Know Your Patient: Part 2

December 27, 2017 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. MacDonald continues Know Your Patient

What is always attractive to quality individuals is the same thing that is attractive to quality patients and the rest of the people in your life. Building strong relationships with your team will have a direct influence on developing good relationships with patients, but first you have to demonstrate attractive leadership qualities.

Delivering Relationship-Based Leadership

To me, the following statements are a safe place to start for attracting and sustaining talented team members:

  1. You, the leader, believe they are important and their role is important and valuable to you.
  2. You view each person as unique, valuable, and worthy of your respect.
  3. They perceive the opportunity for growth and development (both skills and income).
  4. They are given the authority to make decisions and have responsibility for their part of the practice.
  5. They are on a team that can count on one another because they trust each other.

There are many more important aspects, but you get the idea. Your team is an extension of you. A caring high trust relationship between the dentist and their team that is observed and experienced by the patient will help the patient build trust with both. In fact, it is probably the key to the patient trusting you.

Belief & Trust

When we refer a patient to one of the specialists or technicians on our interdisciplinary team, it is made with confidence and conviction. That is possible because we know the doctor or technician and their team very well. We believe in their clinical skills, their integrity, and how they manage our patients.

This is the result of intentionally selecting each specialist and developing a relationship with them and their team. In that process, we have developed a protocol that outlines what we can expect from one another and what each of us is responsible for. We spend time together individually and as teams. They know how much we respect and value what they do. They express the same in return.

Knowing your patient is a model for the nature of your work and how to approach all of the key relationships in living out your WHY. Practicing this way makes dentistry much more rewarding and enjoyable. Enjoying all of the people in my practice world is what I want and how I want to experience my career. Thank you Dr. Pankey and all who have brought this to life for me and for many!

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.




Set Up New Hires for Success at Your Dental Practice

July 11, 2017 Sheri Kay RDH

One pattern I’ve noticed lately in calls with my clients is that many dentists and their teams are frustrated about training new hires. Adding a unique personality to an already cohesive group can seem like mixing oil and water at first. When a new team member is brought into your dental practice, there needs to a consistent plan in place to avoid or manage problems as they arise.

 Starting the Conversation on Training New Hires

The frustration I’ve come across is consistently based on new hires not catching on, not doing things the ‘right way,’ and not doing things as fast as dentists would like. The seasoned team members are irritated and everyone is annoyed by the amount of work it takes to train.

One of the conversations I have with my doctors is about understanding the difference between exposing a new team member to a task or philosophy and having them actually learn it in the way they are most suited to. I ask:

  1. At what point would you say they’ve started to have a certain level of competency where they can do the task?
  2. At what point would you say this team member has mastered what it is you want them to do?

The hope is that you bring a team member on board, they watch what’s going on, you show them a few times, and they will automatically and miraculously have a high level of mastery. But this is not the case for most people.

Pay Attention to Individual Learning Styles

There are many different learning styles that can affect how a person takes in and processes information. Some people want to read about it, some need to watch it five times, and others have more hesitation about how fast they get it.

Acknowledging different learning styles is a huge component to successful individualized training. You have to understand how different people will become effective and learn what you want them to.

3 Steps of Dental Practice New Hiring Training

I like to look at the training process as a continuum:

  1. What was the first exposure and have they been exposed to how you actually want to have the task done?
  2. What will it take for them to have a measurable level of competency? Is there a training checklist in place? Who is responsible for helping this team member learn?
  3. What would it look like if and when they ever attain a level of mastery to the point where they could be responsible for teaching another person?

Bonus Tip: Most people really struggle with only oral types of instruction. Having things in writing and experiential learning are both helpful.

Most importantly, it’s crucial to enact the basic training continuum: exposure, competency, and mastery.

You have to have an actionable plan and you need to know who is accountable for it. If you’ve been unsuccessfully training a new team member, this process has a high level of predictable success, assuming you’ve hired well to start with.


What tasks do you find new hires struggle with the most in your dental practice? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!


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About Author

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Sheri Kay RDH

Sheri Kay started her career in dentistry as a dental assistant for an “under one roof” practice in 1980. The years quickly flew by as Sheri worked her way from one position to the next learning everything possible about the different opportunities and roles available in an office. As much as she loved dentistry … something was always missing. In 1994, after Sheri graduated from hygiene school, her entire world changed when she was introduced to the Pankey Philosophy of Care. What came next for Sheri was an intense desire to help other dental professionals learn how they could positively influence the health and profitability of their own practices. By 2012, Sheri was working full time as a Dental Practice Coach and has since worked with over 300 practices across the country. Owning SKY Dental Practice Dental Coaching is more of a lifestyle than a job, as Sheri thrives on the strong relationships that she develops with her clients. She enjoys speaking at state meetings, facilitating with Study Clubs and of course, coaching with her practices.