Encourage dental staff members to leave if management is unrealistic?

Only when doctors understand that their team is their most valuable asset will they make decisions that benefit everyone—dental staff members, patients, and management.

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By Dianne Glasscoe Watterson, RDH, BS, MBA

Editor’s Note: This blog contains follow-up commentary to a column published by the author in the November 2015 issue of RDH magazine. To view the column, click here.

It is rare for me to recommend that a hygienist find another office. Usually, I try to step back and look at both sides of the dilemma. But this hygienist described so many problems that made this very hard to dissect. The root of her discomfort is she is being asked to work harder for the same or less money. The writer also described how she and her coworker were directed to “come up with a periodontal program.” With the writer only out of hygiene school one year, how is she supposed to do this without some coaching? This was an unfair mandate from management.

Sometimes change is necessary to help a business grow. But too much change in a short time can have the opposite effect, especially if key staff members leave. Evidently, the purchase of the satellite office is putting too much pressure on the existing staff group, and the office is not currently staffed correctly. One thing I know is that if an office is understaffed, it will under produce. Staff turnover is a likely outcome.

I remember a situation where a key front office staff member told me that her boss told her she was “not allowed” to be absent, because he had no back-up system in place. Nobody can withstand that kind of pressure very long.

Dental staff members deserve to be treated with respect by management. Unrealistic expectations and mandates cause unhappiness, feelings of disrespect and high stress. Only when doctors understand that their team is their most valuable asset will they make decisions that benefit everyone—staff members, patients, and management.

DIANNE GLASSCOE WATTERSON, RDH, BS, MBA, is an awards winning speaker, author, and consultant. She has published hundreds of articles, numerous textbook chapters, an instructional video on instrument sharpening, and two books. For information about upcoming speaking engagements or products, visit her website at wattersonspeaks.com. Dianne may be contacted at (336)472-3515 or by emailing dglasscoe@northstate.net.

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