KOMET Korner Q&A with Tina M. Calloway, CDA, for Feb. DAD

Feb. 16, 2010
In this month's KOMET Korner, Tina Calloway, CDA, gives advice to her fellow assistants on how to fit in at the office, how to handle a stubborn new employee, and how to inform a new office that several things are not up-to-code.

This month, KOMET Korner welcomes back our friend and colleague, Tina M. Calloway, CDA. If you don’t know Tina, she is a rising star in the dental assisting world and helped develop the Tina Calloway PRO-Visional Kit (TD2103A) — the first bur kit from KOMET USA designed for dental assistants to work on provisional temporaries. We also want to congratulate Tina on being named by Dental Products Report as One of Five People to Watch in 2010. It was well deserved.

This month, Tina gives advice to her fellow assistants on how to fit in at the office, how to handle a stubborn new employee, and how to inform a new office that several things are not up-to-code.

We also encourage you to sign up for Tina’s informative lectures being held on April 22, 2010 (Orlando, FL) and May 28, 2010 (Las Vegas, NV). For more information or to register for Tina’s courses, please visit the following Web sites:

Dental Assisting Digest wants to know what’s on your mind. If you have something you want to ask KOMET USA’s esteemed panel of assistants, please e-mail them to [email protected]. Your continued success is important to your office’s success.

DAD: I work in a small office (four back-office staff and one front-office staff). At lunch, the other women all leave and go out together. Even if we are finished with our morning patients, I am not even invited to join them at lunch. What do you suggest?

Calloway: It is never fun feeling left out of a group, especially if it is your work family. A lesson I learned by reading “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie is to become genuinely interested in other people. Dale Carnegie wrote, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you. People are truly interested in themselves, and we find that we are interested in others when they are interested in us.” Sometimes we get so busy being busy in the workplace, that we set aside our interest in relationships, especially to those who we spend the most time with — our work family. Rather than feeling left out, why not let someone in and invite your team members to lunch? Be genuinely interested in them, and if working at the front desk delays your being on time to lunch with your team, then give them a place to meet you and maybe provide them with your lunch order before they leave. When you arrive, thank them for having lunch with you. Let them know that you miss talking with them during the day, and that you would like to spend time with them more often. Letting people know that you are genuinely interested and truly appreciate them is like attracting bees to honey.

DAD: We recently hired a new staff member who has more than 10 years of dental assisting experience. She keeps saying, “That is not how I did it in my other office,” and it is quite unprofessional. How do you suggest we handle this situation?

Calloway: A dental assistant with 10 years of experience is very valuable to any dental office. No doubt he or she has learned tricks of the trade through his or her experience; however, most dental assistants should have an understanding that not all practices are the same. I suggest that when your teammate says something like this again, you can let him or her know why your practice does a procedure a certain way. You may also adopt the “Secret of Socrates — in talking with people, do not begin discussing things which you differ; begin discussing and keep emphasizing the things about which you agree. Keep emphasizing that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is that of method and not of purpose.”

DAD: I am brand new to a practice, having just graduated from a dental assisting program. I am noticing that there are some practices in the office that are not up to current standards. How do I approach the doctor and/or staff about my concerns?

Calloway: Lesson No. 1 — Do not criticize, condemn, or complain. It is easy to do these three things when making a sincere effort to change someone or something. One lesson learned in life is that no one ever receives too much praise. If you see something that is not up to par, why not address it in seeking to understand why a procedure is done a particular way? Then ask what can dentistry do to improve this? When you see an improvement, make sure to point out that specific accomplishment with meaningful praise rather than flattery. You will find that most people are very pleased with recognition and praise, and will make more improvements toward success to get it. Dale Carnegie also said, “Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”

About Tina M. Calloway, CDA
Ms. Calloway is a Texas native, who served in the U.S. Navy in 1992 and received her dental assisting training in Marietta, Ga. Now living in North Carolina, she has worked in dentistry for 14 years as a full-time dental assistant, is the past president of the Piedmont Dental Assistant Society, and currently is a clinical assisting consultant. Ms. Calloway is a member of the North Carolina Dental Assistant Association and the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA). She is also an award-winning graduate of the Dale Carnegie Organization, an advisory board member of Dental Assisting Digest and Inside Dental Assisting magazines with several published articles. Ms. Calloway is a regular KOMET Korner participant in Dental Assisting Digest™, and in conjunction with KOMET USA helped develop the Tina Calloway PRO-Visional Kit TD2103A, the first bur kit from KOMET USA designed for dental assistants by a dental assistant to work on provisional temporaries. Tina was named by Dental Products Report as One of Five People to Watch in 2010. She is a member of the Speaking Consulting Network and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Team Advisory Council. Ms. Calloway has also been a guest lecturer at the Thomas P. Hinman Meeting, the Holiday Dental Conference, the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, and PennWell’s Professional Dental Assisting Conference.