The Myth of Training in the Dental Office

Staff Training – I am very proud of the way we handle staff training in my office. First, let me say there was once a day when I took charge of all the training in the office. It usually occurred somewhere during those 356 hours a year I talked about earlier. Unless you are truly unique or totally overstaffed, your dental office will get messy throughout the clinical workday. It is inevitable. Even the best staff will be forced to choose between seating the next patient exactly on time or restocking your rooms back to pristine condition. Stuff will pile up.

It all begins innocently enough. To stay on track, a back office staff member will borrow something from one operatory “just for a minute.” A front office staff member will decide to wait for “a better time,” to go through those pre-treatment estimates. I think we all know that those better times or extra minutes rarely show up. This is something that is especially Dangerous to a growing practice. You see, the reason you are now busy is because you worked so hard on little things. You were able to appeal to patients because you took time to do things right. You probably capitalized in these areas because other “busy” dentists in your area had let them fall through the cracks. Now due to your success, you are letting things fall through the cracks. If you are making good money and the new patients keep pouring in, you may be inclined to say, “So what?” (I will admit that once you have built a large patient base, it takes a long time to run the thing into the ground.) But I’m not like that. I can’t bring myself to say, “So what?” and, I’m willing to bet that any dentist taking the time to read this article is not like that either. Don’t fear. There is a way!

Now, this speaks especially to Solo practitioners, although it can be adapted to almost any working environment. I am talking about a day for staff training on a day in the week you don’t normally work. In my office that is the 4thday since I only work 3. I will assume, for arguments sake that most solo dentists are working Monday through Thursday. This leaves Fridays for practice improvements, training, continuing education, and various practice operations. Fridays are also for fun things like hobbies, sports, or just getting a jumpstart on a family weekend. You might also have a long list of Honey Do’s. How in the world does the average dentist find time to relax? Don’t worry; we’re not going to ask you, the doctor, to fix all this stuff yourself. Your Staff Will Make The Practice Perfect Again. Or at least as perfect as possible. You see the staff will work very hard on the 3 days you see patients. They will use every system and technique possible to do things the right way, but things will inevitably get a little behind or cluttered. Hopefully not to the point that they affect patient care and patient perception, or this has been an unsuccessful experiment. But expect the little things to be a little out of whack.

This is where the dentist must commit to a little work before taking the plunge into this new arrangement. You must have clearly defined tasks for Each staff member. Ideally, each staff member will have a checklist of things that must be done on the training day before they can leave for the weekend. If those tasks are not clearly defined, the staff member, however good intentioned, will forget things and leave some tasks undone. You also must have an ironclad understanding that the training day is for the well being of the office and not for socializing or catching up with each other. You must step up to the plate and be the boss to prevent this. Clearly define what you expect from your staff and then turn them loose. Also, check up on them, a lot at first, to make sure that they understand how to do those tasks to your liking. You can expect a lot from your staff when you provide them with this extra day to get everything done. Take a few hours of your time to draw up staff checklists and revise them as time goes on.

So, there you have it. You’ve just learned one of the biggest secrets that high production offices all share. You must give up and delegate to your staff if you want to really get out of the way of your practice and grow it. As an added bonus, you might just be able to keep your sanity, too. One of the greatest findings of Dr. Griffin during his consultation with dental practices has been that once all staff members are aware of their specific duties, they can resolve longstanding issues and enjoy, fun, profitable growth to superstar levels. You can get your free CD explaining the 5 most common Staff Secrets at http://www.dentalstaffsecrets.com.

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