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Thursday Troubleshooter: Is it legal to double the workload of this RDH?

Aug. 18, 2016
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QUESTION: When I first started at this office there were two other hygienists. There are two rooms for dental hygiene procedures and these two rooms are booked all day. Eventually both the other hygienists moved but the schedule has stayed the same. I'm expected to work two rooms and have twice the patient flow. Is this legal?

ANSWER FROM LYNNE LEGGETT, Victory Dental Management:
Thank you for your question. This does seem troubling, and my goal is to give you some items so you can have a thoughtful discussion with your doctor about this situation.

As a hygienist. I know you are patient focused, and you want to make sure your patients are taken care of. It seems to me, based on of the volume of the two operatories, that hygiene would run late every day. My assumption is that the patient load is the same as it was when you were initially hired. Based upon that assumption, the hygiene schedule would run late. Not only that, but the doctor’s schedule would be negatively affected as well.

In addition to the issues with scheduling, I can imagine that your patients are not very happy with the need to wait every time they visit your office. The bigger picture in this situation is putting patients first and making sure their experience at your practice is the best it can be. When that happens, capacity issues are taken care of immediately since this adversely affects your patients.

I suggest looking at the practice from the viewpoint of your patients. With that perspective, objectively note areas that need improvement and possible solutions to those areas. Once you have some items written down, schedule a time to discuss them with your doctor/owner. I have never known a business owner who would not appreciate a team member wanting to make sure their business was successful, and not only successful, but the kind of practice where current patients refer their friends.

I wish you all the best with this situation.

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