Life can be smooth sailing…
I wake up every day and somehow there are new mountains to climb. You need to get stuff done but your schedule is packed for the day. Once you stepped into the office, you are barraged by a hundred questions from staff. There are some hiccups in the office protocol/schedule that may dismay the customers.
Welcome to life, at home or in the office. Unless you live as a hermit, away from the din of city life, have few friends, and do not interact with most people, you would face less stress but you may also be consumed by boredom. I choose the former because it is not only challenging, it puts my wits to the test and there is a sense of fulfillment when things get done.
What you need are loads of patience, calm, communication, and determination.
Patience because things can be sorted out. Everything takes time as you strategize, leveraging on experience, connections, and timing.
Calm because the mind is a powerful instrument. It is an abyss of ideas but they are only released when the temperament is good which stills your heart and your knee-jerk reflexes and your negative emotions.
Communication because it is key to the solutions. People are not mind-readers but when there is a clear discourse, there are very few unreasonable people. In fact, they may stand on your side as they want to see you to succeed!
Determination because you will fail before you finally succeed. And fail many times. Obstacles seem insurmountable but eventually, they will diminish and you will stand on the pinnacle of victory. Even if you don’t, your lessons learned will enable your next challenge to be easily overcome.
One example; the bookings for the patients were messed up one morning. Suddenly, you have three ongoing appointments seeking treatment and all in the waiting room. Usually, patients have to get back to work or have another appointment outside.
State of calm activated. I seated the most elderly first ( the rest of the patients would understand) then listen out to his complaints. After reassuring him and telling him what would be done, I requested that he wait for me as it takes time to solve his problem efficiently. Effective Communication always works and one case is put on hold.
The second patient is attended to. The problem of most concern is attended to. Diagnostic work like X-rays is carried out. Clear explanations are explained and the patient is given a pain-killer if in pain and that itself takes time to come into effect. If not, the third patient waiting outside would be informed of the extra waiting time while resolving this case.
The third patient is attended to. Definitive work can be done like general work such as prophylaxis or restoration that usually do not take up much time. If there is extensive dental work to be done, the patient is explained about the complexity of the situation and re-appointed. Patients are very understanding. Discharged happily.
The first two patients are then treated consecutively and discharged. In my younger, inexperienced days which I noticed in younger colleagues of mine today, there is always a state of panic as to where to start.
Calm and communication in this instance solved the hiccups. Without calm, you may bungle up on your diagnosis as the mind needs to process the findings accurately. Without communication, your patients would become flustered and storm out, thinking that your clinic is disorganized. Of course, an apology to each patient is in order.
The second example; patient called and complained about an unsatisfactory treatment — Filling has dislodged again. From experience, I knew it was not the same one done. Most patients are not aware of exactly which tooth was treated but only could point to the quadrant where the treatment was done.
With the use of the dental camera and digital treatment records, we were able to show that the new restoration is done was still intact and the dislodged filling is often the next tooth. This has happened a few times. The patient had flared up unnecessarily.
Listen out to the patient patiently, instill calm by being composed yourself, and communicate with the patient with evidence provided, and have the determination to ensure that the patient has a pleasant experience that would lead to a successful outcome and repeat business.
This strategy applies to everything else outside work. In all situations involving misunderstandings, unhappiness, accusations, the greatest skill to master is calm. Followed by the patience to explain and the communication skills to put your points succinctly across. Determine to unravel the perceived problem and you will meet with success.