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What It Takes to Land An Administrative Dental Position

October 10th, 2019 | By Dental Staffing | Blog

administrative dental positionThe Dental field is an ever-growing industry, and the average monthly revenue for Dental practices continues to climb steadily every year. Working as a Dental Professional provides a certain degree of job security if you can get your foot in the door and prove yourself to be a capable employee. We aren’t just discussing licensed and certified Dental Professionals — the benefits of working in the Dental industry involve front office Dental Staffing positions as well.

If you’re ready to start a rewarding career working in an Administrative Dental position, keep on reading while we fill you in on some of the steps you can take to land your dream job!

 

What Positions are Included in a Dental Administrative Role (The Gatekeepers)?

Depending on the size of the practice (whether it’s a solo private practice, multiple doctor private practice or a corporation), the various Administrative positions can be held by a single employee or be designated to several individual employees. 

  • Receptionist: this is the primary individual answering the phone and greeting patients and making appointments.
  • Insurance Coordinator: this position involves entering and verifying all dental insurance companies as they pertain to the patients.
  • Treatment Coordinator: this position entails the explanation of the treatment planned for the patients. This position works closely with the Insurance Coordinator to ensure the patient fully understands the presented treatment, what their insurance will/will not cover and gain a signature demonstrating the patient fully understands.
  • Office Manager: this position oversees all the above and rises to the employee in closest communication to the Owner Dentist or Corporation


What Certification Is Needed for an Administrative Dental Job?

The convenient thing about working in an Administrative Dental position, is that you’re usually not required to have a higher education. But make no mistake, the Gatekeepers have the toughest job inside the four walls of the dental practice. The one skill that can almost guarantee an interview is years of experience in a clinical setting, usually as a Dental Assistant.

 

What Is Required?

Although you’re not required to have a special license, certification, or diploma for an Dental Administrative position, there are skills that will be vital to making your career choice a success. Naturally, these skills are useful in any job situation, but they’re especially important at the front desk of the dental office. 

  • The ability to be “on at all times” is paramount! In any given situation, whomever is speaking to that patient needs to be in an upbeat, “on” mood 8-5.
  • Warmth, and a soothing tone of voice.
  • Solid understanding of the computer software scheduling system. Often you will see a resume indicating “strong skills in EagleSoft, Dentrix, etc.”
  • Strong organizational skills, as well as knowledge of time management and prioritization.
  • Strong communication skills, especially under pressure; no one should ever know they’re under duress.
  • The ability to be flexible and when they need to research a patient question and they make a promise to call the patient back, they must follow through.
  • The willingness to learn and to take criticism gracefully.

 

Start Looking For Your Administrative Dental Job

You may have experienced the frustration of sending out dozens of resumes, and not getting any response in return. The key to a sound job search in Dental Administration is making targeted connections. 

When writing your resume, provide a summary of skills that can set you apart from your competition. If you have front office experience, discuss your background. If you’ve managed schedules and teams of people, if you’ve worked in the dental field, make sure you elaborate these strengths on your resume or your application! Hiring managers are looking for people who are willing to take the time and initiative to make sure they stand out from the crowd. 

After your first interview, make sure you follow up. To cement a lasting impression, nothing is more powerful than being diligent to follow up. You’re building a relationship and presenting yourself as a friendly, organized, and professional individual.  It’s marketing yourself by putting a voice and a personality behind the name on your resume. This builds trust, creates a personal connection, and can land you the administrative position of your dreams! 

 

Dental Staffing is an easy to use job board where you can post your resume at no cost to you. Once you’ve registered and posted your resume, you can search for jobs, or fill out an application. Give us a try at www.dentalstaffing.org

 

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“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

-Arthur Ashe



 

What Is the Difference Between a Dental Practice Manager vs Office Manager?

July 8th, 2019 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

The role of Office Managers, depending on the type and size of the business, can vary significantly. The role of a Dental Practice Manager can vary as well, but comes down to one single goal: maintaining an efficient and profitable dental practice that delivers excellent patient care. Everything a Dental Practice Manager does in his or her daily role funnels down to that singular goal.

What are the characteristics of a successful Dental Practice Manager?

Staff Management

Depending on the size of the dental practice, the Dental Practice Manager will either manage a full administrative staff or be juggling the phones, scheduling patients and directing staff: all at the same time. 

 

Administrative Know-How

In a large Dental Practice, the Manager may have a full administrative team handling phones/scheduling, and financial arrangements/insurance and delinquent accounts, while the Practice Manager oversees the remainder of the practice. The Practice Manager would then personally handle: 

  • the clinical, admin and marketing budget 
  • accounts payable and accounts receivable 
  • any team difficulties or disputes 
  • hiring/ dismissals and team reviews 
  • development of monthly staff meetings
  • development of weekly meetings with the doctor/doctors   

Budgeting Skills

In the smaller dental practice, much of the budget, team management and budgeting falls on the shoulders of the Dental Practice Owner. I always cringe when I hear about the Practice Owner being involved in managing the practice. His or her only job should be turning the hand piece and producing the dentistry.

 

Professionalism

They must always display competence, integrity and professionalism to both patients and the team. A high level of competence and integrity communicates a level of expectations to the team. A lack of these important qualifications could eventually cause a valuable team member, with higher expectations in these areas, to leave the practice.

 

Practice Manual Development

Development of a clear, concise Practice Manual is essential. Well-written office policies create clarity and erase ambiguity. The Manager may find dissension if trying to improve someone’s behavior without them.

 

Social Media Management Skills

This person may also be overseeing the maintenance of the website and the Facebook page posts.

 

 

When I sit down and really think about what it takes to Manage a Dental Practice, I realize how disciplined  the Practice Manager must be in order to be successful. And, how the support team he/she hires needs to possess the same high level of discipline, integrity and ‘stick-to-it-iveness’.

 

 ~

    “Each person’s work is always a portrait of himself.”
– Samuel Johnson

 

Critical Front to Back Communication

May 1st, 2017 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I’ve said it before, I love to develop systems and there are numerous systems that need to be in place in a successful Dental practice. Systems are simply a method of communication regarding how the office operates

As I’ve worked in various offices, there are many systems that I have been asked to improve. There’s collection systems, patient flow, recall systems (I prefer recare to recall), informed consent, documentation and inventory systems to name a few. But, the system that I’ve seen that needs the most improvement is the communication (or lack thereof) between the front and the back.

So, I will apologize in advance if I ruffle some feathers, but there are some simple truths regarding this system that need to be said.

1. Paperwork is an administrative in nature; paperwork is to be done at the front desk. Patients in need of new medical histories, informed consent, updating insurance information, etc. can arrive early and do their paperwork before their treatment time ensues.

2. Changes in the schedule need to be effectively communicated to the Clinical Team. It doesn’t matter how this is done, whether it’s on paper or in a computer. It shouldn’t be a secret that gets revealed once the patient shows up for the appointment.

3. Additions to the schedule need to be communicated. If the clinical staff is already navigating a full schedule, most patients presenting with a toothache will need to do a “sit and wait”. Please don’t come and ask us when we’re going to get that TA back; we will get to the toothache when there’s a break in the action.

4. Proper Scheduling of the planned procedure is critical; the Clinical Team will not know how to set up for treatment unless they know what treatment has been planned. For example, if the schedule says “fills”, do they set up for alloys or composites? Do they prepare for upper right and lower left or the opposite?

On the flip side…

5. Clinical verbiage is established in the back. Treatment plans can’t be appropriately presented unless the Administrative Team knows exactly what’s being planned. For example: what kind of a crown, implant, partial, cleaning, etc., is being planned.

6. No matter who is responsible for establishing the treatment that has been performed or how it’s communicated, the Administrative Team cannot collect the appropriate fees without knowing exactly what has been done.

In consulting, you’ll see Administrative staff coming back asking questions and Clinical staff running up to get paperwork that isn’t complete. This is a complete waste of time and loss of revenue. If you are amongst a Team that receives bonuses based on productivity, you’re essentially flushing your bonus down the toilet!

How’s the communication in your office? What part in the function of your day do you play.

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

– George Bernard Shaw

The 4 Characteristics That Define The Excellent Dental Hygienist

March 29th, 2017 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I’m so glad you enjoyed the ‘Four Characteristics of an Awesome Dental Assistant’. I know you work hard and to say you’re our right arm is an understatement. I think it only fair to talk about your co-worker, the Dental Hygienist. I’m certain that to most people, the work they do appears easy; can I just say this is a long way from true.

When I received my license to practice Dental Hygiene back in 1976, I had one role: cleaning teeth. Today there are a number of various duties practiced by Dental Hygienists. As the demand for Dental providers has grown, it has become necessary to expand their role much the same way the Nurse Practitioner and Physician’s Assistant has done in medicine. So, aside from their various levels of participation in the Dental Office, here are my thoughts on ~

The Four Characteristics That Define the Excellent Dental Hygienist

1. Patient Education

The Dental Hygienist who can consistently provide education to their patients on a level they can use and understand would receive my vote for excellence. As a former Dental Hygienist, I can tell you that giving patient education day after day, and week after week is tedious, monotonous work. If an individual is not up for this redundant type of responsibility…and it is their responsibility…I don’t believe a level of excellence can be reached.

This means they ask the patient to demonstrate their use of a toothbrush and/or dental floss and modify where necessary. They do not verbally describe brushing or show the patient what they do. They watch the patient and modify their technique to assist them in improving their dental health.

I’m not sure why, but when I temp for various offices, I often hear the Hygienist talk about “massaging the gums”. I roll my eyes as I walk past their operatory asking myself “where are they getting this information?” It doesn’t have anything to do with massaging gums; it’s removal of bacteria…period. For much of the population: control the bacteria and you’ll control disease. It’s not brushing in circles; if you tell them that they’ll make circles as big as a quarter. It’s not anaerobic bacteria, its germs. It’s not periodontal disease, its gum disease. It’s not “you need to floss”; tell them why. If they won’t floss, recommend a Waterpik.

2. Continuous Improvement of Skills and Knowledge

The Dental Hygienist who works to consistently improve their clinical skills and increase their knowledge of Dental disease would receive my vote for excellence. I certainly did not graduate from Dental Hygiene School knowing how to effectively root plane or sharpen my instruments. Information regarding research in periodontology advances all the time. The excellent Hygienist continues to improve skills and increase their knowledge of Dental disease.

As the need for Dental Healthcare providers increases, the Dental Hygienists now have the opportunity to further educate themselves in several expanded functions including administration of anesthesia, prescription writing, and placing fillings.

3. Personable, Yet Professional

The Dental Hygienist who knows what she can, and more importantly, cannot discuss with the patient, would receive my vote of excellence. The focus of the appointment is on the patient and their dental needs; there is no discussion of the Hygienist’s personal problems.

4. A Team Player

The Dental Hygienist who is not above filling their own schedule, turning a room, helping in sterilization or filing/pulling charts has my vote for excellence. The Hygienist who can sit in the break room and read a magazine while everyone else is Mach ten with their hair on fire, is the antithesis of Team player. I once heard a Hygienist who was asked if he’d help the team catch up in sterilization. He responded with “I didn’t go to Dental Hygiene school to work in sterilization.” He’s no longer with the company!

I often hear Dental Assistants say they want to go into Dental Hygiene. The most prevalent reason I hear has to do with an increase in income. I’m all for ambition, but my response is always this: “First, don’t be fooled; cleaning teeth all day is hard, repetitive work. Then there’s the responsibility of continuously educating the patient. It can be redundant, and grueling. In knowing that, if you’re up for it, I commend you.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other,”
-Abraham Lincoln

Are You An Excellent Communicator

February 10th, 2017 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

Communication. It’s a big word in more than one way. It affects your relationship with yourself, your family, friends and co-workers. Our focus today will be on its role in the Dental office, whether you’re the owner/Dentist or employee/Team. No real success in Dentistry will happen without clear, open, honest communication; without communication an office suffers high turnover, unresolved problems and frustration felt by the entire Staff and the patients.

According to Joseph DeVito in his book The Interpersonal Communication Book, there are 5 characteristics in becoming an effective communicator. These 5 issues are openness, empathy, supportiveness, positivity, and equality.

Openness: Doctors need to be approachable for the Staff to feel comfortable in bringing problems to his or her attention. Sharing outside interests or hobbies in speaking with the Staff as one person to another (rather than as boss to employee) helps the Team to see them as a ‘regular person.’

Employees should be approachable as well; daily casual conversation should be open and friendly. Employees shouldn’t openly share personal problems in the workplace. If personal problems could potentially affect job performance, an open conversation with your boss is appropriate.

Empathy: Empathy is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: “mental entrance into the spirit of another person or thing; appreciative perception or understanding.” In a professional setting, this can be difficult, but necessary. It allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and helps you to understand how they’re feeling.

Supportiveness: An individual in a position of power needs to be understanding rather than judgmental. This can be difficult when an owner Dentist has his or her mind set on the productivity of the day. That said, productivity will prevail in an atmosphere of support. If criticism rears its ugly head, everyone pulls back in spirit and productivity will suffer.

Positivity: This is big. No one wants to come to work when the individual in charge is constantly negative. It’s important to keep a positive attitude, appreciate the things going well in the workday and properly address the issues not going well. A positive attitude will make the day easier, more satisfying and you’ll go home feeling better.

Find a Job in the Dental Industry Today

Equality: Peter Gopal put this so well, I’ve decided to quote his article: “This is essential for sharing of information and effective teamwork. It indicates mutual respect. While it is understood that the dentist owner often has more schooling and years of experience, they need to value input from all employees at all levels and work with them as peers.”

Listening: This step in communication should really be listed as number one. Listening effectively is the most important component of communication we do every waking hour. A common downfall to communication entails too much talking and a lack of focus while listening. When we become passive listeners, we can miss important details and this can lead to misinterpretation of the message. Other factors to effective listening include body posture, facial expressions, averting eyes and head; all of these are indications of disinterest and unimportance both to what’s being said and who’s saying it.

Communication Part 2 coming next: Communication Problems in the Dental Office

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”

– Brian Tracy, author of The Psychology of Achievement

Are You Saving Time Or Wasting It

January 31st, 2017 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

Tagged Topics:

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I apologize for harping on this subject again, but it’s simply a passion of mine. One of my strongest skills is organization. The antithesis of organization is chaos and I simply don’t function well in chaos. The subject I’m talking about is systems. The first thing I notice in any office is the systems, or the absence of them. Mostly it’s the absence I notice and I want to jump in and take chaos to repeatable, successful systems.

The happiest, most productive dental offices that I have experienced have repeatable, successful systems. They have identified obstacles and procedures that were not working well and they’ve set about to eliminate stress and replaced it with order. Let’s talk about some examples.

In one office a prescription was printed from the operatory computer and printed in the front. An Administrative Team Member walked into the operatory with pen in hand, reached down to an accessible drawer and pulled out one glove. The Dentist turned, took off her right glove, signed the script, replaced the glove and turned back to the task at hand.

In another office the Doctor had to remove gloves, gown and mask, walk to their office, unlock a drawer, retrieve a prescription pad and walk back to the operatory to fill out the prescription. Whew! I get exhausted just thinking about it!

I experienced an office that had all of their referrals in each operatory, readily organized and available. They are returned to the front desk and scanned into the computer while the patient checked out. In another office they have the referrals in one, two and even three areas. Sometimes they’re missing referrals and Team members would run from place to place searching for the necessary paperwork, get them filled out, copy them and lastly place them in charts. A complete waste of time.

In my private practice I had an alphabetized system of where all inventory was stored. It was easy to invite Dental Assisting Students to do their clinical requirements in our office; they could find anything simply by checking the inventory system in place. I spent a morning in another office and started to keep track of how many times I observed a Team member looking for something or trying to decide where to put an item “where everyone would know where it was being stored”.

Our ordering consisted of a tag system whereby when the second to the last item was taken from inventory, the tag would simply be place in a basket. Our rep would go to the basket, write down the necessary order and leave. It required no man hours once the system was established.

I was hired by a Dentist to help in combining his office with an office he had purchased. He didn’t want to take any of his productive time to put the two practices together, requesting my help to make it as painless as possible while he continued to work.

I soon learned of the enormous task of going through this practice, drawer by drawer and finding a new definition for chaos. There was inventory stuffed in the back of drawers and in the back of cabinets; I found paperwork literally stuffed in drawers at the front desk, so much so, that it was difficult to open and close the drawer. There was paperwork and old x-rays (30 years old) stuffed in enormous envelopes they called “charts” that was completely unnecessary. Although this type of disorganization is rare, it was easy to see why this practice had failed and was rescued by my client.

I cannot say enough about the importance of developing sound systems. Dentistry is stressful enough without adding the problem of disorganization; this, however is big part of an even bigger picture. Without open, mature communication within the entire Team, systems will fail. There must be 100% cooperation from the Doctor to the cleaning crew, although I have learned that most Doctors couldn’t tell you where anything has been stored.

Keep in mind, the systems mentioned here aren’t all there is to organization. There are systems for virtually everything we do in a Dental Office. There should be systems in place for scheduling, cancellations/failed appointments, accounts payable and receivable, HR policies, and clinical systems such as tray/bur set-ups, turning rooms, sterilization, etc., etc.

But let’s not put the cart before the horse. Without the communication part, problems will arise. Watch for our blog on communication. It all starts with communication.

“Remember, Time Is Money”

– Benjamin Franklin

Are Your Systems Spot On?

November 2nd, 2016 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I recall my years in private practice as very hard work. It wasn’t the Dentistry that exhausted me; it was the daily running of the office. Inventory, payroll, quarterly taxes, and Staffing issues were constants in my professional life. I felt there weren’t enough hours in a day to deal with the issues that were my responsibilities. I went through periods that were awesome; production was up, the Team was spot on in their work ethic and our office environment was light-hearted and fun. But the days where nothing seemed to go well, I just couldn’t put my finger on the problem and how to keep the good days happening on a consistent level.

In looking back, I recall a Temporary Hygienist asking for a moment in my office. She wanted to talk to me about the systems (or absence of them) that were lacking in my Dental Practice. I really wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about because it was nothing I’d recalled studying in Dental School. I’m not sure when or where along the way I learned that I, Dr. Marynak, didn’t, or better yet couldn’t function well in chaos.

It’s very clear to me now: when I start to feel uncomfortable at work, I know I’m working in a chaotic environment. Chaos can come in many forms. Perhaps the necessary paperwork isn’t where it should be, the Receptionist isn’t getting the new patients to complete the necessary forms, the Dental Assistant keeps forgetting to bring the lab prescription to the operatory, there’s a lab case that wasn’t sent out and it was prepped three days ago and I can go on and on!

Now many of you are saying “isn’t it the Team that’s causing these issues?” I’d answer “yes” and let’s face it, we all forget things from time to time. I know that I’ve worked in offices where systems are all but completely absent and in offices where systems were crisp and clear, concise and repeatable. I much prefer working in the later. I go home feeling accomplished, content and peaceful. When I spend eight hours in the former, I go home exhausted, depressed and my brain in a fog.

What’s the point in my discussing all of this with you today? Part of hiring a new member to your Team is trying to get at what makes them tick. Discovering their work ethic is paramount. Do they cut corners? Are they timely people? Can they work as a Team member? Do they leave their personal problems at home? My personal feeling is that when a Team member is being payed, they should be all in for the eight to ten hours they are working in your Dental Office.

Let me tell you about MM. MM is a phenomenal chairside assistant. She worked with me for several months as my primary chairside Assistant in a Corporate Practice. Occasionally MM wasn’t at work, was late, left early, went home at lunch (40 minutes away…one way).

One day in her absence, I looked into our restorative bin and it looked as though someone had turned it upside down and shook it. Everyday items were literally thrown into the bin: wedges in four places, matrix bands in all four corners, composite shades all dumped together, etc., etc. When I picked her up for a C.E. class one day and stepped into her home, it clicked. The house looked like a bomb had gone off. You could have gotten the same information by looking into her car.

At the recent ADA Convention, I met a Dentist who told me he was having trouble with his Receptionist. He sat down one day to investigate why his deposits had been light and he was concerned that he may find embezzlement. What he discovered was that the Receptionist was writing off account balances. I reminded him that that doesn’t mean there isn’t any embezzlement taking place and an owner Dentist should be watching his accounts receivable. I also told him that I learned from personal experience that you never hire an individual to handle money who has money problems of their own. Now I know why some companies do background checks; all Dental Offices should start with a ninety-day probationary period and consider background checks.

If you add a problem employee to poor systems, you will have chaos, lose money, waste time and go home with a foggy brain, unable to make complete sentences. And this doesn’t just affect the Dentist; your “A” Team will suffer as well. So, in finding that new employee, do what the United States Army does: ask for three personal references and three professional references. And don’t just think you can tell…call all six references. Find out what their job description entailed, find out how long they were employed and ask them if there were another opening in their office, would they rehire them.

The rare situation is the office that has had the same Team for several years. I met a Hygienist at the ADA Convention and she told me they had a stack of resumes in their office from people wanting to work in their office. Fortunately, they hadn’t had an opening in years; that speaks volumes about the Dentist, the Dental Team, their successful systems, their communication skills and the treatment delivery to their patients. High Five to that Dental Practice!

“I think as a company, if you can get those two things right — having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff — then you can do pretty well.”

– Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

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