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career corner depalma

Feb. 7, 2012
Career Corner: Ann-Marie DePalma

By Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH

No one system or one person has all of the answers. While common themes of particular frustrations run rampant in the profession, every practice and team is unique, and so the solutions to those frustrations are unique. It takes a concerted effort to achieve the desired results. As an advisor at Jameson Management, Inc., I see dental teams come into this reality all the time as they commit to making that effort and then follow the positive results. It’s a joy to teach the solutions and guide that progress.

Career Transition- Step One

Allow me to back up and tell you the story of how I joined Jameson. My quest for the right relationship, and my interest in working at Jameson put the notorious ideal of “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” to the test. After interviewing and not being selected, I found myself networking with the team again. Then finally, I was welcomed to the Jameson group of nearly 40 advisors across the world. Thus, began a remarkable journey!

Learning the Jameson dental practice management systems is a challenging process. Jameson Management was founded over 20-plus years ago by Cathy Jameson when her husband, Dr. John Jameson, faced difficulties in his rural Oklahoma dental practice. Cathy developed approximately 25 systems that have helped practices overcome challenges faced in hygiene, patient collections, and production. If any one of the systems is not functioning properly, Cathy has proven that glitches will occur in other areas of the practice. For example, voids or cancellations in the hygiene schedule may appear as hygiene-related issues when, in fact, the problem may be financial or scheduling related.

When doctors initially contact Jameson, an advisor is assigned to comprehensively evaluate the entire practice and the 25 systems. This analysis is similar to the treatment-planning process when a new patient arrives at your office. Entire dental teams are involved in the practice evaluation process. Specific goals are developed after team input, and discussion is coupled with an extensive financial and overall business analysis. Various options are offered and discussed as a team, similar to patient treatment planning and case presentations.

Business and clinical advisors are assigned to support the practices not by the geographic region they live in or general availability, but rather based on their expertise and the specific needs of the team. The treatment process of in-office visits every three months is usually the groundwork for getting things started, while monthly web and telephone contact is initiated. As patients require constant evaluation and re-evaluation, the dental team is in constant communication with the advisors for help and guidance. The patient analogy is important as teams incorporate the concepts introduced.

Step Two

My journey with Jameson began with boxes of materials arriving at my door. Training and advising utilize learning principles that Cathy and other key Jameson executives have gleaned from Cathy’s doctorate work, as well as decades of consulting.

Since I hold a master’s degree in education, I appreciated this methodology and was able to really thrive in the training process. It was exciting. After initially reviewing materials and progressing through self-study modules, which were sent to senior advisors for their review, I was ready to begin the in-person training. Traveling to work with the senior advisors, I learned the Jameson Method of Advising.

Many days were spent poring over mounds of information and trying to process and deliver the information in adult education format. Mastering new information is always a frustrating experience but with the support and encouragement of the advisors, I began to feel comfortable with the material. As a continuing education speaker, I understand the challenges faced by adult learners. This time I was on the learning end instead of the teaching end. I enjoyed mastering and presenting the material.

Upon completing the initial training, the next step involved co-training with a seasoned advisor. This allowed me to see the material come to life as it was taught and implemented right in front of me. I was able to understand the role that each component and system played in the overall process. From there I was ready to solo on my own! Knowing I had the support of an awesome team behind me made the challenges of advising less intimidating.

We’ll learn more about the process next issue. Happy 1st quarter 2012!

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, as well as a continuous member of ADHA. Ann-Marie is currently a business/clinical advisor for Jameson Management, Inc., a comprehensive coaching firm, and also presents continuing education programs for dental team members on a variety of topics. She is collaborating with several authors on various books for dental hygiene and can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].