The Hygienist for Your Practice
All hygienists are educated by an accredited hygiene school. There may be some differences in training when it comes to clinical skills, but for the most part hygienists are trained at a certain standard of care. Sadly, as with any profession, this does not mean all hygienists practice to the same quality of care. This may be due to the fact that some were not at the top of their class, their ethical and moral values changed once they were done with college, or they have not continued to improve themselves over the years by keeping up with technology and research. Regardless of the reason, when hiring a hygienist for your practice, you want to be sure they will fit in with your office protocol, the quality of care provided in your practice, and overall expectations.
There are many tools available to aid in hiring the correct type of personality for the job, such as the online employee assessment test found on the McKenzie Management website HERE. In addition to testing, it is recommended that once you have narrowed the choice down to one or two candidates, have them back in for another interview and actually allow them to look at the office protocol for treating periodontal disease. Have a couple case studies available for their review, and see how they would treatment plan the patient for root planing or root planing again if they are an existing patient. See what length of recall they would place the patient on, and what they would do at the next recall.
If the candidates are used to actively engaging in this portion of the patient’s treatment, this should be a very easy part of the interview. They may provide more than one answer and have questions regarding the patient’s history that you did not provide initially, but that is good, as they would gather this information from the dental history of the patient in the chart or directly from the patient. What matters is that they are comfortable doing this portion of their job.
This portion of the interview process will enable you to find out if the candidates are the type of hygienists who come in, clean teeth and go home, or if they are the type to be actively involved in the continuing care of the patients they see. It also allows you to see where their skills and expertise are and are not.
The case studies may be as easy as providing a periodontal chart, x-rays and medical/dental history to assess periodontal disease. When it comes to restorative needs or talking to the patient about what may need to be done, you could just show the candidate a set of x-rays with a missing tooth and ask them what they would say to the patient if they were in their chair. This will allow you to observe their knowledge regarding implants, bridges, partials, and restorative options.
Ask the hygienists what they currently discuss with new patients in the chair. Have them go over what they say to patients before they probe. In addition to clinical, you may even want to evaluate their knowledge of the business side of dental hygiene. Ask if they have goals. What are their goals and what determined them?
These are just a few ideas you may want to consider when looking for a hygienist. It is critical to be informed about the amount of training your new hire might need. Hygienists can be taught your specific office protocols, but if they do not have the same belief system, ethics, and morals that you have, you may not be able to change them – and you may want to look at hiring a different person.
Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151
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