A healthy word – returning to practice

A healthy word – the return to practiceAs Anna Middleton makes her return to practice, she explains how the practice and dental team made the transition as smooth as possible.

On Monday I finally returned to work after three months. It has been a mix of emotions and I am sure I am not alone in that statement.

With so many changes in place I thought I would share what work now looks like for me and some tips as we start to slowly return to work.

The new norm

Let’s start with PPE. I have the full shebang – disposable gown, apron, shoe covers, hair net, visor, googles and FFP3 mask. It is a lot and I cannot lie that it is on the claustrophobic side.

Luckily, I have air conditioning in the room. But I did find myself having to shout so patients could hear me.

We have extended all appointments to one hour to allow for treatment and fallow time, with no changes to our prices.

Patients were so happy to see me back and everyone was extremely patient and understanding. The slower pace really helped to keep stress levels down and the day running smoothly.

Preparation

If you can, go into your clinic before reassuming work. I found this extremely helpful. It gave me an opportunity to run through the new protocols in place and to spring clean my surgery and get organised.

I have set my trays up and created separate see-through storage boxes to keep all my items in. I created a new note template to cover the extra information that needs including in our clinical notes. As well as creating custom patient information leaflets covering things such as oral hygiene instructions.

The whole idea was to find ways to ensure I touch as little as possible during appointments, yet provide the patients with a full and comprehensive service.

Teamwork

This has never been more important. The new day-to-day running of the clinic would not be possible if everybody was not working together as they are. We all work tirelessly to help each other, learn and to find solutions to allow everyone to have a happy and stress-free day.

I am sure all of us have been having meetings and discussions regarding all the changes. But this is also a key time to raise any issues or concerns with your team to ensure a smooth return to work.

I was apprehensive about returning and worried about so many things. But it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

It was made so much better by patients being so happy to see me. I am glad I gave myself time to organise and prepare myself – that certainly reduced my anxiety.

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