8 Simple Secrets to Being Indispensable in the Dental Practice – Part 4

by Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH

Dental Practice

In the last few issues of Oral Hygiene, the introduction to this topic, Secret #1, #2 and #3, were revealed. If you missed them, be sure to look back at these articles!

To continue, when we look at what we can do in the dental practice to feel like we matter, to bring value, and to think that we would be missed if we were to leave, it is important for us to have a mindset to flourish in our workspace.

Secret #4: Be a Lifelong Learner.

Being a lifelong learner plays such an important role for us as dental professionals, both personally and professionally. Not only does lifelong learning help us grow and thrive in our field, but it helps us feel fulfilled and engaged in our practice.

Lifelong Learning = Happiness!

Lifelong learning refers to someone who actively seeks knowledge, skills, and experiences. It is a pursuit of learning far beyond our formal education or checking off the boxes for our Quality Assurance requirements.

I have met so many dental hygienists on both spectrums. Those who take courses just to meet their hours and then those who constantly explore new learning and growth.

Being a lifelong learner sets you apart from those who are just covering the basics.

In a field that is dynamic and ever-evolving, with advancements in technology and research, we need to be on the path of pursuit of continuing education and professional development.

Embracing the ethos of being a lifelong learner not only enhances our competence and confidence, but also, makes us “Indispensable in the Dental Practice!”

Secret #5: Share Your Knowledge.

With all the new knowledge and skills you acquire, it is important to not work as a silo to be “Indispensable in the Dental Practice.”

Set up Knowledge Translation meetings with your team once you have collected your information and are ready to share to make change happen.

Getting the front team on board with the “why” before your “how” or “do,” is key to creating a consistent flow of communication between the front admin team and the back clinical team.

Secret #6: Be a Master at the Art of Selling.

When it comes to the word “sales” or “selling,” many dental hygienists don’t like to think of this word.

Sales are everything in every business. Without selling, we cannot be a part of a successful, profitable practice.

It isn’t considered selling if you truly believe in the services and treatment you offer. If you feel that your practice is over-selling, that is an ethical issue, and I do understand that there are practices out there like this. I am referring to believing in the treatment that you are offering and getting excited to compel your patients (not convince them) to move forward with treatment.

Once you shift your mindset to how you can help your patient versus trying to sell them something that you may perceive they can’t afford but know is the best option for them, this is when the true magic and authentic communications begin.

Believing in your practice and all that you offer can totally recharge you in knowing that you are contributing to the success of your practice and the health of your patients. This newfound confidence will set you apart and make you “Indispensable in the Dental Practice.”

Secret #7: Be Innovative.

Being innovative in practice means that you contribute ideas and solutions to workplace/practice challenges or problems. Innovators recognize when there is a need for improvement, and they use logic, reason, and creativity to devise ways to meet those needs.

I love being innovative and looking for ways to make something better. All practices have some areas that need improvement. Look for opportunities to create a system or a way to make something better in your practice.

Secret #8: Be an Implementer.

Once you suggest an innovative solution, be the implementer to ensure that the solution is addressed.

When implementing a program or a solution, being an implementer means that you are taking charge and taking the lead to ensure that the launch of the program is successful. This could mean that you delegate other team members to take on roles in the program. You do not have to do it all yourself, but someone must take the lead to ensure the program succeeds.

Someone needs to track, measure and re-evaluate if something is not working and make the necessary changes.

For example, the innovator could recognize the need to improve the instrumentation kits or instrumentation systems in your practice. Many practices use worn-out, overused instruments that not only affect the treatment you are providing, but also hurts the patient experience and are harmful to you as a clinician, as it will shorten the longevity of your career.

The innovator would collect all the information to show the status quo of your current instrumentation and how that affects patient care, the practice, and the health of your clinicians, and devise a solution. Once the plan has been approved, the innovator could be the one to implement the program and be the one who organizes and ensures that the program is being sustained.

Being “Indispensable in the Dental Practice” is one that we can all strive for to give us purpose and to feel noticed and valued. From having a Positive Mindset (Secret #1) to being a Leader (Secret #2), to Specializing (Secret #3), to being a Lifelong Learner (Secret #4), to Sharing Your Knowledge (Secret #5), to Mastering the Art of Selling (Secret #6), to Being Innovative (Secret #7) to Being an Implementer (Secret #8) are all things in our reach! What can you do in your practice to be “Indispensable in the Dental Practice?”

About the Author

Kathleen is the president of rdhu, a Professional Development company, which provides team events, hands-on programs and online learning to help Transform the Dental Hygiene Experience for the clinician, the client/patient and the practice. rdhu.ca