Becker: Try to be positive and encouraging. Have regular meetings with the staff member and bring to his or her attention any areas of weakness, as well as strength. You need to work together to develop a tangible and measurable system to help overcome any weak areas. Meet regularly and review progress. You need to discuss what did and did not work for those areas of focus. Have the staff member describe what he or she could improve on and what is required for improvement. Encourage regular training sessions for all staff, and consider outside training to enhance skills and attitudes. All staff should continuously work on training courses. The most important item is to see if the staff member is even interested in doing better. If not, you may need to rethink having the staff member as part of the team. We all have our strong and weak areas. The difference is in whether we want to improve ourselves or not. It can be very difficult to change someone’s ways. In the right environment and with the right attitude, that weakest link has the potential to become one of the strongest links in the chain of success.
About Shari Becker, CDA, RDA, FADAA
Shari Becker has been a full-time chairside assistant for Dr. Stephen R. Snow in Danville, Calif., for 14 years, and has been an RDA and CDA since 1985. Shari is on the faculty at the Mt. Diablo Adult Education Center in Concord, Calif., and has been teaching dental assisting for more than 12 years. She is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association, the California Dental Assistants Association, Diablo Dental Assistants Society, the California Association of Dental Assisting Teachers, and the California Council on Adult Education. She is a fellow of the American Dental Assistants Association, and is currently serving as the 12th District Trustee to the American Dental Assistants Association, representing California, Nevada, Hawaii, and Guam. She has served in many capacities on the local, state, and national levels, including president of the California Dental Assistants Association and president of the California Association of Dental Assisting Teachers. Shari is currently working in conjunction with dental manufacturing companies to heighten awareness and acknowledge the contribution of dental assistants to the profession of dentistry.
Shari Becker is back this month to answer your questions on KOMET Korner. As you may know, she helped develop the Shari Becker Provisional Fabrication Kit for KOMET USA. This is the third time this year Shari has answered your questions, and this month she has some helpful tips on issues experienced by all dental professionals on a daily basis. These subjects include disruptive children with parents who do nothing, how assistants should suggest rotary instruments to their doctors, and how to keep a weak team member from bringing down the entire office. We thank Shari for taking time out of her busy schedule to participate in Dental Assisting Digest™’s interactive column.Don’t forget, we want to know what’s on your mind. If you have questions you want to ask the KOMET USA esteemed panel of assistants, please e-mail them to [email protected]. Keep your questions coming, and we promise to answer them in next month’s issue.DAD:How do you suggest doctors and staff deal with a disruptive child and a parent who does not handle the situation properly?Becker: I suggest you invite them into a private room with another staff member in an attempt to calm the disruption. You must evaluate the circumstance. It may be best to separate the parent and child and conduct individual interviews regarding the circumstances surrounding the disruption. Of course, this depends on the age and maturity of the child. To discover the real problem behind the disruption, you must have the trust of both the parent and child. Discuss the reason(s) for the disruption with the parent and the best way to avoid future problems. If appropriate, include the child in the discussion. Discuss treatment options to prevent future concerns and disruptions, such as special time of day scheduling, a special pre-appointment diet, or possible use of sedation. Schedule the next visit to accommodate any special needs for the patient and parent. Remind the parent that the goal of treatment is to be as efficient as possible while maintaining patient comfort. DAD:How do you recommend rotary instruments to your dentist?Becker: I usually recommend a new rotary instrument to my dentist at our regularly scheduled weekly meetings. That specific meeting affords my doctor and me one-on-one time to discuss a variety of things, including new products. I then call my product representative to order samples, so my doctor has an opportunity to test and compare the new product. When he has tried the new product, I schedule a meeting between the doctor and my local representative to answer any more questions. DAD:We have a staff member who is the “weakest link” in the office. How do we get that person to change his or her ways?