work. Don't let them think that you are ignoring them or are mad at them if you can't talk due to work responsibilities. A simple comment like "I'm so busy, let's talk this weekend" can help ease an overly talkative coworker into silence so you can get your work done.

  • If conflicts are getting worse and they don't seem to be easing up, you need to have a meeting with the upper management.

    Everyone has different personal issues with everyone else. Often some conflicts are due to different conflict with completely different people.

If a certain problem is just getting worse and worse, you need to have an open meeting with everyone involved in the conflict, as well as the upper management. Usually, this will get all the emotions out on the table.

The Worst-Case Scenario

Yes, there'll always be a worst-case scenario. Sometimes, problems will work themselves out, or can be managed with some simple rule or responsibility changes.

Other times there's nothing you can do.

Some office personnel spend just as much time with their coworkers as with their families (if not more). You owe it to yourself to enjoy a healthy work environment. If you've tried absolutely everything and still can't resolve the situation, you may unfortunately have to consider different employment.

Before you come to such a decision, though, weigh all the pros and cons of your current situation, as well as other options.

If you're stuck where you are because you need further education or certification, it may be time for you to buckle down and get that new medical billing and coding certificate. If you enjoy special perks in your current position, consider if it's worth losing those for a better work environment (especially when it comes to pay changes).

Ultimately, though, try to consider that you deserve to work in a happy, friendly, and healthy work environment. Just because doctor's offices and hospitals are stressful doesn't mean you have to be stressed out all the time too!

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