Dental hygienists comment on moody dental team members

Dec. 7, 2012
In RDH eVillage survey, dental hygienists reflect on what makes colleagues in a dental office often work while in a bad mood.

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Front office manager:

• The doctor feels overwhelmed by his schedule, but he can't stand not to be busy either. He is unable to find a happy medium. The office manager is generally reacting to the doctor's mood.
• Just a generalized "Debby Downer." Gripes about everything in personal and professional lives.
• Thinks she owns and runs the place. Makes up her own rules and gets upset if you don't follow them. Bossy.
• Our office manager is unable to separate her personal life from work. At work, she is constantly taking personal calls as a result of her misbehaving children at school, on Facebook getting way too involved in the lives of others, and making excuses for her daily tardiness of at least one hour because she was up late watching television shows/playing video games. This affects everyone in our office because she is either not present to handle patient matters or she is making mistakes on appointments/note-taking/etc. Then she senses frustration from everyone, including the doctor, and gets even more moody and defensive. Not a team player and horrible work ethic.
• Office manager, the wife, would rather be doing something else. She spend most of the time talking on the phone to friends or family or playing on the computer.
• The office manager has personal relationship issues and the front office staff are harassed by the unhappy office manager and are oushed by her to schedule unrealistic appointment times.

Dental assistant

• There are two who are most problematic, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason. Anything can set them off. I think they come into work angry.
• Many dysfunctional family members give her grief, but she always rises above it and is a wonderful co-worker!
• Does not like it when other assistants do not do things the way she does.
• Drama Queen. Likes to be the center of attention. Insecure. Can go from happy to mad in a moment.
• Personal and other employees not doing what she thinks important. She has no problem being on cell phone and Facebook.
• The assistants are being pulled in many different directions, especially when the office has more than one dentist.
• Doesn't have good boundaries between her personal and professional life. Needs to be the center of attention and often seeks attention in negative ways.
• We have one who makes it known to the whole office when she is out of sorts.

Front office staff member

• Has to deal with so many complaints. Patients who cannot get in when they demand, patients complaining about their bill, insurance, etc., Having to deal with unhappy people because they are in discomfort.
• She is in charge of handling all insurance claims ... can't blame her. Also, she is near retirement and will be happy to be done.
• Has to check in all medical, dental, and mental health patients who are homeless, angry, and have mental health disorders.
• Front office staff member lacks people skills.
• Front desk feels pressure from doctors for missed appointments, etc.
• My boss is constantly is micromanaging most aspects of her job. This can be very frustrating for her.
• Feels she has too much to do, although a great deal of her time is spent on personal issues, such as online banking, Facebook, working on her direct sales business, phone calls to friends and family, etc.
• The front desk has been with doctor over 20 years, in their high 60s and has not kept up with advancements in computers. The desk is constantly a mess and I see many mistakes being made. They will not accept any discussion on how to make it all better. The doctor knows and is trying to figure out a diplomatic way to correct the front desk.

The doctor

• The doctor is always worried about money.
• Doctor doesn’t seem to want to work any longer. It's hard to get her to diagnose things that really need to be done.
• Patriarch-type rule over office dynamics, but I just let his abrasive comments slide over me.
• For the doctor, it is usually personal [reasons]. Overall, most staff are fine, and it is the boss who is most likely to be in a bad mood most often.
• The personality or bad mood can be spread quickly by the leadership of the office, which is the dentist.
• The practice is a managed by a corporation, and both doctors feel as though they don't have enough control or input over their practice of dentistry. Both are planning on leaving when their contract is up.
• If everything isn't going well, the whole office pays. He is very moody, rude, and disrespectful to the staff and pouts.
• [Doctor] Is very forgetful and is condescending. Can’t explain procedures well to patients and doesn’t like them to ask for details.
• The dentist is unhappy in her profession and feels trapped.

Dental hygienist

• There isn't enough time for patient care. We do prophies on six adults in 4.5 hours! I don't blame her.
• The other dental hygienist (we work different days) is not happy unless she has control of the office and wants things her way. Example: we share the hygiene room, but it is her room, not mine.
• She is sleeping with the dentist. So when she is in a bad mood so is he.
• Myself, due to the lack of professional satisfaction and certain immature staff members.
• I work for a doctor who does not manage well, plays favorites and mind games and lets the assistant waste time with Facebook, personal emails,etc and cross-contaminates continually.

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