The most important people in the dental practice are the patients. In a health care profession, it is not sufficient just to be able to perform sophisticated clinical procedures; it is also necessary to know how to interact with various behaviors. Studies have shown that 90% of the average employee’s day involves interacting with others.
Human relations is not just getting people to like you; it involves the ability to resolve unpleasant situations, to understand the reasons for another’s reactions, or to rebuild a deteriorating relationship. All of the people with whom you will have contact in the office are different; they have different backgrounds, experiences, and needs.
You need to treat each patient each patient or staff person on the office as an individual and accept, understand, and work effectively together. As a dental professional you must understand the needs of your patients.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs • Physiologic or biologic – physical needs such as food, water, and shelter. • Safety or Security needs – environment. • Social or love needs – need to interact with others who share similar beliefs and who provide positive reinforcement.
Esteem needs – self-satisfaction. • Self-actualization – motivated by the need to grow.
Desirable Characteristics for Building Relationships • Self-Confidence • Genuineness • Openness to Experience • Acceptance of Others’ Backgrounds and Values • Enthusiasm • Assertiveness • Integrity • Effective Listening • Recognition of Others’ Needs • Sense of Humor
Communication • Communication is the ability to understand and be understood. Communication relates directly to productivity. An individual’s productivity can be altered by the interpersonal relations with other members of the dental team. Similarly, group productivity is altered by the relationships of each person in the group.
Barriers to Communication • Judging • Criticizing • Name calling • Diagnosing • Praising evaluatively
Sending Solutions • Ordering • Threatening • Excessive or inappropriate questioning • Advising • Moralizing
Avoiding Others Concerns • Diverting • Logical argument • Ignoring
Nonverbal Communication • A dental practice is a prime setting for the display of nonverbal cues. A dental assistant must be alert to these cues. If a patient gestures to indicate disconfort, the assistant must question the patient to avoid further distress.
Patient Rights • A patient has many rights. These rights must be recognized and the patient treated with respect as a human being with feelings and special needs.
Professional Etiquette • Use correct grammar; pronounce words correctly; expand your vocabulary. • Do not interrupt another person during conversation. • Do not eat or drink in front of patients. • Introduce yourself. • Perform proper introductions.
Send thank you notes for thoughtful acts • Respect the space of your colleagues and do not interfere with their work. • Avoid having friends drop in to talk and personal phone calls. When personal calls must be taken, excuse yourself and take the call in private.