6.17.11 Issue #484 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant
McKenzie Management
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What Do You Look For In A Hygienist?
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

There are many good hygienists in the world with excellent clinical skills. However, that is not all that an exceptional hygienist needs to have. Whether you are looking to hire your first hygienist, an additional hygienist because your practice is growing, or you need to replace the hygienist that is leaving your practice, here are some things to take into consideration.

What personality types do you currently have working on your team and what personality will fit in best? There is no “perfect personality” when it comes to a hygienist. However, some personalities will come with the traits that enable a hygienist to perform his/her position with less energy, thus making the hygienist less tired by the end of the day. These traits are:

  • Somebody that enjoys communicating verbally. Rarely does a hygienist write everything down. Most instruction is done verbally chair side.
  • Warm and caring. Patient comfort is very important when it comes to patient retention.
  • Able to prioritize. This will help the hygienist with getting all of the necessary treatment done in a timely manner, thus staying on schedule.
  • Okay with being told what to do. Job descriptions are very important, but there are times that the doctor or another staff member may need help when the hygienist is available.
  • Sympathetic listener. Many times the patients want somebody to listen to what their problem is.
  • Okay with being interrupted in the middle of treatment. The periodic exam will be done when the doctor has time in his/her schedule, so the hygienist may get interrupted right in the middle of the treatment she is performing.
  • Flexible. The patient’s needs are always changing and so is the schedule - not to mention the patients that shows up late.
  • Not afraid of telling people unpleasant things. The hygienist needs to be comfortable telling people that they have periodontal disease and what needs to be done in order to get it under control - no matter what insurance is going to pay or not pay.
  • Team player. Yes, hygienists are able to take the trash out, file charts and should be helping with sterilization among many other jobs that need to be done in the office.

How do you find out if a person has these traits? Based on the Myers Briggs Temperament Type, each job position in dentistry, business, clinical, and hygiene is discussed in the book, Personality Types, How They Affect Your Practice Success.

We also offer online employee testing that was developed exclusively for dentistry and strictly adheres to legal guidelines for pre-employment testing. These test results are compared to top performers in existing dental practices. By having the candidate/employee answer 107 questions online, we can tell you how close the candidate or existing employee matches peak performers in their job description.

In addition to all of the above, asking quality interview questions and having a good application and an extremely complete written job description at your side is imperative.

When the candidate first shows up, allow time for them to fill out your application and read the job description they are applying for. Handing the job description to the candidate and giving them time to read it before the interview even begins may make a difference in the entire interview. They may know before the interview even starts if they are willing to fulfill and perform the duties of the job description. The candidate may not be willing to do a prophylaxis or root planing in the time allotted by your office policy.

Looking for a hygienist who is not only committed to the patients but also to the practice is very important. This may be seen on the application or resume. How often has the candidate changed from one practice to another? The first few years out of hygiene school, they may be changing positions because they are looking for a team that practices at the standard of care that they do. Once a hygienist finds that, s/he may end up being a very long-term employee. However, watch for the person that changes practices regularly the entire length of their career.

As we all know, hiring the wrong person can cost you money and possibly long term patients. If you are relying on interviews and resumes only, you are doing yourself a disservice. There is a lot that goes into hiring the peak performers you want to work with your team.
Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program.

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