How to handle a request to attend an employment meeting

Jul 7, 2014

It’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do if you are asked to meet with your employer. As a Doctor in Training (DiT), you may feel anxious, but these tips should make the process a little easier and less daunting.

Should I seek advice?

Yes. You should seek advice from Avant or another adviser.

Do I have to attend the meeting?

Generally, yes. Your employer can request you to attend a meeting to discuss matters related to your employment.

Depending on the issues being discussed at the meeting, it may be better for you to provide a written response to your employer. This is something you should discuss with Avant or your adviser.

What should I know before the meeting?

Some questions that you might want to ask include

  • Who will be at the meeting? 
  •  What is the meeting about?
  • Where and when will the meeting be?
  • Are there any relevant documents and, if so, can you provide them to me?
Can I take someone with me to the meeting?

Yes, you should take a support person with you to the meeting.

How should I respond to questions during the meeting?
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, say “I don’t know.” Don’t guess the answer.
  • If you don’t understand the question, ask for it to be repeated or explained.
  • Keep your answers short and concise (for example, say “yes” or “no” and go no further)
  • Do not volunteer information
  • Be accurate
  • Do not exaggerate
  • State the basis for your comments if relevant (for example, “I observed …” or “I heard…” or “Dr x told me that …” or “I measured the heart rate by x and recorded it to be y”)
  • Do not agree with something unless you know it to be true from your own direct observations
  • Do not speculate (for example, “I may have done that because …”). If asked to speculate, it is OK to say that you don’t know
  • If you think there is a record relevant to what you are being asked, request a copy of it (for example, time sheets, clinical records, appointment diaries showing failures to attend). You should not answer the question without first reviewing the record
  • If you need to review a patient’s record to refresh your memory about why you made a clinical decision, then request the time and opportunity to do so – somewhere quiet without interruption or pressure.
My employer wants to meet with me immediately. What should I do?

You should tell you employer that you would like to take a support person with you to the meeting. You should try to find a support person at short notice.

You should listen to what is said during the meeting but you should not feel compelled to respond to matters immediately if you need some time to think about things.

Can I take a break during the meeting?

Yes. If you feel that you need a break, you should ask for a short adjournment of the meeting.

What should I do after the meeting?
  • Make a file note of the matters that were discussed during the meeting
  • Follow up on any matters that you promised to address during the meeting
  • Seek further advice if you think the matter will go further.
What else should I do?

It’s important for you to look after your own health and wellbeing. You should seek emotional support from your treating medical practitioner or other professional if you are feeling anxious and stressed. You can also call Avant’s Personal Support Program on 1300 360 364 for confidential counselling.

Learn more

For more tips download Avant’s factsheet: ‘What to do when requested to attend an employment meeting.’




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