Hygienists Speak Up for Change in the Dental Office
In the April 23rd issue of RDH eVillage a question was asked of its readers: “What is the one thing you would change in your dental office today if you had the wherewithal to accomplish it?” The responses came from all over the country and are too numerous to address in this limited space, but you can read some of the comments HERE.
In a recent meeting with “Mattie” and “Justi”, two hygienists that I have known for many years, I asked them to choose a couple responses from the survey that they felt were important and comment on them. The following is the response from the survey and the comments voiced by these hygienists.
Response to survey: The office politics is a problem, as is the cattiness of other female coworkers. For as many years as I have been in dentistry, this seems to be in every office the No. 1 reason why good employees leave and bad ones always stay. Dentists just don't get it.
Opinion of Mattie: Some offices have their cliques of “mean girls” or there is the entitled “queen bee” who has been there for many years. It is the reason why I do not make suggestions that I feel would improve patient acceptance of periodontal care and restorative treatment. If I were treated like the professional provider that I am, I could make a difference there. I would like to be involved in identifying the concerns and be able to offer a game plan as to how to solve the issue with the genuine input from the rest of the team. I feel like an outsider.
Opinion of Justi: I try to be friendly to everyone and not take sides. It is a stress that I don’t need and I want to be able to focus on the patient’s needs. When two of the female staff ask for my opinion of why the doctor always runs over on patients, I suggest that they ask the doctor for a meeting to discuss the issue. No one wants to make waves for fear of losing their jobs or being labeled a trouble maker, so the complaining never stops.
Response to survey: I would change my employers view on spending money! The equipment needs to be updated or at least make needed repairs. This would include purchasing needed supplies on a timely basis so we don’t run out. The office looks dilapidated. It gives a look that the office is not doing well financially.
Opinion of Mattie: The instruments provided by the doctor are old and sharpened beyond acceptable, but I keep using them until I cannot any longer and then I get replacements. There is always the “you want what?” and the conversation will turn to “are you selling scaling and root planing?”
Opinion of Justi: The frustration with equipment failures during the procedure is hard on the hygienist and the patient. Time wrestling with the ultra-sonic unit or the handpiece that won’t turn or a leaking hose takes time away from the patient and makes the practice look ill-prepared and unprofessional. Many patients today want digital x-rays, and if the office does not offer this service, patients question over-exposure to radiation. In one office the décor is from the late 1980s and the furniture is frayed and faded. The staff there and the doctor don’t notice it, but because I am in other offices that have style and new creative colors and design, their office looks very old and outdated. It is hard to sell high end services there, as the atmosphere is mediocre at best.
Dental hygienists are not only producers for the practice, they are critical to positive growth through patient education and vital to the success of the dental team. A subject of team meetings could be an educational segment provided by the dental hygienist or hygienists so that other members of the team can come to an understanding of the value they bring to the patients in the practice.
If asked to respond to the same question, it is likely that other team members would have many ideas as to how they would bring change for the better to their dental practices.
For professional business training in communication to create team harmony and understanding, call McKenzie Management today at (877) 777-6151.Forward this article to a friend
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