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Thursday Troubleshooter: Team puts up with dentist's strange hours

June 23, 2016
This dental team is made to work late hours because the dentist doesn't come in until late morning, immediately takes lunch, and stays then late. How can the team change the situation?

Do you have a tough issue in your dental office that you would like addressed? Each week the experts on Team Troubleshooter will tackle those issues and provide you with answers. Send questions to [email protected].

QUESTION: Our one-man practice comes in every day between 11:30 am and noon. The staff of two starts at 9 am to answer calls, document insurance paper work, and do banking. When the dentist comes in he is full of pep and works on one patient then takes his hour for lunch. The point is he has no life and does not mind working until 7 pm or later. How do we deal with his uncaring attitude toward his staff?

ANSWER FROM JUDY KAY MAUSOLF, Founder of Practice Solutions, Inc:
I don’t believe this is about an uncaring attitude. Has his schedule always been this way? Many people are not morning people and prefer to start later in the day and work later. If so, you have to decide whether or not this works for you. As owner of the dental practice your boss gets to decide what hours he prefers to work. As long as he is consistent and the team is informed before they’re hired, this is reasonable.

If this is a recent change in scheduling, ask to schedule a meeting with your doctor to discuss the future schedule. Confirm whether it is his desire to continue to work the current schedule. There are many ways to make this schedule work if he plans to continue working later each day. The staff could all start at 11:30, or you could stagger who starts early and who stays late. The doctor could adjust his start time from 11:30 to 12:30 and eat lunch before he starts his day, which would give you one hour to complete paperwork before he arrives.

It really boils down to you. It’s up to you to decide whether you can be happy and supportive working his hours. If not it’s time to find an office where you can be happy.

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