What’s the best use of YOUR down time?

We recently worked with a practice suffering from a MAJOR queen bee infestation.  When we interviewed the dental assistants, the administrative team, the other hygienist, and THE DOCTOR, they all complained of constant stress brought upon primarily by “Jane” a queen bee RDH.  “Jane” had worked in this practice for over 20 years and the entire team, including the Dr., was paralyzed with fear about what to do with “Jane.”   The Dr. was fearful that if he fired her, the patients would be upset.  Everyone agreed “Jane” was difficult to work with and they were constantly frustrated with her “not my job” attitude.

So, they all just continue to tolerate her behavior ….for almost 2 decades!

“Jane” exhibited these types of queen bee behaviors:

  • unwilling to try new ideas
  • a negative attitude
  • only willing to do what benefited her directly; she read magazines or clocked out when she had open time

Have you been tolerating a queen bee? It not only negatively impacts the Dr. and team but it also has a direct effect on patients.  “Jane” was perceived as being selfish and unwilling to help others in the office.  This is certainly not good for team morale.

What does your hygienist do during open time?  Come up with a list of activities that your team members can do if they have open time. Post this list in a common area, such as the sterilization area.  Open time should always be prioritized these three ways:

  • First Priority = PATIENT
    • What can I do with my open time that will support the patients that are in the office right now?
      • Taking a quick PA on the emergency patient, giving anesthetic if you finish early so the Dr. can begin restorative on his 10:00 patient right away, etc.
  • Second Priority = TEAM
    • What can I do with my open time that will support my team members?
      • Pouring up the models for the assistant when you see impressions sitting in the lab, helping the front desk with recare cards, processing instruments if you see the assistant running behind, etc.
  • Third Priority = SELF
    • What can I do with my open time that will support my SELF?
      • Restock room, sharpen instruments, review charts for tomorrow, etc.

Thankfully, for my client, “Jane” responded well once the Dr. developed a written plan for utilization of open time.  The Dr. and the team members have all commented that “Jane” is being a much better team player.  It was a pretty simple fix to “Jane’s” queen bee ways.

Here’s your takeaway message: Don’t assume people know how to be a team player.   Clearly map out your expectations for the team and set up (and stick to!) consequences if they are not met.  The stress will be reduced and the team will work together much better.

Doctors and office managers – What will you implement this week that will help bring the teamwork up a notch?

Stay Inspired,

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