Like with any profession, there is a lot of occupational stress in dentistry. In this post, Kelly Lynch from Platinum Practice Solutions shares three keys to eliminating that stress from your workday.
To be a fly on the wall! We’ve all heard this phrase before. Wouldn’t you love to know what’s going on? Well, why don't you? Are you a passive member in your practice, or are you actively involved in decision making and providing great customer service? One of the biggest causes of occupational stress in dentistry is the unknowing of what is happening in your practice.
Here are three ways to cut your stress and help become more informed.
The first key to reduce the stress level at work is to have a great team. Surround yourself with individuals that are not only professionals in their own position, but also eager participants in the ownership and health of the practice. They take pride in each other, the standard of care provided to all patients, and the overall community image of the practice. This mindset begins with a great leadership team, namely the doctor and the practice manager.
Providing continuous training, the tools to do an exceptional job, encouragement, and empowerment are all key ingredients to developing and retaining the Platinum Level Dental Team! This high-functioning, highly skilled team will be a catalyst to help create the highly productive practice you desire.
No day should ever start without an effective and energy-charged morning huddle — or as I like to call them, Patient Care Meetings! Throughout the week, the team should be reviewing your daily schedule for any patient appointment time irregularities. The time to correct any scheduling concerns is well in advance, and not the morning of an appointment.
The most effective Patient Care Meetings include the following information:
All hands in and prepare to have a fantastic day! Remember: the tone set in the Patient Care Meeting will infect the rest of the day. Keep it Positive!!!
Staying on schedule is not only respectful of your patient’s time, it immediately reduces the stress level in the practice. The doctor must be “present” during business hours! The lack of being “present” is a characteristic and byproduct of today’s busy society. Being present, focusing on the day, and focusing on what your patient is both saying and what they want is the key to growing your practice.
Stay out of the break room, off your computer, and away from your cell phone. Make each moment in your practice mean something. When patients are kept waiting because you are making a personal phone call, shopping on Amazon, or talking about your golf game for 20 minutes with a patient in another treatment, you are giving that waiting patient and your team members the okay to return the favor.
When patients are kept waiting due to complications with treatment, that’s one thing. The clinical and admin team will communicate with each other and inform any waiting patients of the delay. This is respect for the paying patient’s time. When they are kept waiting because you are tending to personal business, that is unacceptable. It will lead patients to not respecting your time in the future.
The saying “lead by example” never held more truth than it does right now. Being present during business hours sets the example of what you expect from your team and your patients.You expect your team to refrain from personal calls and non-work-related computer use during business hours, so set the example.
You want patients to arrive promptly for appointments. In addition, you want them to be ready to go, not taking phone calls during the appointment. So, unless it’s an emergency, have your front desk take messages and make your personal calls later.
Stay on schedule. If you regularly run behind, start timing your procedures. You may imagine that it only takes you 30 minutes to do three fillings, when in fact you are consistently taking an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Your assistants know this. Your scheduling team knows this. One appointment like this will throw off the rest of the schedule for the day. Talk about stressful!
Don’t be the fly on the wall trying to figure out what’s going on in your practice. Call a meeting. Make some decisions and start the process to reduce the stress in your practice. What’s working well? What’s not working as well as you like?
Begin your process by developing reasonable systems and guidelines to creating a better practice, better patient care standards and an overall better work environment. Brainstorm and bring the collective ideas of the entire team onto the table for discussion. You hold the keys to reducing your daily stress!
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