“Do one thing every day that scares you.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

7 Aug

“I have a magnet on my refrigerator with this on it.  Eleanor was a pretty smart lady…you can only grow if you step outside that which you know.  Six years ago when my dentist decided to sign on with Dr. Brady’s Group, my first thought was, “here we go again!”.  Those of you who have been through “management group therapy” can identify with me.  Today, I can enthusiastically say that that decision was a turning point in my life and my career.

Dental hygienists are in a unique position within a dental practice.  You have incredible potential as a part of the “team”.  This has nothing to do with cleaning teeth and lecturing about flossing – rather, it has everything to do with your personal connection with patients – your concern about their care and your willingness to help them “discover” what they want and how to get it.  This was the “ah-ha” moment for me years ago – Dr Brady made a statement during one of his meetings, “ people don’t die if they don’t get their dentistry done”.  So, I’m sitting there thinking… they get dentistry because they want something for themselves.. they don’t necessarily like the dentistry, but they want the results and benefits.

Not all patients who walk through your door want the same things.  It is not up to us to decide for them (huge paradigm shift here) and this is difficult for us because when we came out of dental school we were ready to save the world from gum disease whether they wanted it or not!  I still want to help, but I now focus my efforts on those patients who have asked me to help them and boy, does that make a difference in my day!  Using the verbal skills and systems we learned with Dr. Brady’s Group, we “discovered” that there is a whole world of dentistry to be done for patients who want those benefits –  they were just waiting for us to listen long enough to understand what they wanted!  Patients don’t care what you know… until they know that you care!

So, was this uncomfortable for me?  You bet it was and in several ways.  Learning to listen…ask questions…listen…ask questions…listen…don’t talk.  Learning to work as a team and not just as the “hygiene department”, learning new systems, new ways of doing things, new verbal skills, role playing, video taping…the list goes on.  Talk about getting out of your comfort zone!!!  But an interesting thing happened…I started having success, I got better, I started having fun, my team started “gelling” and getting excited about what we were doing, my doctor started doing the kind of dentistry he really enjoys, our days were better planned, more enjoyable and most of all…I felt better about the work and service I was doing because those patients were motivated and there because they wanted to be! 

So, dare to “kick it up a notch”…you may surprise yourself and everyone around you with skills and rewards you never imagined…take yourself to another level and see what it looks like from there… we hygienists are awesome – are we not?”

 Stephanie Adams, RDH
Dr. Scott Stewart’s most awesome hygienist! 

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