Working as a Team in the Dental Industry
There’s no “I” in “team”, right? Working as a team requires collaboration. It means various members must work together, organize, and communicate effectively to reach a milestone or accomplish a task they have in common. Teamwork can be hard. It requires the right players, the correct attitude, and similar ideas.
Whether it’s hard or not, workplaces benefit when their staff can efficiently work as a team. Collaboration leads to greater patient care and improved work experience for the staff.
What Does a Team Look Like?
No team can work effectively without the proper mentor or team leader. In a dental practice, the practice owner or the dentist will fill this role. This individual holds a lot of responsibility, and at times, the success of the team may depend upon the leader. This leader must know the team like the back of his/her hand. What strengths does each team member bring? What weaknesses do some have that can be counterbalanced by other’s strengths?
This team leader must be able to communicate with the team efficiently. With clarity inside the team, each member will know his/her role, freelancer or no freelancer. They know where they can contribute the most while knowing where they may need to improve. Moreover, with a strong leader, the team members will have the tools they need to overcome any deficits
The Individual Team Players
The full staff in the dental office knows who the leader is. They will also know what roles each other team member plays. This knowledge into the team’s functions allows for streamlined work. Each member can perform his/her duty while setting up the next team member for success. For example, seeing one patient requires effort from many team members.
Someone has spoken to the patient and set an appointment. On the day of the appointment, the patient comes into the office and is checked in by a front desk manager. From there a nurse or dental assistant may come into the waiting room to take the patient back to their chair.
A dental hygienist may come next to see the patient. Once ready for the next step, the dentist will come to evaluate the patient. Lastly, a nurse or assistant will take the patient back out to the front office where they may schedule the next appointment or settle any bills.
This workflow requires clear communication and understanding of each other’s roles. Nobody can overstep the boundaries and interfere with other team members' work without jeopardizing the patient’s experience.
Dealing with Imbalances
In every team, there’s a chance one member could bring down the team. They may not follow the proper workflows, frustrating other employees. To overcome this, the leader should be completely aware of the exact issues. Have notes at the ready to discuss with this team member. Mention the frustrations, problems, and suggest solutions. If no remedy can be agreed upon, or no improvements occur over the following weeks, it’s time for each party to move on.
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