Growing Through Teaching: The Importance of a Mentor in Achieving your Dental Career Goals
Having a mentor to help guide and teach you the importance of your chosen career path is beneficial to all involved. The guidance of a mentor can help the trainee understand the importance of their job’s role and is a positive and powerful way to develop confidence in their professional skills while having an expert guide and challenge them.
Hopefully, you have had that mentor who stood beside you and taught you everything they could; if not, creating an atmosphere and opportunity for your new employees to learn skills in a “safe” (calm, positive, and encouraging environment) will truly help you reap the benefits of a strong team.
What I’ve Learned from My Mentors
I remember my mentors when I was just beginning my career, Dr. John Hutchinson and his wife Ann Hutchinson. They took me under their wing, taking the time to teach me everything they possibly could. They are the reason I am so passionate about dentistry and helping others.
Ann taught me the front office, bookkeeping, and accounting areas of the business, and Dr. Hutchinson taught me the back office. He would have me assist him, so he could teach me chairside. He shared that knowing how to assist helps me understand the entire office.
I would watch how Dr. Hutchinson treated his patients and staff as if they were all his family. He made everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. When I would make a mistake he’d say, “I’m taking off my friendly cap and putting on my boss’s cap,” making sure I knew what I had done and how to correct the issue. He taught me how to deal with issues through constructive criticism, always with calm patience. He would say that we all make mistakes and need to learn from them and that I needed to believe in myself.
I learned to be patient with the patients because so many of them arrive at our offices in a nervous state. I learned to look past the fear and remember that patients are often in pain or even afraid of any dental procedure whatsoever.
He taught me to smile and be welcoming to patients. No matter what mood he was in, Dr. Hutchinson always went out of the way to help his patients.
Ann Hutchinson taught me to be thorough in note keeping and often said, “Think like you would have to present notes for court or are being audited.” Ann is the reason I am very detailed about my work.
Today, more than ever, we are concerned with finding and keeping good employees. While being a good mentor takes time and patience and does not always work, the payoffs are phenomenal when it does.
With such a challenging job market these days, choosing to invest time in training is vital. If we are willing to train employees in multiple areas, the practice and the team feel less stress if someone is out sick, for instance.
Having or actually being a mentor can develop leadership skills, confidence, improved morale, and truly build teamwork that is essential for success. As an office manager, when you set the example of being a leader and invest in training your team, they will be stronger, and will soon be helping each other succeed.
Just know that whether you’re currently a mentor or thinking of becoming one, you have the power to help others achieve their goals and keep your practice growing. In today’s world, it is important, as leaders, to inspire and encourage employees to continue to grow the passion they had when they started.
About the Author
Amy Jones, MAADOM has been in dentistry for almost eighteen years where she trained to be an office manager shortly after she started. Amy comes from the optometry industry where she worked for nearly five years and then decided to pursue a different path. She started working as a dental receptionist and found that her passion is dentistry and helping patients love their smiles again.
Amy has also cross-trained to assist and help where needed. She loves learning all she can about dentistry and how to help run a successful dental practice. Amy received her AADOM Fellowship in 2019 in 2022 earned her AADOM Mastership, (MAADOM) designation.