My partner and I made the decision to remodel the office in 2003. The process went relatively smoothly, and we are reaping the benefits of the changes today. One of the surprising benefits was a result of our decision to place the hygiene rooms (we have a five-operatory office) side by side, using a common cabinet that functions as a wall between the two rooms. Picture a U-shaped room divided by this cabinet and understand that this created a very open atmosphere between the two rooms. The noise level was immediately more noticeable and increased by our decision to forgo carpeting in favor of laminate flooring. What was the benefit?
Our five hygienists (two of whom work at any one time) found themselves sharing ideas, treatment plans, and personal items of interest with the patients and each other. Previously, they had used rooms that were down and across the hall from each other. Now, being in close proximity to each other, they feel a part of the patient’s visit even if they are not the treating hygienist. Patients, for the most part, love it. They really feel like they are a part of the team and not so tied to one treatment modality. Our clinically talented, patient-oriented hygiene team (now that they are used to the more open concept) is more involved with each other and with the patients. So, what appeared at first glance to be a design mistake has instead become a marketing plus.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are days when we could use more space, when the patients’ needs would benefit from more privacy. But Kate, Donna, Jacalyn, Nancy, and Teri - with their collective multiple years of experience - always (and I do mean always) provide an excellent patient visit. So what’s the point in telling you all this?
Whether a newly minted graduate or a wise-beyond-years veteran, women are generally taught to think and then act ... to consider the repercussions of their decisions. Who can argue with that notion? I myself have strongly encouraged my daughters to follow this rule, but not to the extent that we let others make decisions for us. Virginia Satir (1916-1988), long considered “The Mother of Family System Therapy,” said, “Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.” The WDJ family.
Kathleen Noble, PhD, a professor who works with gifted women at the University of Washington Seattle, said, “A mistake can actually be an invitation - an invitation to grow, an invitation to learn something new about yourself.”
So whatever you have been thinking about to the point that you are experiencing “paralysis by analysis,” just let it go. Jump. Fly. Join. Contribute. Make a mistake or two and understand that no thought is truly Idle if placed in the Not So Idle Hands of extraordinarily talented women.
See you next month. ■
Sharon Szeszycki, DDS
Dr. Szeszycki is a graduate of the dental hygiene program at Southern Illinois University, a BS graduate of the dental hygiene program at Loyola University, and a graduate of the Loyola University School of Dentistry. She has been actively involved for more than 10 years with the Mediation and Peer Review Committees of the Chicago Dental Society. A full-time co-partner in a general dentistry practice in Lombard, Ill., she may be contacted at [email protected].