Duties and Roles of Dentists
The role and duties of a dentist are multiplied in a setting where more than one dentist is practicing. You're no longer solely responsible for the usual tasks of examining patients, diagnosing, and recommending and performing treatment. You now have to balance out your trade with tact and understanding as you share such duties with other dental professionals.
What should you dentists expect of one another in a multi-practitioner office? What do your new responsibilities include?
Planning is Key
Determine well in advance what duties and responsibilities fall to each practitioner. This will help you to avoid conflict. It prevents tasks from being either overlapped or overlooked. It's also wise to establish which duties are expected of everyone. Something like participating in the morning huddle could be one of the responsibilities that all team members should fulfill.
Have a protocol in place for the event in which a disagreement arises. Rather than forge ahead with your own way of doing things, try to agree on a compromise until a more permanent solution is found. This will keep the entire team on the same page and avoid confusion.
The specific strength or specialty experience that each provider has should be highlighted and capitalized upon for the good of the practice. Is one doctor better with kids than the rest? It might be agreed that new pediatric patients should be examined by this dentist. Does another have extensive experience with implants? You all may agree to take on more of the restorative cases so that one of you can focus more on providing implant therapy.
Keep the rest of the dental team on top of such protocol and procedure. When everyone knows what is expected of them and what they can expect of others, then problems and misunderstandings will be less likely to arise.
Focus on What's Most Important
Disunity is stressful and only bogs down the workflow. If all the dentists focused strictly on doing things their own way, then nothing good would get accomplished. If everyone agrees to work hard and make the patients the priority, then you can avoid clashing over personal preferences.
If all of the dentists concentrate on what a patient needs most, then you won't waste valuable time disputing which treatment method should be used. Make an arrangement in which each dentist can handle each case as he or she sees fitting. No one should criticize a colleague for doing things differently.
Set an Example
Whether working solo or as part of a multi-practitioner team, each dentist should be an example of professionalism to the staff and the community. Each person can agree that no one should simply let work fall onto the shoulders of another without permission.
Don't let seniority, whether in experience or in education, be an excuse for not upholding the ideals of your practice.
It is possible to make your multi-practitioner office a success! When each dentist does his or her part in upholding professional integrity and contributes to the smooth functioning of the office, the workflow will be made much easier for everyone.