The coronavirus pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, from grocery shopping to socializing with friends and family. The way we work has changed, too.
Working from home is now an option for many. However, dentists, hygienists, and assistants providing emergency treatment and elective treatment from their homes is impossible.
Working in dentistry during this time has been a real eye-opener. Many dental professionals have adapted while some have left practice entirely.
Today I will highlight some skills and qualities to prioritize when looking for a new hire. These characteristics were important pre-pandemic, but they are even more necessary today.
Experience with infection control
The importance of maintaining a clean practice has always been a priority, but during the coronavirus pandemic, it became vitally important. Hiring an RDH or RDA with experience working during COVID-19, who knows how to thoroughly disinfect tools and surfaces, properly fit PPE and manage patients to keep the risk of transmission down to a minimum, will be a treasured asset for years to come.
Ability to spot health concerns
Oral health is a great indicator of overall health and the symptoms of many dangerous diseases often first appear in the mouth. Just as salivary diagnostics can help reveal various conditions, a simple checkup can unearth early warning signs of illnesses such as diabetes, increased chance of heart attack and preterm labor.
Employing a dental hygienist or assistant with experience recognizing early symptoms by the condition of a patient’s teeth and gums could literally save lives.
Speaks more than one language
Around 36% of the population fears the dentist. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety levels in patients have been higher than ever. Being able to communicate clearly with patients in their own language is essential to make them feel at ease and secure.
The languages you value will largely depend on where your practice is based and your local community. Having even just one member of staff who speaks a second language well will improve the service you provide to your patients.
Thrives in a team
Being able to work well in a team is always cited as an important quality to look for when hiring in any industry. But the ability to thrive in a group environment is even more important in a dental practice. Rarely does a dental professional work on their own and the pressure of the job can result in tensions running high. You need to hire someone you can rely on to support you and the rest of the team.
COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of dentistry and as a dental practice owner, you need to change with it. Consider the above and the most prized qualities in your team during these unusual times and use them to influence your hiring decisions in the future. Whether or not we see another pandemic like this again, the important attributes of your staff will pay off.
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