Recently my dental hygienist was sharing a story about how her daughter threw a party when her and her husband left town for a weekend. I laughed and remembered back to high school when I, regrettably, did the very same thing. The hygienist and I were considering how many “not so smart” things her daughter did, from replacing the vodka and gin she stole from her mom with water, spilling beer and not covering up the smell, leaving ringlets on some surfaces, and of course having cars parked on the street a half mile in either direction. My dental assistant was also engaging in the conversation and what she ultimately said really resonated with me. “I always thought doctors were these really smart and serious people, but I guess you remind me that you’re just a person too.”
Just a person. What a neat way to put it. Sometimes I think we can struggle to relate with patients and to our staffs as we go on about periapical radiolucencies, antibiotic prophylaxis protocols, or periodontal attachment fibers. While we make our patient’s heads spin with our dental explanations, we also have many opportunities to relate with patients on personal levels. Whether it be noticing an emblem on an article of clothing, paying attention to a business name in an email,or simply observing someone’s jewelry, there are many cues to drum up conversation. The personal connection with our patients is actually what drives case acceptance. Patient’s will not accept your proposed treatment if they don’t know you, or trust you.
Along the same lines, and probably equally important, is being a “person” to your staff. My dental assistant and I have only worked together for about one year now. I think we have a fantastic working relationship. She knows what I need for each procedure that we do, she is attentive to patients, and she has an infectious laugh that brings happiness to the entire office. I find it interesting to think about how nervous she got when she first started working with me. Once we formed a closer relationship, she told me how I used to be “scary.” She reminded me that assistants working with new doctors don’t know what to expect and only want to do the best job they can. She’s absolutely right. It took time for me to become a person to her. Once I did, she felt more comfortable, her productivity improved, and her motivation soared.
The point of sharing comes down to this; simply because you are a doctor, people have certain notions about you. The key is to reinforce the positive notions and put to rest the negative. Being “scary” because you’re working with someone new is obviously not something you want creeping into your workplace. You could be labelled as domineering, or intimidating. So make an effort to be friendly, take interest in your staffs interests, be available to address their needs. If they trust you, they will work hard for you, and at the end of the day, isn't that all we can ask for?
Moral of the story: be a person.
At Seneca Ridge Dental, we believe in providing West Seneca and the surrounding Buffalo, NY area with the best possible dental care using state of the art dental technology and modern best practices.
SENECA RIDGE DENTAL
3626 Seneca St. West Seneca, NY 14224
M: 8:30am - 5:00pm
T: 9:00am - 7:00pm
Wed: By Appointment Only
Th: 8:30am - 5pm
F: 8:00am - 1:00pm