In a previously posted Director’s Message, “Running by your head or heart?” I offered “skills or tangible” suggestions about gaining an understanding of hygiene statistics and productivity indicators. Historically, the majority of my Director’s Messages have focused on "mindset or intangible" concepts — intrinsic motivation, emotional intelligence, positive regard, strength-based approaches, self-determination, values and goals, and evidenced-based coaching approaches. Having a strong self-image and beliefs, and being aware of whom you are “at work” is a must in preparing yourself for a successful career.
However, many hygienists learn in order to lean into more of a leadership role within the practice, they must combine mindset and skillset. This means taking responsibility for providing excellent, individualized clinical care with patients, and also managing the continuing care system which serves the sustainability of the practice. After all, you can have a positive attitude and still provide substandard care, as well as be ineffective and unprofitable.
Other articles by Kristine Hodsdon
- Director's message: Must-know interviewing questions and keys to your own practice
- Director's Message: Is your career a Savvy Success?
The hygiene department has typically been looked upon as a ‘loss leader’ by the dental profession; it’s the part of the practice which could not sustain itself financially, maybe even lost money, yet which served a role in providing patient care. Hygienists’ leaning into leadership (mindset and skillset) wants more from themselves, patients, practices, and careers.
Traditionally, business people are trained to track and measure results — ROI (return on investment). They expect to be measured so much that it often becomes a comfort zone for monitoring any individual performance. “I'm achieving my numbers (sales) and doing my part to help the company grow, and I will be compensated accordingly.”
The primary purpose of providing quality continuing care to patients is not to make money. Rather, it is to ensure patients maximize their oral health and treating their natural teeth for a lifetime. A properly managed and measured dental hygiene department can be financially self-supporting, and it can significantly contribute to total practice profitability (i.e. the amount of restorative, cosmetic, and advanced dentistry being initiated in hygiene during their continuing care visits), and don’t forget the “word of mouth” new patient referrals that come from satisfied patients of record.
If your patients are to receive the level of continuing care they require to ensure long-term oral health, and if your practice is to experience the kind of profitability which delivery of such care will cause, a dental hygiene leadership mindset and skillset equals quality and profits.
Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, MSEC
RDH eVillage, Director
Take it Further in September 2013 with Team Extreme: Mastering Your Practice Systems and Realizing the Hidden Gem of Your Practice: The Professional Hygiene Department. For more information http://www.prideinstitute.com/seminar-calendar.php