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THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Blogs

So you want to finish clinic on time? Part 2

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3 more steps to finishing on time

1. Stick with you patients- Not all of your patients of course, some you just need to drop because they always cancel. But do not be so quick to judge a patient when you meet them. I started with one patient that I truthfully thought was going to be a nightmare because she was deathly afraid of the dentist, but she just hadn’t been to the right dentist. She started out by saying her last dentist had her take valium and then had her on laughing gas to do all procedures. I told her we didn’t have laughing gas and she almost left, but I explained to her that the fear is more about her being comfortable with me than it is about the actual dental work. I built a great relationship with her and it turns out she is the patient I did the most dental work on. 6 fillings, 4 crowns, 2 partial denture. In the end she was my best patient. I stuck with her and it paid off. If you are good to your patients they will be good to you, they are not just requirements they are people and they should be treated well.

2. Call your patients and fill your schedule- I would go down my list of patients at least once a day, I never had more than 20 patients at a time (less is more). Most weeks I would have a full schedule and my patients had a good enough relationship with me that I would hardly get cancelations. Your patient has to know who you are and they will respect your time. Call or text them two days before appointments and confirm they are coming (get their cell phones numbers when you meet them). When you have an appointment with a patient try to be one time, sometimes you will be a little late because you have to set-up, but just let your patient know you are running late (text messaging is great for this!). At the end of their appointment you should always set up their next appointment. It will save you time by not having to call them later. Also the most important thing I learned was to make the appointments on the same time and day every week. This way you are working with the same professor and the patient will not forget their appointment. I once had to change my patient’s appointment to a different time and she was so confused she ended up coming on the wrong day and she was very upset because I couldn’t see her. Try to keep the same day and time every week, it will make your life so much easier.

3. Stay after school- I was one of the only people to stay at school after the day was done, you really want to go home but you need to make sure all the loose ends are tied before leaving. This is the time that I would call my patients, add notes to charts, make new treatment plans and review old treatment plans. Reviewing treatment plans is extremely important, things change and there are a lot of moving parts that need to be checked on. For example, patient needs extractions and they need to be scheduled in the OS clinic, it takes time to heal so you better plan ahead and make sure they are scheduled asap otherwise you will be waiting for them to heal and wasting time. I was always able to have a clear mind after school and organize my schedule for the next couple weeks knowing that I was doing what needed to be done.