Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 09 Jackiethumb92817

Ideas to Inspiration: Start today!

Sept. 25, 2017
Jackie Sanders, RDH, understands that there are challenges to getting a dental hygiene career underway, but she offers tips for analyzing clinical production from a business standpoint.

By Jackie Sanders, RDH, MBA

Graduating, preparing for the interview process, and starting your first clinical job can be a whirlwind of emotion and stress. People start asking about your goals, and, at the moment, your goal may be as basic as wanting to find a nice employer and be the best clinical dental hygienist you can be.

Don’t feel rushed. There isn’t a timeline on setting goals for your success, and you may currently be thinking about how to master eight hours each day. You have time and, during those quiet moments, you can think about your one-year, three-year, and five-year plans. What matters most is “today!” If you are being proactive and “moving forward,” then any rough spots are worth the lessons.


Other articles by Jackie Sanders


Starting today: Set a daily goal of tracking your clinical production numbers.

As you start working in a clinical setting, it is the perfect time to understand how beneficial you are to your employer and what you could possibly do to become more of an asset to the practice.

To increase your confidence, start tracking your daily production, understand your personal value, and begin to acquire documentation that will support you in the future. Whether your imminent goal is a pay increase, transition to a new office, your own business, or taking a leap of faith, you will have the documentation representative of your personal value to a dental office. I can attest, if I had not had the business sense and 10 years of documented statistics, the doors may not have opened for consulting opportunities or employment in the corporate world.

How to begin? Each day keep track of your numbers.

1. Daily Production

  • Total the charges for each patient, choosing whether to include exams or not is your option. If the charges were incurred in the operatory you are working in, I would personally include them.
  • Example: $1,840 for the day

2. Number of Hours

  • How many hours did it take to provide the daily production?
  • With these two numbers, you can divide production by hours and have an estimate of your hourly production
  • Example: $1,840 divided by 8 hours is a $230 hourly estimated production

3. Patients Treated

  • How many patients did you treat in your operatory that day?
  • Example: $1,840 divided by 10 patients is a $184 estimated per patient production

4. New Patients Treated

  • This number is reflective of your contribution to building the practice

5. ‘No Shows’ or ‘Cancelations’

  • If you had two hours empty in your schedule, you know the lost production was approximately $460 (2 hours x $230 hourly estimated production)
  • If you had three patients cancel or no show, the lost production was approximately $552. (3 patients x $184 estimated charge per patient)

These numbers do not need to be common knowledge since they are being tracked to understand yourown personal business model. The metrics can assist with the decision-making process knowing how you could make your operatory more productive. Build a spreadsheet, develop charts, analyze which months are busiest for you, and embrace the data that is your daily work life.

If the decision is made to share the data, documentation may support a pay increase or assist when proposing the option of a second dental hygienist or dedicated dental assistant. What many do not realize are that the years of analysis will increase your business sense. When asked, “By what percentage have you increased production?” you will have the metrics to support your answer.

Having a vested interest in the productivity of your operatory provides one with a sense of belonging. If you are working in an office that finds it appropriate, you could always ask the front office team if you could call overdue patients to help fill openings in your schedule. The suggestion may not always be well received, but you won’t be accused of not offering to help. You will have the option to advise that two empty hours in your schedule costs the office $460, and you would like to assist in filling those openings.

Being a new dental hygienist, finding your comfort zone in a new job, and wondering how long it will take to feel calm and confident are normal emotions. As life settles down and you understand you truly are a professional making a difference, then you will understand how important these numbers can become in your life.

Early goal setting? Start today!

Jackie Sanders, RDH, MBA is manager of professional relations and communications for Sunstar. She serves as a liaison responsible for communications with professional and industry associations, educational institutions, and the dental professional community. She is a recognized and active opinion leader within the dental hygiene community and associated social networking programs. She serves on the ADEA Legislative Advisory Council, is a member of ADHA IOH Advisory Committee, and serves on several editorial advisory boards.