What to expect with your first job and how to get your dental career off to a great start!

According to Dental Post, Here’s what to expect with your first job and how to get your dental career off to a great start!

It’s that time of year again when a new graduating class of dental professionals is embarking on their careers. It’s been a long time since my first job, but I recall how excited I was to start my career. I wanted to impress my new colleagues and show them how seriously I took my job as a dental hygienist. Navigating the operatory, the team dynamics and personalities, and the general operations of a new workplace can be challenging and stressful especially when many dental practices lack any sort of formal onboarding programs. (If you are one of those practices, it’s never too late to start an employee onboarding program!)

Whether you are a new associate dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, or an employee working on the business side of the dental practice, the first six weeks on the job will require focus, energy, and flexibility. It will be a time of learning, demonstrating the value you can immediately offer—and, yes, being assessed by your manager.

After the initial excitement of the first day on the job, a positive attitude, resourcefulness, and eagerness to learn will help you power through the next few weeks as you get fully on your feet. A desire to be of true assistance to others will quickly endear you to other team members. And that can be the difference that makes for a better onboarding experience.

What Can You Expect During The First Days?

Most employers begin the onboarding process by introducing new employees to the members of the dental team. Even if all the following topics have been reviewed during the interview process, the first day will typically include a review of:

  • The front-office and back-office flow and daily schedule
  • The practice culture, mission, vision, and values
  • The job description and duties, setting priorities for which systems need to be learned first
  • Training expectations and study materials
  • Who will do training for different aspects of the job and/or answer questions
  • A schedule of milestones and performance assessments, if appropriate

IRS employment forms, vaccination records, OSHA and HIPAA compliance study materials, and an employee manual are also likely to be discussed on the first day. Completion of the necessary forms and training will occur within the first few days. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the dental practice laws of your state so that you can be sure your firm is in compliance.

If You Have Been Hired For the Dental Front Office

Even if you have completed a degree in office administration, over the next few weeks, you have a lot to learn. For example, you will have practice-specific practice management software to learn, dental-specific information to memorize, operational flow to understand, and practice policies for interacting with patients and other team members.

Setting priorities for what you need to learn (and develop competence in) first is important. Making a priority list with your employer/manager will enable you to focus, achieve, and begin contributing in earnest.

If You Have Been Hired For the Dental Clinical Team

You have completed a degree that has prepared you for the job and you have met your state certification requirements. However, each clinical team has its special way of working together. And then, each practice has its own assemblage of technology and preferred materials and methods to master. The principal doctor in the practice–or the doctor you will be assisting in a multi-doctor practice, will take the lead in familiarizing you with specifics of how you will work together, your clinical duties, and practice standards.

Use Emotional Intelligence For Success in Your First Job

Self-regulation of emotions is a hallmark of professionalism on the job. And what that means is that emotions spread rapidly from one person to another, so keeping negative emotions balanced with positive thoughts and outward calmness is important to helping the team get things done. Genuine awareness, empathy, hospitality, and respect for others’ feelings are all part of the job.

One of the most important findings to come out of Emotional Intelligence research is the affirmation that a sunny disposition and genuine smile create a neurological phenomenon that is contagious. The leaders in your workplace and your teammates will respond well to smiles that are genuine. A little wit also can destress you and those around you, break up the boredom, and jolt you out of post-lunch sleepiness.

How you support patients through their emotions may be the most important contribution you make to the dental practice at any given moment. Empathy for what the patient is experiencing and a genuine spirit of caring lead to moments of deeper connection that are meaningful to you and them. These moments can (and need to!) happen from the front to the back of the dental office as the patient experiences you and your dental practice. They help create the trust patients need to move forward with an examination, diagnosis, treatment, and compliant homecare. Connections with patients are among the things dental professionals proclaim they love most about their jobs.

Tonya Lanthier, R. D. H. (2022, June 6). Starting your first dental job? get off on the right foot. DentalPost. Retrieved July 26, 2022, from https://www.dentalpost.net/dental-jobs/content/starting-your-first-dental-job-get-off-on-the-right-foot/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=First+Dental+Job+Blog_June+7_EMP

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