Worldental with this post starts a article series about dentists and dental workers. And we are very glad to present you an article from Linda Zdanowicz, she works in dental care since 1978 and now she carry on an informative blog Exceptional Dental Practice Management.
Buiding A Great Dental Assistant
Ok, get out your pen and paper. Make your list of all the things that you would want to have in a dental assistant. This position often has the most untapped potential of all. Here is what my list would look like and why:
1. Loves assisting – I don”t want to put a lot of work into someone who is going to leave and go to hygiene school. I want someone who wants to keep learning and improving and who really enjoys coming to work every day. That spreads out into everything she does.
2. Enjoys serving others – I don”t want someone who sees service as servitude. I don”t want someone who resents what is asked of them. I want someone who looks for ways to give the extra that makes us special.
3. Compassion and Empathy – I want someone who will look past a patient”s bad mood and find a reason to like them. I want her to be able to care about how people feel and who wants to make it a little better.
4. Intelligence – I like to hear an assistant who is able to answer patient”s questions and who can speak with proper grammar. We all reflect on the practice and on our boss”s judgement so I want everyone to be shining examples of good taste and character.
5. Integrity – Speaking of character, integrity ties the whole picture together. It”s the Australian Sheep Dog of all the character traits. If you have integrity, you probably have many of the others. Integrity means that you do the right thing.
6. Good Chairside Skills – Or the desire and capacity to improve. A good chairside assistant makes the worklife of a dentist much easier and impresses the patients.
7. Honest Communication – I’ve seen some employees in other offices who feel that they have great communication skills, but they come off as phony. There is one office that has a young woman that calls me babydoll every time I talk to her, it drives me crazy. I don”t want anyone to drive our patients crazy. I want our staff to be warm and welcoming as well as professional.
8. Sense of Humor – Dealing with patients can be stressful. I don’t want an assistant who will walk around feeling put upon or grouchy. I want someone who can laugh and be easy with everyone and help keep tension under control.
9. Team Player – I want someone who realizes that her best success comes when she joins her effort with the rest of the team. She worries more about getting the job done well, than about who gets the credit. She shares what she knows with others because she realizes that knowledge shared is knowledge squared.
10. Someone Who Lives Up To Their Potential -In the book, The 7 Habits of Exceptional People, Steven Covey talks about P/PC. That is Production vs. Production Capability. I want someone whose production matches her capability to produce. I want someone who is encouraged and excited about the fact that when they meet their goals, their potential expands to make room for new growth and new goals.
I’m sure there are others, but those are big to me. How do you build an assistant like that? You tell her what you want and then you expect to get it. If you don”t get it, you let her know and reinforce your expectations. You show appreciation when she lives up to it and you cheer her on. You let her know that she makes things better. Make sure her salary is a reflection of her abilities and of what she brings to the office. Building and keeping a great assistant will make your practice a place you enjoy going to every day.
Linda has been in dentistry since 1978 with time off in the middle to raise her family. She has been married for 28 yrs. And has 3 children Kim 26, Erik 23 and Nick 18. She has worked for Dr. Jeff Price for the past 9 yrs and the practice is now being sold to Dr. Nigel Morgan.
She began blogging one year after becoming office manager. She was not very prepared for that job, with no formal training and found she was learning by the seat of my pants. She started blogging to have some way to release some of her frustration and to direct her interest somewhere besides her job. She also found that by writing about her successes and failures she was able to understand them better and share them with others that hopefully benefit from it.
Thanks to Linda and good luck with following blogging!