Introducing…your dental nurse

113864296 Dental TeamJonathan Fine describes a recent experience where he was introduced to his dental nurse.

It’s striking how often people trading goods and services miss the simple things, the things that don’t cost anything and make the customer believe a business cares about them. These are obvious things that, if traders had put themselves in their customers’ shoes for a few seconds, they would see.

Think of the last time you moved house and tried to transfer your internet fibre package to the new address and keep the same number, God help you. Chances are, after being placed on hold for 40 minutes, your provider gave you some obscure technical reason why you needed to start a new contract, then sent an order confirmation with a bill for a different amount, then missed the go live date.

Had they kept in touch and explained everything you would probably have felt they were on your side. As it is, in telecoms, the industry-wide diluting of service quality means we have learnt to numb ourselves to disappointment, knowing ironically all providers are as bad as each other.

The simple things

Unfortunately for dental teams if a patient feels there has been a lack of communication or an unacceptable level of misunderstanding during an appointment, they are usually free to simply take their money elsewhere with no notice.

That’s why those simple things matter, and I’d like to share one you can use at no cost to improve the patient journey.

The dental nurse

I had some root canal treatment recently, which was carried out by my usual general dental practitioner. It failed, so I decided to get a second opinion from a specialist and, because I am in the business, I decided to get a second and a third – all three all on a self-referring basis.

The three clinical opinions were identical, which was reassuring, yet the approaches were quite different. One thing that really stuck out was the relationship each had with their nurses. Without exception all were very tuned in to each other and to some extent slick, yet only one of the specialists actually introduced me to their nurse and explained that she would be assisting him.

The impact this had on me was considerable; it felt like dentist, nurse and patient were connected, and that I was being attended to by a very talented nurse. I felt very reassured. Vicky, the nurse, became part of the process in a real person way as opposed to a piece of equipment way.

In my experience the dentist has always been the main act and the nurse has always appeared as a lowly assistant who does not even warrant being introduced. Odd really, as I cannot think of any other intimate human interaction where all the protagonists aren’t introduced to each other.

Wouldn’t it be better for all three of the people in a confined space if Dr Smith said: ‘This is Vicky Holdsworth who will be assisting me, and Vicky this is Mr Fine who is having a problem with a recent RCT, let’s take a look…’?

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One comment

  1. 1

    Well done! What and excellent article and point to make. I left nursing 3 years ago and set up my own dental agency. One of the reasons is the lack of acknowledgement from patients and Dentists given to the lowly nurse. If only all GDPs would take the time to acknowledge their nurse.

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