Like most dentists, you probably have a preferred dental assistant.
Your favourite DA
Usually the one you’ve worked with the longest. The one who’s gotten to know exactly how you do things. Together you’ve refined the workflows and are sensitive to each other’s cues.
A new DA
When you work with anyone else, the flow is just not as efficient and you can quickly feel frustrated and impatient, noticing little things throughout the procedure that annoy you. You can’t express most of this in front of the patient but your DA feels the tension and frustration too.
The DA is just trying their best. In the absence of mind-reading, systemised training and communication, it’s all they can do.
The reality is, over the course of our careers, we’ll have to work with new DAs, many times over. But you don’t have to start from zero over and over again.
A better way
Rather than getting annoyed every time you have to work with someone new, document exactly what it is you want. Not just the process but the objectives you’re trying to achieve. Detail all your little preferences, do’s and don’ts etc.
If you document it, you’ll give yourself a far better chance of reproducing what it is your favourite DA delivers. Better yet, have your favourite DA document it. Good news is, you only have to do this once. It’s not fair to a new DA to be expected to know what you want without it being documented and communicated properly.
Everyone is unique
Of course, every personality is unique and that cannot be reproduced. But if the objectives in your systems are clear, let your team members achieve the objective in their own unique way. For example, if the objective is to interact with the patient to get to know them, make them feel important, comfortable and cared for, then they can do that in their own authentic way.
Up-skill all your DAs
Building up these documented processes and systems is how we up-skill our staff to the point where we can work with any DA on the team, knowing their skill set is relatively uniform. Clinical notes, photography, intra-oral scanning, treatment coordination, pre- and post- treatment consultations, x-rays, treatment plan sequencing, patient communication are all skills that can be systemised and trained. Of course the dentist is 100% responsible for these but why not give them the systems and training to help you?
To get started with building your systems, you can use Level Up to make it easy. It’s a home for all your practice systems and the hub for your staff training. You can track where everyone is at with their training, knowing that you’re all learning off the same songbook.