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July 2017 Newsletter
                              developing clinical excellence
In This Newsletter
Celebrate Your Starts
Those Dreaded Words........I Quit
Independence Day

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How Andrea can help:

· Sterilization review, design and implementation

· Basic and advanced chairside duties

· Clinical training system and manual

· Indirect bonding

· Clinical coordinator

· Verbal skills to encourage compliance

· Reduction of emergency visits

· Personalized clinical manual

· Inventory control

· Instrument set ups and organization in the operatory

· Implementation of your treatment plans

· Reduction of patients beyond estimated completion date

On the web

As I look at many of your braces off celebration photos on Facebook I ask how many time we celebrate patients getting their braces on.  Summer production time is upon us and we have a lot of patients getting started with their initial bonding appointment. This is the first step in the journey with you and your office to a beautiful smile.  I think it should be celebrated!

Most often the patients get a "goodie bag" with a toothbrush, wax, floss threaders and a list of food not to eat.  Not too exciting. 
I would rather celebrate with a list of foods that are braces friendly ~ things that they can have instead of all the foods that they cannot have.  There are many "treats' that kids and adults can have with braces on ~ Reece's, York Peppermint Patties, chocolate, etc.   We all know that patients will eat sweet treats but guiding them in the right direction can be a positive tone.

I also like to give patients a "goodie bag" with some foods to eat on the first days with braces to make the transition easier.  They may not have thought about eating lunch after their appointment and may not be prepared.   Make their first day easier by providing some foods they can eat.   At the initial bonding, it is fun to give the patients a cellophane bag with some foods that they can eat as they get used to their new braces: either at school during lunch or at work.  The bag can contain macaroni and cheese, cup'o noodles, pudding cups, applesauce, etc. and a spoon.  You may have a local smoothie shop that patients would love a gift certificate for a free treat to drink on the way to school or work.  Always remind patients that even with braces friendly treats it is important to brush after eating.

Congratulate them on beginning their journey to a beautiful smile!  This is definitely a time to celebrate!

 Those Dreaded Words...I Quit....  

When one of your team members says, "can I talk to you at the end of the day?" your heart rate rises and you start to panic.  It can only mean a few things: She just "accidentally" made an error that will impact a patient, she forgot to submit your Invisalign case, or-she's giving you her two weeks' notice.

As a boss and manager, you're going to face a team members resignation sooner or later. And whether she was your top clinical assistant that you thought was in for life or the assistant that you are glad to have leave, it's up to you to make the next two weeks-and the transition after-as smooth as possible for you, for your team, and for your soon-to-be former employee.

Your first step is to pay close attention to the team member's general attitude when they give their resignation.  Does she express concern for continuing quality patient care and wrapping up her remaining duties?  Or, does the resignation allow her to openly complain and disregard her remaining work?   If her attitude is negative and will possibly taint the new team member in a negative way, it may be best to make today her last day.  This will impact the team and patient flow but may be the best option for the situation. 

If she will be staying on for a period, the next step is to work together to develop a transition plan. Her idea of what needs to be finished up before she leaves the practice may differ from yours, so it's important to collaboratively make a list of all her regular weekly duties and responsibilities.  I always recommend that every duty in your practice have a responsible party and a backup person that can immediately take over in situations where the team member leaves immediately.

There may be the initial impact of losing a valued team member that makes you want to come back with a counteroffer, be realistic about why you are making it.  While it may be true that they are a vital pillar of the team, it's more likely that you would rather throw money at the situation than deal with the turmoil caused by their departure.  Remember that a counteroffer isn't a magic wand that will fix anything other than how they are being compensated. If there are other reasons why they want to leave, they are likely to remain, so you should weigh the pros and cons before making an offer.

After a review of her duties and responsibilities, you can evaluate the teams' current tasks and workload to determine if and when you need to hire a replacement.   You may realize that now is a good time to restructure the position and how it fits into your team. You may decide that your schedule can be revised to continue to see the number of patients in your practice without a full time clinician.

Also, make certain you change all passwords in the office.  Even when someone leaves on a positive note they can have access to private patient and financial information.  This could leave the office open for a costly mistake if the employee leaves only to access the office's information to destroy or steal from a remote site. Studies have shown that it is quite common for employees to share passwords, which could possibly lead to illegal access.

Look for my October newsletter to discuss the importance of an exit interview and how to conduct one. 

Celebrate Independence Day
Independence Day is one of the best American holidays, both for what we celebrate and how we celebrate it.

Celebrating the independent skills and talents of each team member in your office can be a challenge at times.  But the benefits of a diverse group will make a much stronger team.

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." --Phil Jackson

Strong teams cannot exist in the absence of strong people.  A strong team is one where each member knows the role they play. What's more, they know when to play it! A strong team expects each member to be fully present and ready to go when it is their time to shine.

For a team to be strong, they need to be about something larger than themselves. They must share a vision that isn't about the individual, but includes the individuals. A strong team exists when it is composed of strong people working towards a vision larger than a single person.

Help the entire team understand how individual people can contribute to the greater whole, and how their unique strength mix will move the mission forward.

So by all means, march in a parade, host a barbecue, have a few beers, head to the beach, light off some fireworks. I will be right there with you. But take a minute or two to reflect on the strong individuals who make up your team.

Thank you for your continued support of my clinical newsletter.  I hope you and your team find the information useful.  Please visit my website and feel free to email me with any comments or questions. 

Andrea Cook
Andrea Cook LLC