Manage well at work to have a harmonious day
There are days that are just mad. The clients came together and they needed their solutions. Today was one such day. Whatever mood they came in with, as health providers, we should never lose our cool.
First patient A came with a denture that could not be used and it had been redone somewhere before. The fact that she had been deprived of food for a period of time did not put her in a good mood.
Meanwhile, another senior patient B trooped into the clinic on time and wanted to be seen immediately. A’s appointment time had cut into B’s and B was turned off by the fact that she had to fill in some digital form for registration records.
Patient C who was known to be impatient was on the way. Immediately we texted her to make her know that there will be some delay.
The dental assistants’ nerves were frayed by now as they felt the tensions arose.
All hell would break loose if things did not calm down. That was nothing serious but emotions were riding high.
As the dentist and leader, I needed to resolve the situation amicably.
We explained to patient A about the denture being not fitting in the first place so we did some adjustments as accurately as possible and sent her away for 25 minutes to test some food with the denture. She may not need a new one so she would save some money.
Patient B was immediately attended to and we took off the digital stress by registering for her and let her put her signature on the tablet. Subsequently, her most urgent problem which was the painful tooth was attended to without hesitation.
A comprehensive diagnosis with X-ray, medication, and treatment was instituted and she was also shown other potential problems which she needed to come again to have fixed and the problem reviewed. She went away happily.
Patient C, who was a stickler for time, was delayed for 10 minutes but was expectedly calm, apparently also helped by the soothing music of the clinic.
We duly apologized and treated her as well as presented a small toothpaste sample as a token of appreciation for her understanding and patience.
Patient A came back to say that the adjusted denture fared better but needed to redo.
Now, with time for an exact diagnosis and a clear mind, I explained to her why her situation was a difficult case – thin, sharp bony ridges that could not withstand masticatory forces, and undercuts that make relief necessary for the new denture.
She was pacified and was not angry with dentists anymore. Then, we proceeded to take impressions for a new denture with specific instructions to make relief for ridges to prevent over-compression.
The day may continue this way with subsequent patients and they are not uncommon on most days. But we always cope well.
Dental pain is one of the most excruciating pains to be experienced by the human body.
My Strategy for a smooth-running practice-
1 Stay calm. – Greet the customer with a smile as they have lost theirs. Settle them nicely and do what is most relevant first – Relieve pain, give anesthetic if necessary, prescribe medications. Only when pain is controlled are they open to discussion. A little wait would help to calm everyone down.
2 Good communication — -There are no shortcuts. It can allay any misunderstanding.
Explaining the causes, effects, treatment, and prognosis in the simplest manner and terms would make the patient more receptive and understanding of her condition. Then prognosis, options, costs, and consent should be made known succinctly.
3 Music is the balm to the soul. In the surgery, the selection of calming music has proven to not only relax the working staff but have put some patients to sleep with their mouths open!
4 Review as an after-service – This step tends to overlooked but it is very significant. Many patients expressed satisfaction that clinic staff would contact them following minor surgery, a procedure to relieve pain like a root canal, or any general complaint. This is the X factor that would stand one out from other clinics and is the last good impression that sticks!
A dental Clinic is the last place anyone wants to visit. Having a good strategy to manage the day to day challenges can make the dental career a fulfilling one.
In any case, the steps listed here – Stay calm, good communication, the use of appropriate soothing music, and after service follow-up are good tips that any business could deploy to make their business amiable for both customers and staff.