We have been hearing from our members and seeing (in Dental Hygiene Facebook Groups) a lot of discussion about wages recently and how many dental hygienists would like an increase in wage.
I have a program that I created and have presented at a few different dental conferences, that has been well received, called ‘The 8 Simple Secrets to Being Indispensable in the Dental Practice’ and would love to offer some insight on this topic, if I might!
Understand the practice owner first. There is a huge expense to run a business/practice. Some of you own your own practice, and many of you are tapped into the operations of the practice and aware of the expenses. There is the expense of equipment, and the overhead; which includes, rent, software, supplies, insurance, and staff, just to name a few! There is a financial risk, as the owner invests their own money, takes on loans, has many sleepless nights and doesn’t take pay for quite some time.
Many of you know that I have a couple of mentors who I follow, and am connected with, to help with my personal and professional growth and I am fortunate to have picked up a few gems along the way, that I would love to share with you.
This is a big topic, so I am going to break it down over the next few weeks in the On-Track Tuesday emails.
First thing to do is self-assess your position in your practice.
Do you bring value to the practice?
We know, and you know, that yes, you do! Of course you do, you are a dental hygienist who is working very hard and worth every bit of your wage. But if you take a pro-active approach, self-assess, know how to communicate and share your findings and your worth, you may be surprised on the positive outcome!
1. Are you proactively bringing solutions?
We know that every practice has problems. Are you the problem solver or the problem bringer?
Be a problem solver. Business owners/DDS' have to constantly think, plan and make decisions. There is a cognitive load on the owner. How can you lighten the cognitive load to those you work for/with?
Don’t show up with problems. Come with solutions. Don’t even come with questions. Come with 3 answers. Reduce the cognitive load.
Don’t be a problem bringer. Be a solution maker. Don’t add to the decision fatigue.
As an example: (and trust me, I have been in this profession for MANY years and have spoken with thousands of dental hygienists over the years):
The instruments that you are using, you have had for years. It seems like forever since you replaced your instruments with new ones and you don't have the confidence to even know if you can recognize what a new tip would look like at this point.
Don't go to the manager or dentist/owner with a complaint about your instruments.
Go with a plan. Collect your info prior to you arranging a meeting with the dentist.
Create a case presentation for the DDS.
a) Show the current situation on paper (be prepared):
ie. This is where I am currently with my instruments, this is what I am experiencing and my clients are experiencing.
I haven't had new instruments since (the date).
Our budget for our instruments (wait, what? a budget?). Okay we don't have a yearly budget for instruments. I would like to suggest a budget of $--- for 18 months (as an example).
Document how many kits you currently have and what is in the kit.
If you have ultrasonic inserts that are part of this discussion, show the wear indicator card and where your inserts measure up.
Document the pros and cons of your current situation: ie client discomfort, ineffective and inefficient debridement, longer time in the chair, clinician pain, more instruments in each cassette than you currently need, etc.
b) Then have a plan written down.
Show how many kits you need. What will be in these kits. Scaling down the kits (using hybrid instruments, or creating instruments based on regular re-care clients and then some specialty kits); the cost. (Look for programs where you can trade in or show that you have contacted the company and receiving a discount, etc.); how long you expect these kits to last; and what this equates to cost per client.
This is one example of assessing the value you bring to your practice. Are you proactively bringing solutions?
Stay tuned for next week, where we continue on this topic!
On a side note, we had a great guest, and good friend of ours, Jennifer Turner, on The RDH View in September. If you haven't seen it I encourage you to view it as part of your preparation (and you can claim a 1-hour CE credit, and it's free!).
I also wrote an article for Oral Health in November 2020 about Streamlining your Instrumentation. See below for access to the article if you are looking for more info on making change happen with your instrumentation).
Thank you for reading and have a great week ahead. Please take a look below for what is coming up!