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Office Manager

A letter from your next office manager

May 5, 2021
If you think that your office manager is not important, think again. This proud office manager will help promote your practice as the best in town.

By Valarie Caulfield

RE: You need me. I’m your next office manager. I’m worth it, and I’ll show you why!

Dear Dentist,

In a post-shutdown world, you might think your biggest challenge is getting patients to return to your office. Or you might think it’s finding the extra supplies needed to keep everyone safe. Perhaps it’s calming patients’ nerves about all the new protocols. It’s certainly a different world than it was 14 months ago. As a dentist/owner, you have many things to consider when running your business. Instead of trying to do it all on your own, what you need is me.

Now, I don’t literally mean me. But figuratively speaking you need me. You see, there have been a few dentists before you who couldn’t live without me. They depended on me to do everything, from take their laundry to the dry cleaners to going grocery shopping to planning parties to doing all administrative duties of a dental office and everything in between. That’s how I learned to be me.  

I’ve worn many hats: gofer, organizer, typist, insurance expert, collector, software expert, biller, IT specialist, bill payer, student, payroll person, office maintenance specialist, the one who hires and fires, inventory control specialist, travel agent, and friend.

My titles included “front desk,” “receptionist,” “practice administrator,” and “office manager.” It never matters what the title is, what matters is the person who’s doing the job. I’m proud of my work because you’ve made me proud. I’ve been given the tools, training, time to learn, and team to work with.

The dentists before you believed in me and felt I was a colleague, not just an employee. They invested in me so I could share their vision. These dentists included me and other team members in their educational opportunities. They knew I would feel proud to represent their office if they made me feel like a part of the business. And I did. You see, dentistry is my career, not just a job. All my coworkers through the years have become my close friends. That’s the direct result of the work atmosphere that my employers fostered. They gave us all a sense of security in our careers. They encouraged our friendships outside of the office.

You will hire many different types of people through the years. I’m certain I’ve worked with most of them. Each person will bring their unique talents to your team. They will all perform best when they know you think they’re worth it. All anyone wants to do is please you and feel valued. If they’re valued, they’ll treat your patients like family and do just about anything you ask them to do.

Your patients will remember how I made them feel when they’d just completed a procedure. They walked in scared of everything, but seeing my face made them confident that they could get through the procedure. Because I was so diligent in helping navigate their benefits and treatment options, they were comfortable proceeding with treatment. They even thanked me when they paid their portion of the bill.

To patients, it’s always about feeling comfortable. You can make them as comfortable as possible while they’re in your chair. But it’s me and the other team members who make them feel at home.

Being me in your office will always be my greatest joy, privilege, honor, and passion. I will continue to help the office thrive. Your office will continue to serve patients post COVID-19 because you had high expectations of me, and I met them.

Thank you for investing in your business by supporting me. Thank you for believing in education, training, organizational memberships, and teamwork. And thank you for our friendship through the years.


Your Next Office Manager

Valarie Caulfield has worked in the administrative side of dentistry since 1984 and has been an office manager since 1991. She started her journey with the American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM) in 2011 and received her Fellowship (FAADOM) in 2015 while attending the national conference in Nashville. She received her Master (MAADOM) virtually in 2020. While she loves the numbers and business side of dentistry, her career has always focused on patient care and patient outcome. This was made possible by the dentists who put their trust in her abilities, supported her education, and believed in her as not only an employee but as a partner in their journey. Caulfield helped start the Northeast Washington AADOM chapter and serves as its vice president.