This article originally appeared in Dental Assisting Digest e-newsletter. Subscribe to this informative monthly ENL designed specifically for the dental assistant here.
WHILE IT'S ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANT ROLE THAT DENTAL ASSISTANTS PLAY IN ANY PRACTICE, THERE IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO GO "ABOVE AND BEYOND" IN EARLY MARCH.
March 4-10 has been designated as DENTAL ASSISTANTS RECOGNITION WEEK (DARW). This year’s theme, "Advancing the profession through collaboration and leadership," acknowledges the growing importance of dentistry's role in health care and the responsibilities of dental assistants.
This week is a fantastic time to show appreciation to dental assistants for the work they do every day to not only enhance the lives of your patients, but also impact the bottom line of your business. Remember, a dental practice isn’t just a practice. It’s a business and every employee (including the dentist and assistant) are critical to the success of the business. _____________________________________________
So how can you celebrate your amazing assistants and how they help make your business as successful as it is? Trust me, it doesn’t take a lot of money or time to impact these terrific men and women. Last year, IgniteDA surprised five dental assistants in five different states with flowers and Starbucks gift cards during DARW. The expressions on their faces were priceless, which told us just how much they appreciated being appreciated.
What can your practice do for Dental Assistants Recognition Week? Here are four easy-to-implement ideas.
1. Show your gratitude through actions
What if every member of the practice sat down and wrote a personal note of thanks to your assistants for everything they do on a daily basis, things that perhaps usually go unnoticed? How many times has your assistant picked up a room or sterilized some instruments to help out during a busy day? How many times has he or she helped a patient understand just how important that new crown is and served as the final important piece of case acceptance? Dental assistants often tell me how few times they hear the words “thank you.” DARW is the perfect chance to show your appreciation and maybe even establish a new way of doing things in the practice.
2. Show your patients how much you love your assistants
Why not decorate your practice to show your patients that this is a special week for assistants? It would not surprise me at all if many of them wanted to join the celebration with their own words of appreciation. After all, dental assistants are often one of the most vital and personal links between the practice and patients. Bring in lunch or a dessert (you know their favorite sweet treat, right?) as one of the centerpieces of the celebration.
3. Roses are red and violets are blue
Like I said, we surprised assistants around the country last year with bouquets of flowers and other gifts. If you do this in your practice, the flowers can be presented early in the day, kept up front in the reception area as an acknowledgment of DARW, and then sent home with the assistant at the end of the day. Patients will comment on the flowers, and that’s a perfect time to let them know you’re honoring your assistants. This might encourage them to offer a word of appreciation as well.
4. Small gifts
Gift cards may not provide the emotional “bang” that flowers might, but knowing your assistant’s favorite restaurant or buying his or her coffee every morning for a week is a nice gesture. It also shows that you know your team member’s favorite beverage or place to dine. Little things like that can make a world of difference and show that you care about someone on a personal level, not just as an employee.
Don’t let DARW be just another week in your practice. Celebrate dental assistants by letting them know just how much of an impact they have on your practice, your patients, and your bottom line every day.