Many dental assistants come to a dental practice excited to contribute to patient care. It’s important to keep your assistants up to speed and comfortable with your techniques, dental equipment, and the flow of your productive dental practice. Also, as one of the faces of your dental practice, the more informed and confident you can keep your dental assistants, the more comfortable and happy your patients will be. There are many ways to keep your dental assistants up to speed. Here are just a few that you can employ within your own practice.
Allow your new dental assistant to embrace his or her novice status and find a seasoned dental assistant to tutor your new hire. Ask an instructor or another qualified person to teach him or her the ins and outs. Part of the joy of having a skill is sharing it with others, and a mentoring program can come full circle; in the future, your new dental assistant might find joy in mentoring someone new in a few years. If your new assistant has just graduated and this is their first job in the field, mentoring can be extremely valuable not only for them, but for your practice.
On the Job Training
Your dental assistants will have had prior training before coming on the job. Schools like The New York School for Medical and Dental Assistants will have exposed your assistant to a variety of historical and hypothetical cases, but as with any skill, the real training comes on the job. If you’ve hired someone who is brand new to the skill, then you have an opportunity to shape him or her. It can be an exciting time in your new hire’s life – let your assistant use that energy to fuel their desire to continue their education in the field.
Observation and Continuing Education
Even if you’re not performing a procedure, it doesn’t mean your new dental assistant has down time. Your dental assistant should be watching others perform their work in the office, and taking mental notes on the flow of your practice. If you have other dental assistants, have your new hire observe them. Ask your new hire what their learning style is, and ask for their ideas for how they can increase their knowledge of their craft.
Look for classes in your area for continuing education, and involve your new dental assistant in those that will benefit them and your practice. If there is a CE course that both you and your assistants can take part in, all the better. It’s important to create a bond with your employees, and getting CE units together is a great way to do it.
Every person has their own unique style for how they interact with patients. In this, it can be helpful to observe the hygienists as well as your other dental assistants in the practice.
About the Author:
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California Area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies.