A new dentist joins an established dental practice. Let’s call this individual Doctor Newcomer. The owner of the practice, Dr. Established, has high hopes for the freshly minted dental graduate. Dr. Established thinks that Dr. Newcomer will pick up clinical speed and confidence and one day be ready to take over the practice.
Dr. Newcomer soon learns that one of the hardest aspects of joining a private practice is dental practice management. Not only is Dr. Newcomer inexperienced in dental marketing, but there are added pressures of managing the team.
Dr. Newcomer is relatively young. It is quite natural for the new, young dentist to hang out with the team, swap stories, and talk about the road ahead. The problem is that the new dentist is often drawn into the staff orbit. He or she relates to team members rather than Dr. Established, who is the boss.
Bad habits and patterns soon emerge. Team members bring Dr. Newcomer into their confidence and Dr. Newcomer reciprocates. Before long, even in the most professional dental offices, Dr. Newcomer unwittingly crosses the line and starts to share gossip with the team. Inevitably, someone makes an unflattering comment about Dr. Established, and Dr. Newcomer is in the middle of this cabal.
Dr. Newcomer is not savvy in the ways of office politics. He or she does not yet know that there are no secrets in a dental practice. Dr. Established finds out that Dr. Newcomer is talking about him behind his back. In the eyes of Dr. Established. Dr. Newcomer has become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
The best way to guard against this scenario is to be aware of it at the outset. Dr. Established needs to make it clear to the entire team that the management structure of the practice has changed. It now consists of Dr. Established and Dr. Newcomer. There needs to be respect throughout the team for everyone’s position, and the role of Dr. Newcomer needs to be clear to everyone on the team from day one.
David Schwab Ph.D.