"Top 10 things your doctor should know"

Nov. 13, 2009
We asked you what should be said to doctors. Here are the top 10 statements that you chose. Tied for No. 10 is, "A dentist should not humiliate employees in front of patients."

This survey was constructed in a two-phase approach. First, I asked the readers in September to email me "things" they thought their doctor/employer should know. The second phase was the compilation of these suggestions into a list of 25 items and then asking the readers to pick their top 10. This was a popularity contest, sort to speak. We did not ask the readers to rank their top ten, only to choose 10 out of the list of 25 "things your doctor should know."

The results reflect the percentage of hygienists who chose these particular statements. Overall, 1,451 participated in the survey. Thank you! On average, the respondents chose 9.5 answers, so it worked out to very close to what was requested.

Before I get to the answers, I first want to mention that I think there is a lot of information in these 11 statements, and a lot that you, as hygienists/employees can do, no matter what your position is within your practice. You are a team member, people interact with you, count on you, rely on you, and so your contribution makes a difference. And by contribution, I mean, not the work you produce, but also the support, encouragement, loyalty, creativity, and overall value you bring to the table.

You may not be in a formal leadership role, but you can still be a positive emotional leader (the colleague, for example, people go to when they need an injection of positive spirit), a team builder (someone, for example, who makes sure everyone gets heard), and/or an energy creator (someone who sees when a peer needs support and offers it freely).

So as you read the following results, please remember that real change, behavioral change, takes time and may require your own self-reflection and accountability for your actions and to offer others encouragement, give gratitude, and even laugh.

Lastly, I believe it's everyone's responsibility to make your work environment more positive, so please remember to read "Survey results: Now what?" for additional tips on the next steps to your positive transformational communication.

Survey Reveals ...

Top 10 Things Your Doctor Should Know

1. Compensate me well for my efforts. I help build your practice. 68% selected this answer

2. Say "thank you" when team members work hard, maybe even give them a reward. 65% selected this answer

3. A doctor should back up the hygienist in discussing periodontal recommendations and perio findings with patients. 61% selected this answer

4. (tie) Dental personnel need to be shown they are appreciated! 50% selected this answer

4. (tie) Not all hygienists are created the same. 50% selected this answer

6. A dental hygienist is part of the team. 48% selected this answer

7. (tie) Talk to your team to see where there might be problems. 47% selected this answer

7. (tie) A dentist should treat the staff with respect; many dental hygienists feel that their employers treat them like "they are just making you money" or are "production girls." 47% selected this answer

9. The dental hygienist should play a key role in identifying and diagnosing periodontal disease. If the dental hygienist isn't current on this information, spend some money on CE courses as these will be worth it for the office. 44% selected this answer

10. (tie) Reward us just like you want to be rewarded ... that's all we ask. 42% selected this answer

10. (tie) A dentist should not humiliate employees in front of patients. 42% selected this answer

Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, BS
Director RDH eVillage

Director's Message: The entire ranking of the 25 Things a Dentist Should Know, will be revealed in an upcoming article in RDH magazine and RDH eVillage, January 2010.