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Empowering the dental team for quality improvement

in Business and Dentistry

Empowering the dental team for quality improvement

When you finally qualify as a dentist, you are usually very keen to start work.

This enthusiasm, however, will not be particularly productive, unless the rest of the dental team is in place to support you.

The dental nurse can play a vital role at this time – after all, unlike you, s/he knows most of the patients. S/he will also know a great deal about the practice administration and paperwork. Indeed, it doesn’t take long to understand why the other members of the dental team are such an important asset for any dentist; more than the building, more than the equipment, even more than the patients in some ways.

Members of the dental team, whatever their skill base, should feel that they can share their own particular areas of expertise, if they are to work together successfully. The dentist can teach his/her colleagues, in just the same way that they can teach the dentist. Quality and continuous quality improvement in dentistry, requires a team effort.

Dental surgeries, or dental hospital clinics, can be hierarchical with a traditional ‘top down’ management approach. Instructions are given, rather than views sought fromdental colleagues. Whilst a manager or team leader must make decisions, failure to involve the whole team to improve quality is short-sighted and inefficient. Not only are the technical skills of staff members important, but of equal value are their opinions and ideas. In short, a new and fresh pair of eyes can make a difference for today and for the future.

Advantages of empowered team members

Efficiency - It makes good business sense to use all the talent available.
Team members feel valued, and their contribution is important.
Valued colleagues are more motivated and will go the extra mile to do a good job.
Valued co-workers are loyal and committed.
All dental staff working effectively together achieve their goals.
Shared skills, expertise and values enhance working practices and improve quality for patient care.

Tips for empowering your dental colleagues

You can get the best out of all team members by empowering them for the benefit of the dental practice or clinic.
Encourage an atmosphere of ‘openness’. All views are valid and everybody should be encouraged to express them.
Ensure there is a climate of respect for all colleagues’ views and opinions.
Remember that opposite opinions do not always result in negative outcomes.
Promote a ‘no blame’ culture. All members of a dental team should feel able to raise honest views and concerns, even if they are critical, without fear of adverse outcomes. Colleagues who fear to speak out, will remain silent in future and lessons will not be learned. By speaking up, they may be able to prevent adverse events.
Hold regular team meetings, or updates of techniques and systems, where all colleagues are encouraged to contribute. This will empower the team to reflect and learn.
Encourage newly qualified colleagues to bring new skills and ideas to the clinical environment.

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  • user

    Esabel Kim

    April 09 2014 09:15:44

    One person power is limited, team power is huge. A excellent team not a excellent dentist can contribute more to a dental clinic, buid office reputation is also depending on the dental team. Tips for empowering dental colleagues are useful, help improve dental clinic.

    Zeta dental blog