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Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" style of presentations and writing will make you smile or just shock you into taking some action. Either way, she is very effective at empowering others to reach their goals and feel better about themselves. Her entertaining workshops are available for national and international audiences. Writing for the dental industry since 2010, she uses an alterego (Diana Directive) to illustrate her points in a sarcastic but effective way. Presentations can be scheduled by contacting Lisa at www.discussdirectives.com/dental.html.
While it’s easy to focus on the negative, sometimes we need a reminder of the great aspects of our job.
I recently received the following email:
“Diana, I read your articles and think that you give dentistry a bad rap. You are wrong! I am very fortunate to work in a dental practice where my staff is beyond incredible! They are my family. In many ways, they are BETTER than my own biological family. It just seems that no one is ever writing about how great the workplace is. I want to be the first one to go on record to say… it does exist. There are very healthy dental practices, and I was blessed to find one!”
Dear readers: There are so many emails that I receive from people who talk about how great their job is in this industry. Some of you have criticized me for always pointing out what needs fixing. YOU are right. We need to acknowledge all the healthy practices that are out there! Thank you to all the dentists, office managers, specialists, hygienists, front office staff, etc. who are providing a healthy workplace. These places do exist; they’re not the minority. Here are some stories my readers have shared about where they work.
“One of my hygienists worked for a dentist who committed suicide. She was quite traumatized from that experience. She had debated what she would say in the hiring interview because she was afraid she would break down in tears. Tears came when asked why she left her last job. She was authentic. It wasn’t her fault, but some dentists might not be as compassionate as we were. We hired her. That was the best hiring decision I have ever made. She became an integral part of our practice. We helped her work through her grief and trauma and return to her livelihood.”
To be honest, when I heard that story, I was so impressed with how kind and understanding that dentist and his staff were to her. These practices do exist!
I love my own personal dentist. He’s the ultimate dentist to work for according to his staff. One of his employees got cancer. Going through an illness like that and getting the support from her co-workers and boss was overwhelming for her. She was out of work for nine months with chemo, radiation and surgery, and her recovery was slower than expected. But her job was held for her. She had been there for 11 years, and the staff worked together to make it work. When she wanted to return to work, the dentist told her to come back part-time until she was up to full-time. Her co-workers gifted some of their PTO to her, which made a major difference in her life financially and emotionally. This is the kind of work environment that makes me speechless. These practices do exist!
A TMJ specialist provided free dental care in Guatemala each summer to help people desperately in need. Working with someone who volunteers his time to travel the world providing free dental care is inspiring for his staff. When he goes on those trips, the staff get a chance to take some time off. Would you believe that many of them use it to volunteer locally? How inspiring is that? These practices do exist!
It amazes me how people are intrinsically good. People step up and work as teams and change not only the patient’s life but their own. I don’t know about you, but I’ve sat in awe at something a colleague has done for a patient. It’s inspiring, and inspiring acts change the world. Don’t think of me as a sugary sweet gal who doesn’t see the real world. I do see the real world. That’s why I know how important it is to look at the good in people instead of the negative.
You may be wondering what the purpose of this article is. It’s to inspire YOU to do something to help your work family. You’re together more hours than you’re with your biological family, family of origin, or your family of choice. If you have a healthy workplace, keep it up. If there are things that can be done to make it better, do it! Your staff’s happiness matter. It’s a customer service issue. Isn’t the phrase, “Happy staff, happy practice?” Just remember that everyone plays a hand in making a workplace a healthy work environment. These places exist. Why? Because you make them exist.
If you’d like to share more stories about how wonderful your dental practice is, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.