Dear team: An open letter from your hygienist
To my dentist, my office manager, and my scheduling coordinator…I love you guys but, we’ve got to have a “come to Jesus” about some things before I lose my damn mind…Puhleeze for the love of all things sterile:
1. Stop encouraging tardiness
If my patient shows up halfway through their appointment, or calls when they’re already 10 minutes late saying they’ll be here in 10 more minutes, don’t tell them that’s okay. It’s not. If I get half the time does that mean I only need to clean half their mouth? Should I just do the right side? Or maybe just anteriors? Does my next patient know you just volunteered them to sit in the waiting area for an extra 20+ minutes?
2. Stop saying it’s just a cleaning
It belittles my education, my abilities, and beyond that it belittles the care I’m providing to the patient. Even if it’s to reassure that, “it’s just a cleaning today, no drill to fear”, it still gives the impression the treatment I provide is somehow less important.
3. Stop disrupting my schedule
If you want to have a 15 minute conversation about your latest Euro trip complete with a scrapbook of selfies at the end of my patient’s exam, please don’t have it with them in my chair. I have been stressing all day about maintaining my schedule and I can’t seat my next patient until I’ve had time to clean and turn this room around. I’m standing here trying to be polite, but I feel like this should be obvious.
4. Stop micro-managing my hours
Don’t expect me to clock out if a patient cancels last minute. I can assure you I have plenty of charts to get caught up on, instruments to sharpen, sterilizing to do and coworkers to assist. I understand you are focused on the bottom line, but know that I am aware of that as well.
I’m not trying to be a prima donna I’m just trying to do my job, and do it well.
We can do this.