Post-Pandemic Morale in the Hygiene Department
During 2020, I stopped seeing the sparkle in our Hygienist’s eyes. I stopped seeing the drive and focus regarding production. These findings lead me to the following questions and discoveries with my Hygiene team (Royella and Kathy):
Q: Given the new way of living, what can we do to help make a difference this year (2021) for your patient care?
Royella: Continue to wear your mask and be aware that my decisions outside the office impact a team of people and patients.
Kathy: Stay informed, be encouraging, listen to our patients with our heart and remain optimistic!
Q: What type of new or additional care are you providing your patients compared to last year?
Royella: <Pre-rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, wearing additional PPE. Hand sanitizing stations, temperature checks, washing hands start and end of every appointed patients.
Kathy: Pre-rinsing with mouthwash, additional PPE (of course), I’ve also lowered the water output on my cavitron to reduce aerosol production.
Q: Due to the new distance requirements in place regards to the Pandemic, what types of things do you feel you could add to the patient experience that bring a warm comforting feeling without the physical contact?
Royella: I’m wearing additional PPE for their safety and mine. I had covid 19 training to help understand importance of safety in dental setting.
Kathy: I like to give my patients positive, enthusiastic feedback whenever I see or hear evidence of good homecare (i.e. improving probing depths, decision to go to their Doctor to have B.P. evaluated, lowered A.C. levels).
Q: With the current available vaccine, how can you help our patients understand the differences?
Royella: I wish they would understand that they can still get covid. The vaccine is intended to around infection or at best lessen symptoms if they do get covid after vaccinations. I wish my patients would understands they still need to wear mask and practice social distancing.
Q: How would you include vaccine education as part of your patient education?
Royella: I have not had many patients ask about vaccines. I feel it’s the patient’s choice and should be discussed with their Physician. I would not work in a setting that “forced” me to vaccinate.
Kathy: I would incorporate vaccine education as I review their medical history. It’s the perfect time because if they have any underlying conditions (diabetes, HBP, etc.,) I would also ask if they would consider taking the vaccine. If they had any questions, I would do my best to answer them at that time or direct them to credible resources.
Tell them you are checking in and care.
When it comes to supporting your team’s morale, keep reaching out with phone calls, text and e-mails. Tell them you are checking in and care. Ask how they’re doing and inquire if there is anything you can do to help them and their families. When we emerge from this crisis, the dental office who stayed connected with their base on a personal level will reap the rewards.
Meet the Author
Yolanda Thompson, FAADOM has over 31 years of experience in the dental office. She began as a high school trained dental assistant, advancing her way to management for a six-million-dollar multi-specialty practice. Yolanda is a lifetime AADOM member and received her Fellowship in 2018. She currently serves as President of the Houston AADOM Chapter. Yolanda and her husband Deddrick have two sons, Darius and Marquis. She enjoys mentoring young ladies and teaching others.