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Front Desk Archive

by Stephanie Sisk


CDS dentists have many roles in their dental offices. You are doctors, first and foremost, but you are also business managers, new business development leaders and team-builders. This online column will help you stay on top of the latest dental trends and resources as you juggle all of your roles.



  • August 5, 2020

Take a bow


Like never before, your practice culture is on display right now, and it’s shining.

Patients are eager – happy even – to return to your office to complete treatments or have a long-overdue cleaning done. They see that the office is radically different, with waiting rooms stripped of magazines, television remotes and other items that pose an infection risk.

They see you and staff bundled in masks, shields, gowns and booties to protect them as well as you and staff. The message? This is an office that takes the pandemic seriously and is taking the right steps to protect everyone.

Conveying that message loud and clear comes by way of the dedication and buy-in from your employees. They know what infection control and safety protocols are necessary in this new age of COVID-19. While they may have had some initial misgivings, they can see now that PPE, new training and multiple precautions covering everything from patient check-in to hand tools are keeping them and patients safe.

Now that offices have been open for a couple months and new office routines are more comfortable, it is time for a well-deserved kudos for you and your staff. You powered through the uncertainty of patients returning, of securing PPE, of adapting to altered safety and cleaning measures almost in real time. Your staff worked hard to reassure patients that their safety was top priority and answered their questions, even when factual information seemed to change daily.

A series of studies by Lawrence Lindahl, Ken Kovach and Bob Nelson revealed that managers misjudged what is most important to employees. Where an owner believes employees’ No. 1 concern is money, employees value “full appreciation of work.” There has never been a better time to offer recognition to your staff with a “thank you,” a written note of appreciation, a bagel breakfast surprise for the team or a collective “Well done!” to the whole office.

The pre-pandemic culture that you created with your staff – one of professionalism and confidence – helped everyone through those early days in May when the pandemic left its heavy stamp on everyday life. That same culture sustains them today. Now is the time to take a breath and acknowledge that you couldn’t have done it alone – that your staff and their willingness to help make reopening a success on every level made it happen.

No one knows what’s ahead, other than more uncertainty. Counting on your culture and staff to go forward confidently won’t be a question mark.

Front Desk is prepared by Stephanie Sisk, Assistant Director of Communications for the Chicago Dental Society.

Photo by svetikd /


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