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All for One and One for All

Aug 18, 2007
If you are a baseball fan, then you are familiar with the 6-4-3 double play. The shortstop fields the ball, tosses it to the second baseman who tosses it to the first baseman. But what if the shortstop decides only to toss it to the first baseman? Or what if the second baseman refuses to catch the ball? Few situations illustrate the importance of teamwork as well as a sports metaphor. And in baseball, all nine members of the team must work together to be successful.

Teamwork in a dental office is just as important.

Teamwork makes an office run smoothly. Not everyone is a dentist, nor is everyone up-to-date on insurance issues. You have to rely on one another's skills to make sure patients receive proper treatment, are billed correctly, and feel satisfied with their service.

Of course, even when things run smoothly, there will be days when you face more challenges than others. For example, everyone stands to suffer when a team member is out sick and the other team members have to do double duty. Cross training, particularly in small offices, is encouraged in order to minimize the effects of vacation and sick days. Failing to pull together as a team during such difficult days can cost you and the practice dearly. If you are not sure of what your co-worker does or which tasks need to be covered, ask in advance so you can be trained. In addition, don't refuse to learn a new skill when asked. The more everyone knows about the inner workings of the office, the smoother the days will go and the more satisfied your patients will be.

Similarly, if you see a fellow worker overwhelmed, volunteer to help, particularly if you have extra time and are caught up on your duties. Your co-workers will appreciate the offer and will likely return the favor when you are overwhelmed one day. Have an attitude of "whatever it takes" when it comes to managing the office, even if it means you have to stay a little later some days or come in before your scheduled time.

In addition to helping other team members, be encouraging and supportive at all times. If a colleague is having a problem with a patient, step in to offer assistance if you can. Sometimes the input of another team member can calm a situation or patient. Showing that you are unified with your co-workers also lets patients know that they can't go from one team member to another in hopes of lowering their bill or getting a better appointment time.

Whether you learn a new skill so you can help out in times of stress, or offer words of praise to a teammate, or volunteer to stay late, having a "one for all and all for one" attitude will help develop the type of strong dental team relationships that lead to a successful, solid practice and greater job satisfaction for everyone.
About the Author
Cathy Warschaw, Director of the Warschaw Learning Institute provides an online Dental Office Management Program, Dental Insurance, HIPAA, CDPMA and CDA prep courses. For more information go to
http://www.WarschawLearningInstitute.com (c)2007
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