Set Your Office Manager Up for Success
Finally hiring an Office Manager is an exciting time for most dentists. They now have someone to help with the business side of running a dental practice, giving them more time to focus on dentistry. Their expectations are high, and they can’t wait for this team member to get started.
Unfortunately, most dentists end up disappointed. The new Office Manager who came to the role with so much excitement and potential just isn’t performing as they had hoped. Instead of the “dream hire” these dentists envision, it all becomes a bit of a nightmare, which causes stress among the other team members and of course costs the practice money.
If you find yourself in this scenario, you’ve either hired the wrong person for the job or you haven’t taken the time to set your Office Manager up for success. You can’t hire someone with the right skill set and temperament and expect him or her to fix all your practice problems without a little direction and support from you. It’s important to give your Office Manager the tools and environment needed to succeed. Here’s how.
Put trust in your Office Manager. This is difficult for some dentists. Even though they’ve found a talented Office Manager to take over the business side of the practice, they still want to be part of every decision. For your Office Manager to be successful, you have to learn to let go. Give him or her the authority to make decisions and you’ll soon see an improvement in performance.
Consider your Office Manager a partner. This goes back to trusting your Office Manager. When you hire an Office Manager, you have to be prepared to give up some control of the business and trust this person to do what’s best for your practice.
Making your Office Manager feel like a true partner rather than just another team member will give him or her the confidence needed to take full ownership of the role. When this happens, both you and your Office Manager get the most out of the position. You’ll be able to focus more on your patients while your office benefits from improved efficiencies and increased production.
Provide a detailed job description. Even the most experienced Office Manager needs a job description. A detailed job description not only helps ensure you hire the right person for the position, it also serves as a roadmap for the new team member’s success. It should outline your expectations, responsibilities and performance measurements.
Many dentists think job descriptions are a waste of time, but I’m here to tell you they’re not. Job descriptions provide much needed guidance and will give your Office Manager more confidence and the ability to excel.
Offer proper training. Even if you’ve found the perfect person for the job, that doesn’t mean you can skip training. Proper training is key to your Office Manager’s success – and the same is true for any employee in your practice.
Most dentists opt to forego training because they don’t want to “waste” time. Trust me, it isn’t a waste of time. Far from it. Investing in training now will actually save you a lot of time and frustration down the road. Training will help ensure your Office Manager is comfortable with the role and ready to take over practice financials, start managing HR issues and take on the host of other responsibilities that come with the role.
I know the thought of training can be overwhelming for some dentists, especially if you’re not entirely sure what it takes to be an effective Office Manager. Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. McKenzie Management offers an Office Manager Training Course that is designed to set Office Managers up for success. Feel free to contact me for more details.
Hiring an Office Manager can be a daunting task. You have to find someone with the right skill set and temperament, as well as the ability to handle the pressures that come with the job. When you finally find the right person, you want this important team member to succeed. Otherwise it will lead to a lot of undue stress and frustration, not to mention cost the practice thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Follow these tips to set your Office Manager up for success from the very beginning, and your newest team member will do his or her part to help the practice thrive.
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email email@example.com
The “News” Told Me I Don’t Need to Floss!
Last month a widely circulated news report stated that there might not be a need for anyone to use dental floss. It turns out that twelve randomized controlled trials published in the Cochran Database of Systematic Reviews in 2011 found “very unreliable evidence that flossing might reduce plaque”. According to the Associated Press, the Department of Health and Human Services had never actually looked into the practice of flossing and its effectiveness when issuing their health recommendations. Now their most recent report, which features guidelines issued jointly by the Department of Agriculture and the HHS, has left this recommendation off. I have had dozens of my patients ask me about this report, because information about it was published in the New York Times and featured on many network news programs.
As dental professionals, we know that removing plaque from between the teeth is essential to healthy teeth, gums, and bone. We know that inflammation resulting from a host response to bacteria growing in undisturbed plaque leads to gingivitis, bleeding gums, bad breath, tooth decay, and bone loss. We also know that the types of bacteria that love dental plaque also like to circulate in the bloodstream to other parts of the body, causing damage to tissues and organs far from the mouth.
For decades we have been telling our patients that effective plaque removal will help them to stay healthy. As a hygienist I have personally explained, demonstrated, and advocated for tooth brushing and flossing (or the use of any interdental plaque removing device) for over 20 years! While I understand that the trials conducted showed possible evidence discounting the use of floss, I think further study obviously needs to be done. Until that time, I intend to continue to recommend interdental plaque removal, with floss or other tools.
Here are the arguments that I have been presenting to my patients since this “news” came out:
• I tell them I can testify to the condition of my own patients. Consistent brushers and flossers are healthy. Inconsistent brushers and flossers have many dental problems. I explain that the idea of leaving bacteria and plaque in the mouth, undisturbed, makes no sense. The example I use is bathing. Most everyone would agree that frequent bathing contributes to overall health and well-being. A dirty body harbors germs that can work their way into our eyes, noses and mouths. In addition, a dirty body does not look nice or smell nice. In the modern world we value cleanliness of the body and frequent bathing. By the same token, a clean mouth harbors fewer detrimental germs, looks nice, and smells nice. It is common sense.
• Dental cavities are caused by bacteria in the crevasses of the teeth, along the gum line, or between the teeth. It is obvious that these areas are the least likely to be cleaned well by less than effective tooth brushing, and areas between the teeth cannot be reached at all unless accessed by floss or other interdental tools. Most patients have had experience with decay and can see that this is what has happened in their own mouths.
• The use of sealants is an attempt to keep bacteria from taking hold in the crevasses of the teeth. If it did not matter if these areas were clean or not, why bother with a sealant? We know that keeping the occlusal surfaces free from decay during the cavity prone years of childhood and adolescence can prevent people from developing cavities and needing fillings and crowns. Many patients have seen sealants work to reduce decay in their own mouths, or in the mouths of their children. Therefore, keeping bacteria out of areas around the teeth with brushing and flossing has an obvious benefit that patients understand.
• Bacteria around root surfaces is detrimental to dental health. Many people have seen individuals whose teeth appear “long”, or have such teeth themselves. It is easy to explain that “long looking teeth” are simply teeth that have lost bone and gum support, therefore root surfaces are visible. It is not a stretch for people to understand that root surfaces do not have enamel and are therefore more likely to decay. In addition, bacteria around root surfaces contributes to further bone loss. Cleaning thoroughly around these root surfaces lessens the chance for bacteria to take hold and begin the deterioration process.
• Gum tissue must be cleaned daily. I explain that the tooth root sits inside bone like a peg, which in turn is covered by a “cuff” of gum tissue, similar to a turtleneck sweater. This cuff has to be kept free of bacteria and plaque on a daily basis, in the same way that a person’s neck must be kept free of bacteria and “dirt”. I ask them to imagine trying to clean around a “tooth turtleneck” with a brush alone. It is easy to see that floss or an interdental device must also be used.
Our patients look to us for the proper information concerning their dental health. When a study is reported that goes against what we think we know right now, I tell my patients that as more studies are done more shall be revealed. In the meantime, we have to go by the best demonstrable evidence we have – that brushing, flossing, and/or the use of interdental cleaners can help keep a mouth healthy.
Carol Tekavec RDH is the Director of Hygiene for McKenzie Management. Carol can improve your hygiene department in just one day of training “in your office.” Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leaders Don’t Settle
If you are reading this article, it’s an indication that you’re doing OK. You’re a dentist, or employed in a dental practice. You probably make a decent income. Overall you have a nice life. Basically you’ve got what you need. If that’s enough for you, stop reading right now.
My hunch is that over the years, you’ve raised the bar on what you want. In college or even in dental school you may have settled for a small apartment, a cheap car, maybe you slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV. It’s unlikely that those things would satisfy you now.
So why are you now settling for a good job rather than an exciting career? The difference between getting what you need and achieving the life you want is leadership skills. By investing in yourself, you move closer to the fulfillment of your financial and professional desires. Leadership enables you to stand out from the pack. It requires courage and displaying authenticity, coaching and developing your staff for maximum performance, and demonstrating ethics and integrity in business.
If you want to achieve the success you seek, here are some of the leadership skills you will need.
Flexibility and Creativity
In the beginning of this article, I invited you to stop reading if you were satisfied with the status quo. The fact that you’re still reading tells me (and YOU) that you want more. If you are a leader by default, step up to the plate and start taking an active role in developing your skills. Invest in yourself. Read. Get leadership training. It will pay off in the end!
Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at email@example.com
Interested in having Dr. Haller speak to your dental society or study club? Click here
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