McKane-Wagester is the founder of McKane & Associates, a full-service
business management and public relations firm servicing health care
practices. Her company's expertise is in developing excellence in staffing,
systems and work philosophy, and ensuring that all team members, whether
proven or inexperienced, adapt their skills to meet the ever-changing
workplace. She is the author of "Dental Hygiene, a Practice Within a
Practice," and "Dental Hygiene, Pulse of the Practice." She can be reached
at her offices in Maryland at 1-800-341-1244 or you can e-mail her at
For a more productive
and profitable 2002, try implementing some or all of the following New
Year's Resolutions in your practice:
- Enjoy your
work. Since we are on this earth for such a short time, we should
all engage in work that we are passionate about and that makes us feel
happy and satisfied. Take the time to think about the excitement and
enthusiasm you felt when you first began to practice dentistry. Remember
what it was that made you feel that way and try to rekindle that spark.
- Smile More.
Do it even when you don't feel like it. More often than not, someone
will smile back. Smiles are contagious. The positive outlook you project
through your smile will empower your entire staff and give even your
crankiest patient something to think about. It's a sure-fire way of
making your practice a much friendlier place to be.
your team. Make it a personal policy to compliment someone on your
team every day for a job well done. Provide opportunities for growth
and advancement. Recognize the long-term value of job satisfaction,
good working conditions and a pleasant work environment.
- Make the office
a nice place to visit and to work. Do a walk-through of the entire
office and make a note of everything that should be cleaned, upgraded
or patched within the next 12 months. Set a realistic deadline for each
item that needs fixing or correcting. Treat yourself, your staff and
patients to an attractive new watercolor painting, pleasant scenic photographs,
or a dental cartoon for the practice.
- Make your practice
a household name in the community.
Contribute to worthy community projects by sponsoring a walk-a-thon
or an athletic event for a charitable cause, or maybe offer your services
as a guest lecturer at a community event. Show support for the community,
and the community will support you and your business.
- Set Goals.
Have your staff set goals with realistic deadlines and consistently
encourage their commitment to achieve those goals. To build interest,
offer a reward for the best idea or goal. Also, find space in the office
to post everyone's goals as well as the corresponding deadlines.
- Re-commit your
practice to providing the highest professional standards. You and
your staff should make a firm commitment or re-commitment to ensuring
the provision of fair and ethical standards for patients and the practice
as a whole. Everyone should commit to at least one continuing education
course for the year to keep abreast of the regulated standards.
the "Collection Begins Before Production" philosophy.
Explain all fees before performing the prescribed treatment. Never allow
patients to think that making a payment is unimportant. Resolve never
to allow a tooth to be drilled, or an x-ray to be taken, without a firm
and pre-set financial arrangement.
- Improve your
case presentation skills.
Review your exam and treatment proposal scripts, and your closure statements.
If they are out-dated and over-used, spruce them up. If they are boring,
spice them up. Make sure they motivate and educate. Allow your team
to role-play in order to perfect your chairside manner and their front
- Commit yourself
to a great program. Resolve to retain 90% of your existing patients
for the coming year. Make an effort to call, write and encourage previous
patients to return. Focus on creating value by educating all of your
patients so they become loyal customers of your practice.