So you’re an RDH and your patient is 12 minutes late and low and behold they stroll in on their cell phone and spend 2 minutes finishing their call, you ask them to come back, get them seated and then they have to go to the washroom. So you’re 20 min into their time and you work fast and efficiently trying to catch up and then you let them know they have to book back to complete their appointment. THEN they say to you- “Well I don’t understand why you didn’t get this done!”
As an RDA, you have a mom watching you while you’re trying to take impressions on a child who needs a space maintainer. Jose (the kid) is playing on his iPad and not listening to you. Your doctor is waiting for you next door to start a crown prep and you know there’s 13,000 instruments in steri waiting. You talk to Jose and finally get some alginate in his mouth and he throws up, everywhere… then mom gets upset and mad, Jose starts crying because his own vomit wrecked his iPad and your name is being screamed from down the hall and you know you’re at least 15 minutes behind.
After a huge appointment, a patient come up front to your desk. As an administrator you send insurance and let them know their portion is $52.40 and they tell you that they have 100% coverage and they shouldn’t be paying anything. Meanwhile the phone is ringing non-stop, you have someone on hold, your RDH is waiting behind you to ask a question, you hear the doctor walking a patient up down the hall, and boom a new patient walks in. On top of it all you’re the only one working and the patient in front of you starts raising his voice about the $52.40 he owes and ranting about how awful you are.
You’re 5 minutes late due to horrible traffic and walk into the office and boom you have an RDA circling your desk waiting to complain to you about the other RDA in the clinic. As a manager, you look and have 8 messages to return, you open your email and have 31 unread. On the way you got a call that your RDH is sick and won’t make their shift in an hour. On top of it all you’re thinking about how ever you’re going to get payroll done before your deadline in 2 hours. Then you scroll through your emails to check the urgency and see someone has sent in their resignation and then to top it all your admin walks over and says your office is having issues with Dentrix and they need you to call them, oh wait and now you need an RDH for that patient in 40 minutes.
I’m ready to start a filling, hmmm where is my assistant? I get up, leave my patient and go to look for her… she’s texting in the lab! You’ve got to be kidding me, my patient is sitting in the chair and my assistant is off texting. As a dentist, I realize that my back is hurting so I walk back to the Op. In the minute I was gone my patient popped the rubber dam clamp off! I place it and then can’t open and I struggle to fit instruments, yet alone my hand piece in this tiny opening during the duration of the appointment I am constantly asking my assistant who’s paying attention EVERYTHING but ME and our PATIENT who’s continually gagging throughout the appointment. I finally get an excellent restoration done, like top notch and get the dam off and the patient has the nerve to say to me that it took too long! And now I’m 30 minutes behind for the rest of the day If everything else does perfectly…. great.
Where do you start?!
What’s the answer?
The key to not having stress in a dental office is buy wine- lots of WINE!
Just kidding (but it does help)! Personal work stress is tough to deal with, all of these situations are equally demanding and require a lot of patience and management skills.
Some tips are as follows:
- Discuss potentially tough cases at your morning business meeting to prepare the whole team for potential issues that may arise
- Stay Calm- if you stay come your team will stay calm and your patient will stay calm which in turn makes the whole situation much easier to deal with
- Review tough situations together- when these things happen, discuss them as a team. Challenges are learning opportunities
- Help each other- if you can sense your team member needs help or hear them struggling see what you can do it make the situation easier, patients feel this when they are in the office and will have a better experience if they feel good vibes from the team
- Say Thank You- I cannot express how important this is. No matter how small or big your situation is, thank your patient, team, parent, however is involved for their patience and help. This goes a long way
- Smile- come on, you work in a dental office. Smiling makes people happy and calm. It really helps, try it! Patients feel energy and a smile shows your awesome energy and enthusiasm about them and your clinic