Last week I asked the question as to whether your dental practice team members are really working together?
And I mentioned that sometimes I have seen instances where dental practice team members would rather see another team member flounder or fail, than to offer that team member assistance.
Now, before I tell you about one very specific incident that still upsets me to the core, let me tell you this:
At one time in my dental practice I had two dental assistants working together where one of those assistants deliberately and methodically helped the other and “carried” the other dental assistant.
And although this was far from an ideal situation, the stronger assistant valued the other dental assistant so much on a personal level, that she was willing to go above and beyond in the line of duty to help her friend with her tasks at work.
Now, this was not a case of the “weaker” assistant taking advantage of her work colleague.
All it was was that from time to time, the weaker assistant would struggle with her own levels of efficiency.
However, as the owner of the dental practice, I was acutely aware that this was far from an ideal situation that could manifest itself in a potential “breakdown” situation at some point in the future…
And monitor it closely, I did…
But now, here’s that other incident…
In my practice it was customary for dental assistants to set up instrument trays in advance for their own treatment rooms as well as for other treatment rooms in the office.
And because I worked on an alternate-operatory platform, [or a zig-zag appointment schedule] each operatory had plenty of time to be set up and ready to go with every instrument and machine that was going to be needed for the relevant appointment.
Now on this occasion, I had a newly arrived dental assistant working in one operatory and an experienced dental assistant working in the other operatory.
And on this occasion, the set up in the operatory with the newer dental assistant was glaringly wrong.
Instruments were missing from the bracket table.
Instruments and materials were missing from the dental assistant’s bench.
But it wasn’t just one mistake.
It was mistake upon mistake upon mistake.
There were many glaring incorrect errors in the set up that delayed the beginning of the treatment for the patient, and made me and my dental assistant look incompetent and unprepared.
When I questioned the new dental assistant after the appointment as to why things had been set up so poorly, she told me that she had not been responsible for this set up but had asked the more senior assistant to set up the room.
What really happened was that the senior dental assistant and the front office receptionist, who were best of friends, had decided that they were going to DELIBERATELY set the treatment room up incorrectly for the new dental assistant.
To make her fail.
And of course, naively, the new dental assistant trusted that her work colleagues would help her, and that they would not deliberately go out of their way to set her up for a failure.
I was very disappointed in my senior team members and with their deliberate actions of sabotage towards the newer team member.
Their behaviour was very childish and unprofessional, and delivered a far from memorable moment for the patient at the time.
As the practice owner, what would you have done in this situation?
It certainly was very disappointing to see the “true colours” being shown by my more senior team members.
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