Take care of your team, and they will keep your practice strongNews
Posted by: The Probe 18th August 2020
The end of this year is going to look very different from the start. Goals have changed; plans may have been put on ice. Months away from practice probably led to a new appreciation of the people you work with, and the patients you treat. Not being able to support your patients’ dental needs and keep them in good oral health was one of the most frustrating parts of lockdown for many dental professionals.
Now, almost every element of everyone’s role will have been adapted to suit the “new normal”. Significant, practical changes to how it delivers patient care will have been made by every practice. How well has your team adjusted?
When the phased return of routine care began, many were wondering if patients would want to come back. Giving them reassurances of safety became an overriding concern. But the enhanced infection prevention and control measures are to protect the team, too. So much has changed in dentistry since the pandemic – and there is still a great deal that we don’t know about the Coronavirus.
Taking care of your team has never been more important. Safety at work is fundamental – dental professionals have been running safe practices for years, using tried-and-tested protocols that were mostly invisible to an untrained eye. But now it’s also important to ensure people feel motivated and supported.
To get through this challenging next phase you will need good people around you. Patients will come back; the backbone of every successful practice is (and always was) the people who work there. Many of the things you can do to keep the team inspired haven’t really changed, post-pandemic either. Good communication has always been key to mitigating stress at work; regularly checking in with each other is even more crucial now. Discontent must never be allowed to fester, so create an environment where everyone feels comfortable in raising issues, however trivial they might seem.
Ensure that practice management processes are smooth and efficient. A well-organised practice is a place people enjoy working in. If you are having to split your team into two to support social distancing, everyone needs to have a good working knowledge of day-to-day operations. No one should be left feeling stranded by a patient query that they are unable to answer. Regular meetings, to reiterate new procedures for booking and attending appointments, will ensure that everyone feels confident they can offer an informed service and help everyone who gets in contact. An unhappy patient is always upsetting; with emotions now generally running a lot higher, you want to avoid these situations now more than ever, particularly if they were based on miscommunication.
The dental team should be encouraged to share any observations or ideas they have about how things could be improved. These might involve whether they feel safe, if they are confused about whether they should be wearing a certain piece of PPE, or provide a specific procedure, how reassured they are that the air inside the surgery is clean, if they feel the need for additional training, etc. They might want to refresh their learning in infection control, or boost their confidence in technologies if you are now offering remote consultations, for example. Retaining a talented team and creating a healthy working environment has always been important, but now it’s essential – a happy practice, is a productive practice that will deliver the very best patient care.
As well as any additional equipment, give them quality products to work with. This shows them that you are committed to investing in the best and giving them the means to perform at peak performance and deliver excellent care every day. Of course, things happen and even the best-run practice is not immune to systems failing. There should never be any cost-cutting when it comes to maintaining equipment and ensuring it can be relied upon – especially equipment that keeps the team safe and protected. For example, your compressor keeps the air in your surgery compliant, but it must be working properly to fulfil its role. This means having an efficient support package. The AirCare Adoption Programme from DentalAir is a wonderful initiative whereby your air compressor, regardless of brand, is “adopted” so you can access 24-hour support, wherever you are. There are lots of benefits to the programme – including problem-free, quality compressed air, less stress and more peace of mind.
A happy dental team should be your goal for the end of 2020; it’s the means by which you’ll deliver gold-standard care and successful clinical outcomes. Give them an efficient, safe, well-run place to work, which is also open and communicative, and they will support you through any challenges ahead. A happy team is at the heart of every successful practice, a place where patients will want to come.
For more information, please contact DentalAir at email@example.com
or call 0800 975 7530
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