Since dental assistant's recognition starts tomorrow, I want to talk about the traits and habits of a good dental assistant. To begin with, she knows why she's in your office. She's there to serve your patients, to make your day easier and to learn more every day. You can help her learn more by talking about anything out of the ordinary that you are doing. If she's a good dental assistant she'll appreciate it and she won't be bored. A good dental assistant is efficient while still being caring. She organizes herself so that she gets her "behind the scenes work done" and has time to really listen to her patients. When she listens to her patients it is with a desire to really hear their needs and feelings. Then she knows how to best care for them and she can let the dentist and the rest of the team know what they need. She makes room for new employees and sees other assistants as team members, not adversary's. She wants to share what she knows with them because she knows it makes the team stronger, it doesn't weaken her position. A good dental assistant lightens tense moments and lifts the mood of the practice. She doesn't gossip, rather she redirects the conversation if she runs across it. She cares about the practice and does what she can to keep it healthy in all respects. She conducts herself with respect and can brush off a snappish remark and accept an apology for the remark with grace and move on. She works steadily and doesn't worry about whose responsibility it is. If it needs doing that's good enough for her. She's thorough, she checks the chart and makes sure the patient has taken their pre-med, the right anesthetic is being used and the tooth you're about to extract is the one scheduled to be extracted.
She makes your life easier.
So, this week is set aside to recognize her. Is a week a little excessive? No, and here's why. She doesn't expect anything big. The ones who do are probably not the really good dental assistants. That's kind of how you can tell. She will be happy with a heartfelt note from you, telling her that you see what she does and you appreciate it. That's the gift that keeps on giving. At the end of a day when you may not have been your finest self, she can take it out and re-read it and know you just had a bad day. You can buy her flowers or take her to lunch and she'll appreciate that, but nothing beats the note.