Staying at the forefront of the latest technologies in dentistry is a top priority at most dental practices. But how can a busy dentist like you manage this across your entire staff? Encourage advanced training, either in person or online, for all of your staff members, set aside time for the training and incentivize your staff to participate. In this post, we’ll suggest some advanced training options for dental professionals that will enhance the care you provide, as well as building the profile and brand of your dental practice.
Taking x-rays is an integral part of every dental practice, and technologies in radiology are rapidly evolving. Dentists themselves can pursue postgraduate work in oral and maxillofacial radiology at a variety of universities worldwide. But what about staff? How can you improve their techniques? Courses in digital radiology, intended for all levels of dental professionals, are available online. When in doubt, consult a professional organization like the AAOMR.
Everyone is talking about digital dentistry as a way of improving patient care and making practices more efficient by streamlining that care, using everything from digital imaging to digitally-designed and manufactured restorations. Courses are available for dental assistants at a variety of dental schools, along with online training. But sometimes the best thing you can do is set aside time during the workweek to conduct the training onsite. It is hard to get staff to stay after hours and learn on their own or go home and log on to an online training course. Everyone is tired at the end of the day and not always in a learning mode. To overcome this, we recommend blocking off an afternoon or two, ordering everyone’s favorite take out and focusing on learning. Many companies that sell CAD/CAM systems are more than happy to send a representative to your office to conduct the training.
Managing a dental practice requires you to have more than just clinical skills. You need sharp business skills, too. Good dental practice management is complicated, but can be mastered with education and professional development. Advanced training courses can cover everything from financial management in dental practices and business ethics to people management and leadership skills. There are several continuing education options for dental practice leaders and for your entire dental staff.
Encourage cross training, a practice that is essential in small businesses where only one individual is responsible for a key functional area like billing or scheduling. Making sure that you have at least two people trained for every functional area of the practice will keep things running smoothly when staff members are absent.
When considering dental team training options, start with national and local institutions like the US ADA, the UK BDA, or the German BZÄK and KZBV. Opportunities for technical training and expanding the knowledge and abilities of your dental staff can be found in online courses, at conferences, and at dental schools at universities worldwide, but the most important element of training is you, the practice leader. Training will only become a priority if you’re willing to set aside time and provide incentives. Some dentists tie annual salary increases directly to training. You can offer gift cards to popular restaurants whenever a staff member completes an online training on their own time or offer an award each year to the staff member who has completed the most training hours. The key here is that you need to make it a priority, or they will not.
Continuing the training of you and your staff in a variety of important areas is a great way to boost staff engagement at work. It can also be a selling point: make sure to publicize your staff’s accomplishments and completed courses on social media and your practice website. Your expertise is an attractive part of your brand, and you should make sure everyone knows about it!