Hygienists Role at the Morning Meeting
Morning meetings are a very important part of your day, as they allow the entire staff to be together and talk openly about the day's schedule. The amount of time and energy spent preparing for the morning meeting will determine whether the day will go by easily or be stressful and chaotic.
Oftentimes meetings consist of one person going over the schedule for the day, the daily goals are discussed, and then the meeting is over. During this time, I will look around to see who is really listening. The rest of the team does not have any input or give any specific information, and when the goals are gone over, it is just a number that nothing is really done with. Let's take a look at how a hygienist may prepare for the morning meeting to make it more effective.
Hygienists should be reviewing the next day hygiene patient charts the night before, or arriving to work early enough to go through them the day of their appointment. Any notes required should be written down, either on an appointment view of the appointment book for the schedule that day, or on the patient's individual route slip.
When the hygienist goes through the patient's charts, she should be looking not only at what is scheduled for the day, but also at what is not on the schedule. For instance, what was the notation made at the last visit for the reason to return? Are there any large or old fillings that the doctor is monitoring in case they crack or break, and should the intraoral camera be used to look at these fillings closer with the doctor and patient? Is there treatment pending that should have a picture taken to show the patient? Is the patient's periodontal disease under control or is s/he a candidate to have root planing or be referred out to a periodontist according to the office policy? Should this patient have an adult fluoride based on their dental treatment in the past? Then, make sure that the patient is not due to have a full mouth series of x-rays instead of the BWX that may be in the schedule.
The hygienist should be responsible for having all of this information together and should discuss it at the morning meeting. The hygienist can also bring up any scheduling concerns, such as times throughout the day when s/he may need help from other team members, or times when s/he may be able to help someone else. The hygienist may need help with recording probings on a patient, or may be able to give anesthetic to one of the doctor's patients to help the day go smoother. As the hygienist goes over her charts, other staff members can interject any additional information they may have.
If there are any last-minute changes in the schedule for the day, the entire team will be able to think of a way to possibly fill any openings. This is one of many reasons that it is recommended to use and have the routing forms with you at the meeting. By looking at the routing forms, the team members will be able to see if somebody else in the family is due for a hygiene appointment. There may be a parent coming in for an appointment with the doctor, and the child may be due for their hygiene appointment. With summer coming and the kids out of school, many parents will appreciate one less trip to the dentist if possible.
Most of the time everything on paper looks great - but it's the issues that are not on the schedule we really need to prepare ourselves for. The more we communicate at the beginning of our day, the more prepared we will be once the day is up and running and we are in the thick of everything going on around us. When something does not go how we thought it would, the patient should still perceive that we are a very well organized, stress-free office, and that we are always thinking of them.
As we know, in dentistry our schedules are continually changing - and the more prepared we are at the beginning of our day the smoother the day will go. Every team member needs to be actively listening and participating at the morning meetings.
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