Finding and retaining a top dental team requires a huge investment in both time and resources, but it is also key to your practice’s long-term success and profitability. When it comes to continuing education for those valuable team members, however, what often happens is this… the doctor takes Cerec, E4D, implant courses, and will sometimes take their assistant, but does nothing to train the rest of the team.
For instance, what about the hygienist who needs to know proper care for implants or in-office crowns? What about the admin team that needs to know what the procedures are, as well as how to schedule, code, set a fee and explain the procedure to the patient when making financial arrangements?
Result: while the doctor has made a significant investment in their own skills, the procedure is slow to gain acceptance in the practice and with the patients because the rest of the team is unclear about the benefits, or even what the procedure is!
How can you prevent this from happening in your practice?
First of all, remember…
One of the top three reasons staff members quit is because they don’t feel their practice offers them opportunities for growth or advancement. Therefore, by ensuring they receive quality continuing education on a regular basis, and are appreciated for doing so, you have an excellent chance of retaining those staff members for a long, long time!
What is your practice doing to ensure your staff is getting the quality continuing education they need and deserve?
If CE for your staff has not been a priority in the past, here are some suggestions and ideas from practices I have worked with that do it well:
- Involve the team in the process. Look for courses the whole team can attend as well as courses that meet individual needs. Make sure the courses are relevant, not just fun or entertaining.
- Come up with a CE calendar for the entire year, for the entire staff. If you don’t plan ahead, chances are good you will miss out when trying to book courses at the last minute. (This often also involves changing scheduled appointments, which is never a good idea from a patient satisfaction point of view.)
- Harness the power of internet training. The selection of courses is vast, and online training can be done as and when time permits.
- Ask your practice management software provider or other vendors if they offer online training that can help your employees learn, and become more efficient.
- Use patient education materials to help train new staff members, especially if they don’t have a dental background. Not only will it help them learn, it will help them learn how to better educate your patients.
- Plan an off-site retreat or meeting. Utilize the services of a professional consultant or coach to facilitate the event and the learning process. This is a great idea for in-office training as well.
- Ask your vendors to demonstrate their products and services during lunch and learns.
- Let your patients know what training you are taking, and why. (To provide you with the best possible healthcare we can!)
- Schedule meetings after training events to share what was learned, and how it will help the practice grow and prosper.
Bottom line: Great employees have tremendous impact on the success of a dental office in a number of ways, including greater productivity and efficiency, increased team harmony, and patients who are happy because they know they’re being cared for by highly-trained professionals. Providing employees with quality and relevant continuing learning opportunities is not only good for their sense of self-worth and appreciation, but for the long-term health of your practice as well.