Learning Never Stops
When I began my journey in dental management, I was limited by the educational sources available to me in my new role. Unfortunately, AADOM wasn’t in my picture until 2019. I was resourceful and reached out to anyone that would share their knowledge. My dental software support became my best friend, and some of our referring offices would let me shadow in their practice. Luckily our schedule was very slow initially since it was a startup. Therefore, I had the time to learn through trial and error and my limited resources. Even a decade in, I’ve realized that the learning process is a continuing cycle. Fortunately, I have more resources in my grasp these days.
Ultimately, your best resource is your network.
Who do you know that has been in your shoes? We have professionals with the knowledge and willingness to help in this industry. AADOM has become one of my most significant resources in networking and expertise as a dental office manager. Everyone tends to run things differently, but I love hearing about the experiences in their practices. Our dental suppliers are also a part of our network, and I’m comfortable asking them questions or for recommendations since they can direct me to the right path.
CE is not just for dentists and hygienists.
I began attending conferences when we opened our doors in 2012, including those with the ADA, FDA, Greater NY, AAPD, and of course, AADOM. Dentists, if you are reading this, invest in your staff’s education. Just like if you attend a class on full-arch reconstruction, get your office manager and team to participate in dental courses that will help them in their work. When attending any conference, I aim to take the knowledge I learned and bring it back to my team. You’re growing that team member’s expertise and investing in your team.
If conferences are a new idea for your dentists, suggest a local conference, a local AADOM meeting, or even a webinar. Each time you pay for your team to take a course, have them present the information they learned to the rest of your staff, whether during a staff meeting, lunch, or huddle.
Dental business training videos
When I tell you how excited I was to be introduced to dental business videos, you would think I was crazy. I learned about dental insurance by watching boring dental software videos that looked like they were made in the ’80s. I encourage anyone new to dental or someone with experience training new team members to subscribe to dental business training videos. Nowadays, several podcasts offer great information for those interested in learning more about managing a dental office.
Social media education
Social media education can be tricky. Most of the time, you have to wonder if the answers to your questions are credible. However, there are times when others might give you great ideas on handling a particular concern or where to find a solution to a specific situation.
When I first started working in the dental field, we kept everything on a tight budget. So coaching wasn’t part of our operating expense report. At the start of 2020, we were an office of six operatories and a dozen team members, and by October 2020, we grew to a team of 30 with 24 operatories. I sought a resource to guide me through our growing pains, and coaching was my most significant resource. I found an amazing coach that would work equally with the dentists and me because that was important to us. Coaching or consulting is a great resource to help grow a practice when the time is right.
Learning never stops. Whether you have been in the dental field for a year or 20, there is always something you can learn and improve on. I challenge each one of you to share your knowledge with others and, at the same time, continue to grow your skills.
About the Author
Vanessa Escobar grew up in Central Florida and attended Florida State University, earning a BS in International Affairs with a Minor in Business Administration. She joined Winter Garden Smiles in 2011 and oversaw the finances, operations, and marketing. She is active in several organizations, including Lambda Theta Alpha, Central/North Florida Alzheimer’s Association, and Leadership West Orange. Vanessa is the Founding President of the Central Florida Chapter of AADOM. She received her FAADOM in 2021 and will be inducted in the 2023 Class of AADOM Masters this September at the AADOM Conference. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Ricardo, and her kids.