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Sad To Happy

Myth busters for dental assistants: ‘That won’t work because we’ve tried it before.’

Jan. 20, 2021
Don't let the Negative Nancy in your dental practice get you down. Your positive attitude will have a good impact, so keep it up! It's worth it to persevere and encourage new things to help the practice improve, despite the naysayers.

“That’s not going to work. We’ve tried it before, and it didn’t work then so it won’t work now. Right?”


To that I say, move over Negative Nancy!

I really don’t like it when team members shoot down ideas without even trying them. What’s the deal? These people think they know it all and they won’t listen to what others have to say.

But let me tell you about their true state of mind. First, they’re unhappy, no two ways about it. They shoot down any suggestion toward progress that will grow the practice, and they won’t try anything new. They don’t want to change, and they complain until the people around them give in because they don’t want to listen to them gripe anymore!

Second, they’re afraid. They are so used to doing something the same way for so long that they’re scared to try anything new. That might actually call for some work on their part! They like the same movements and knowing what to expect, and in return nobody expects anymore of them. How sad is that?

Most of all, these people make our lives miserable! Say you come into work enthusiastic and ready to take on the world. You’re in a great mood and happy to be there. Then in comes Negative Nancy, frowning and in such a bad mood that you don’t even want to tell her good morning. What often happens? You retreat into a shell and proceed with your day, but your enthusiasm is dimmed. You don’t want to be the victim of any more attitude.

That’s no way to spend your workdays! So, let me offer some ideas to help you handle days like this.

Don’t let anyone dim your light! If your coworkers want to be in bad moods, so be it, but don’t feel like you have to get down on their level. Shake it off and be you! Remember, attitudes are contagious, so your happiness can be too. Step up the positive mood and others will follow suit.

Do what you know is right! If you have solid information that you know is from a reliable source, make your coworkers aware. If a few people refuse to do what’s right, don’t stoop to their level. Your patients are depending on you to create a clean office using proper infection control standards, so don’t let them down. Who cares what Negative Nancy has to say? You cannot allow improper protocols without saying anything.

Be the best you! If you allow the negativity to shape you, you’ll become a Negative Nancy too. Don’t let that happen. Do what you know is right, keep learning all you can, and you’ll create a great career for yourself. And Negative Nancy? She’ll still be in the same place, griping about the same things, while you make your practice a much better place to work.

To read more of Tija Hunter's Myth Busters, visit DentistryIQ and search "Myth busters for dental assistants."

Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, CDSO, CDSH, MADAA, is a member and current vice president of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), where she holds the honor of Master. Tija is the editor of Dental Assisting Digest and contributes to Dental Economics magazine. She is the director of the Dental Careers Institute, a dental assisting and dental continuing education program, and an international speaker and a certified trainer in nitrous oxide in several states.