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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.
It's not just the dentists and hygienists who have to put up with problem patients... the front office staff has to deal with them first.
Let’s be honest. There are some patients who you want to dump-patients that start trouble as soon as they walk in the door.
There are some patients who the entire staff dreads to see on the schedule, because they make everyone’s life miserable, from the front office all the way to the chair. But which ones REALLY get under the front office team’s skin?
Take a look at this list and tell me if I am missing anyone.
Continue to the next page to see the worst of the worst.
Do they ever stop whining? “The wait is too long.” “The office is too cold.” “The bill was inaccurate.” “Why do I have to pay this?” It doesn’t even matter what the complaint is …that patient just has a need to complain about something (or everything!) and drive us up the wall.
This one goes beyond complaining or being rude. He/she threatens staff when things don’t go their way. It could be a threat to tell the dentist that you’re inept, or to complain to your licensing board or to slam the practice in online reviews-anything they think might get you scared (and help them get their way!). I think they ENJOY the feeling of presumed power to destroy you. Let’s get rid of this one ASAP!
The rude one
Why do some patients think it is OK to come late and not call? They have no respect for our schedule or the other patients who are waiting. Then, when they do come, they are soooo important that they have to be on the cell phone while they are trying to check in or you need to ask them questions about their insurance. Also, is there anything worse than someone who sits in a public place and gabs loudly into their phone? Bottom line, these patients are RUDE! They don’t value us. It is so hard to be professional and not roll my eyes behind their backs.
This patient is so fearful of being at the dentist that the fact they will have a bad experience becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are tedious and keep asking the same darn questions over and over again, or interrupt you when you’re trying to talk to other patients. Do they really think we are going to come up with a different answer the more they ask the same question? While it’s understandable that some people will be nervous, this one just gets on your nerves.
This person continually crosses the line. It can be from looking longingly at your chest or backside, or they overtly make sexual suggestions. Do they really think coming to your workplace and treating you this way is going to be attractive?!
Why do some patients smell? They douse themselves with aftershave or perfume. Even after they leave, the entire reception area smells like them! You try to open windows or spray something to cover the odor, but you can’t get it out of your nostrils. Not to mention how annoying it is to the other poor patients sitting and waiting their turn!
The kiss up
These patients come across as sleazy and fake. They say things just to make you happy in an attempt to get what they want. But it doesn’t work. Sorry, you’ll still have to pay your bill!
The time drainer
These patients think they are being social and just keep talking and talking. You can’t get them out of the office. They just will not SHUT UP. I don’t know if they are just lonely and this is the high point of their day or week. But, they have no respect for your time or that other patients are waiting.
It is really easy to complain about our patients. Why? Because, they are human. We are human. Face it: You aren’t going to like everybody. Guess what? They aren’t necessarily going to like you back. So, what do we do? You become aware of how you feel about your patients and make sure that you treat them all professionally.
If you want to further this discussion, email me at email@example.com and let me know what other kinds of patients you get to see in the office.