Dear CDAA Members,
As a Dental Assistant, have you ever rushed to work and told yourself it’s just another day? You go through the motions of turning on lights, equipment and putting on your headset. Set up the rooms, finish up sterilization from the day before, and you hear: “time for the morning huddle”.
You step into the huddle, and boom, a list of things that did not go right the day before was mentioned. So, you think to yourself, does anything ever go right here?
Have you ever experienced the Dentist changing his techniques & how he treatment plans? And you are left wondering is he having a bad day and taking it out on me? Why is he changing everything?
These scenarios will happen, and you must ask yourself, what can I do to make things better? Begin with communication and listening to gather information.
Communicate & Listen:
The Doctor could have gone to a continuing education course you were unaware of, so you need to be a detective and gather more information. Here is an example question:
“Doctor, I noticed that we are changing how we deliver this treatment/treatment plan. Did you recently take a course?”
When you do this, it will help you to stay informed and on the same page as your boss. The Doctor may even be grateful that you are taking an interest in the new change instead of fighting it. Sometimes we get so busy we forget to communicate with those closest to us.
Are you taking continuing education? Remember your title does not matter whether you are a Dental Assistant, RDA, or RDAEF; it is essential for you to take courses to increase your knowledge as a professional. Dental offices sometimes encourage you to take continuing education and pay for the course, but unfortunately, not all offices offer this benefit.
DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU AS A PROFESSIONAL
Here are some other options available: Some courses may be free or the fees can be as low as $25.00 or more to increase your knowledge as a Dental Assistant professional:
offers courses two times a year at their CDA Presents Scientific Meetings. You can attend the convention even if your boss is not going.
Remember, this action builds your character as a professional and sends a message to your boss that you are serious about this profession.
A little advice, when you take a course, do not go back to your office and say,
“We need to change the way we deliver______.” No one will listen to you because they do not like change.
Here is an alternative way to communicate your exciting information you just learned from your course:
“Doctor, I took a course on __________, and the presenter recommended that we should implement XYZ; what are you are thoughts?” Your boss may accept the proposed change a little better.
Protect your patients:
As I mentioned above, taking courses could save your and your patients’ lives. Make sure every time your patient walks in the door, you ask, “Has there been any changes to your prescription medication since we saw you last? And have you been to your primary care physician lately? Patients are more likely to answer these two questions rather than asking, “Have there been any changes in your health history since we saw you last? Why? They do not want to fill out a health history. Additionally, take their vitals; why? If your patient’s blood pressure is high and your Doctor gives them a shot of epinephrine, they could have a heart attack, and no one wants a medical emergency.
Improve your talents:
If you’re an RDA or RDAEF, take courses to improve your chair side skills. If you find a tool that makes your life easier to make a temporary, then buy it for yourself even if the Doctor doesn’t purchase it. Remember, if it will improve your skill, expedite your chairside time and leave the patient happy, then maybe the Doctor will pay for it.
Read all the information about products you use in the back office. You want to ensure they are appropriately stored and used so you do not cost the practice more money.
Communication is key: Take a communication course. This action may be the key to keeping the office harmonious. Remember, at the beginning of this article; I recommended to communicate and listen. People want to be heard and validated. So, make sure your conversations are positive rather than negative. Be a problem solver rather than stewing about a situation. Take time to compliment the front office, hygienist, co-workers in the back office, and even the Doctor.
Remember, the problems mentioned at the huddle may not be your fault, but we can always take a step towards making our work environment a positive day for you and the practice.
Zeña Delling, CDA, RDA
“To advance the careers of dental assistants and to promote the dental assisting profession in matters of education, legislation, credentialing and professional activities which enhance the delivery of quality dental health care to the public.”