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2 People Working Together

Myth busters: Training new people is a pain, so I’ll do the work myself

Nov. 22, 2019
Dental professionals often feel put out when they're asked to train the newbies. Tija Hunter, CDA, reminds everyone that a good attitude makes the days easier, and that it is not a good idea to "just do the work myself."

“I hate training new people. It’s better to just do the work myself! Right?”


We’ve all had newbies in the office. We often believe we just don’t have the time to train the new people, right? It’s easier to just do things yourself.

Hold on. Weren’t you once the newbie? Remember how that felt? You were so nervous that first day because you had no idea where the bathroom was or the breakroom was. You didn’t know anyone, you weren’t sure what all of your duties involves, where things were, or when to take lunch or your breaks.

Then there was that first chairside patient you had to see with the doctor. Everyone was watching you. You sold yourself as a great assistant in your interview, and now you needed to be your best. No pressure there! Starting a new job is stressful.

Giving back

You need to cut the newbies some slack. Think back to the time you were new and how you were treated. Did the assistants take time to help you and train you? Or did they sigh and roll their eyes and act like they were doing you a big favor to show you how things were done? How did that make you feel?

I often hear people say that they hate being an assistant, and that’s usually followed by them describing turmoil with a coworker. We have a lot on our plates—crazy schedules, instrument issues, sterilization back-up because of instrument issues, late patients, the doctor adding more procedures on an already tight schedule. You name it, our days are jammed, and how we treat each other, talk to each other, and interact with each other can play a huge role in how much we like our jobs.

Remember that the words we use can either lift up someone or crush them. That newbie can be a recent graduate, an on-the-job-trained assistant, or someone who has been in the profession for years. How you treat the newbies can set the stage for them to have fabulous careers or make them feel inadequate.

Check your attitude

Many people spend more time with their coworkers than their families. It’s important to go to work every day with an attitude of gratitude. Let’s face it, we all have stress. Being grateful for our jobs and the people we work with, having a good attitude, and leaving the negative outside will take you far, despite any stress. It has the power to change your entire day!

Have you ever been in a good mood and someone else isn’t? One of two things will usually happen. Either the other person will catch your good mood, or you will catch their bad mood. Attitudes are contagious. A smile, a thank you, telling someone you appreciate them, can all make someone’s day and yours a little brighter. It seems so simple yet it’s actually pretty powerful. Treating each other with respect and kindness is good for the soul.

We’ve all heard of teamwork. We’re told, “We have to work as a team.” Pretty cliché, huh? The truth is, it’s completely necessary each and every day of our careers. The stress of not working together will exhaust you and make your days feel longer.

Does that newbie start soon? Make the person feel welcome. Help him or her out. Ask them what they need, or if they have any questions. Go out of your way to be kind and helpful. That’s now your teammate, someone who will have your back when things get tough.

Go the extra mile.  Be the better person.  Focus on the positive.  YOU can make a difference.


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Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, MADAA, is the office manager and chairside assistant to Dr. Eric Hurtte of O’Fallon, Missouri. She is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), where she holds the honor of Master and sits on three national counsels. She is also the Illinois Dental Assistants Association vice president. She is founder of the Dental Assistants Study Club of St. Louis and St. Louis Dental Office Managers Study Club. She is the director of the Dental Careers Institute, with five locations in the US. Tija is also the author of six CE study courses. She is a national speaker and a certified trainer in nitrous oxide in several states. She can be reached at [email protected].