It is the time of year that many Practice Managers and Owners are contemplating adding a new dental grad into their office mix. Integrating new dental grads into your practice can be an exciting and rewarding experience for both the practice and the grad themselves. However, it requires careful planning and a well-executed onboarding process to ensure successful integration.
I would like to provide you with some practical tips on integrating a new grad into your practice:
- As a practice owner or manager, you will want to set clear expectations for your new hire from the start. This can be achieved by providing them with a comprehensive job description that outlines their duties, responsibilities and any metrics that may apply to them. Additionally, you should communicate the protocols in your practice around sick days, vacation time and any other office policies that they will be expected to adhere to.
- Either the practice owner or another dentist in the office should be assigned as a mentor. This dentist will serve as a valuable resource for the grad, offering guidance, support and feedback as the new grad learns to navigate their role. The mentor needs great communication skills and be willing to review new patient exams and randomly audit other treatments. You may also want to pair a more experienced assistant with a new grad to help guide them through their days.
- One of the most crucial steps in integrating new dental grads is providing them with adequate training. This should include an introduction to all of the practices systems as well as thorough software training, technology training and any other equipment used in the office.
- During the first few months in the practice schedule frequent check-ins with the practice manager. These check-ins are to ensure that the team are being supportive, assess progress to any goals that have been set and any adjustments can easily be made at this point. This will encourage open communication which is a vital aspect of integration. Encourage them to ask questions, provide feedback and share their thoughts on any aspect of the practice. This will help create a welcoming and inclusive culture in the practice.
- Onboarding and integrating a new grad is stressful for the team, patients as well as the grad. New grads will progress at very different rates and patience will be required from all. Setting realistic expectations is essential as they grow into their role.
- Announce to the patients that there is a new associate in the practice, many offices are hesitant to bring attention to the fact that there is a new grad, you will want to bolster the patience confidence by stating “ Dr. _____________ is going to come and do your recall exam, they are new to our practice, and we think they are awesome/great with patients/ so gentle/ a great addition.”
- Initially, incorporate extra time into their appointments to account for time to connect with the patients, their explanations will longer and their efficiency at completing treatment will be slower. By cramming their days too tightly initially you will be creating a stressful situation for all.
- It is important to celebrate the milestones both big and small with a new grad and your team. Whether it is hitting a performance metric or having a good day with a difficult patient it is important to acknowledge these achievements to boost their confidence and motivation.
It is never an easy decision to have a new dentist join your practice no matter their experience level. Taking the time to have a proper onboarding plan for both the dentist/new grad as well as the team will ensure a better integration for all.