Dentists have, in my long experience, always appreciated the finer things in life. They have long been great supporters of the local Mercedes or Porsche dealership. Holidays taken in the best hotels of the world, imbibing fine wines, enjoying expensive hobbies; dentists are generally adept at these forms of pleasure . Estate agents market to them the finer houses in the area which they fill with the finest furnishings and technological products –yes, many Dentists love their toys and happily fork out for them!
You would think from this that a Dentist spends most of his life sitting in a car seat or their favourite sofa, when the fact is most will spend the majority of their waking time on a far less luxurious seat, a little stool in fact, beside a dental chair earning the wherewithal to pay for the luxuries of their lifestyle. Why then do we often resent expenditure on our practice and its environment? Why do we have a problem seeing it as an investment? An investment in the comfort of the place in which we spend so many hours. As an opportunity to reduce the fatigue we experience in a poor working environment, so we can enjoy our toys more. A less fatigued dentist working in an environment that enhances a patient’s perception of value might also just increase profitability, with which they can purchase more of that lifestyle.
We are at a time when the profession faces a lot of “resentment expenditure”. We are going to have to spend lots of money on compliance issues. HTM01-05, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and particularly that decontamination room we have always practiced successfully without in the past. We are not happy !
Studying for my Faculty Certificate in Practice Appraisal, I have become thoroughly acquainted with the theories of change and change management. Those of you who have heard of the Kubler Ross curve of change will understand that the initial reactions to having to change are: Denial, Anger and Resentment followed by Negotiation. It is frightening how many colleagues are still in denial about the change before us and doing little to prepare themselves or their practices for the future. My experience talking to colleagues is that a majority are now into expending lots and lots of energy on being angry and resentful about the changes ahead. Others are wasting energy trying to negotiate our way out of it by arguing over ‘where is the evidence base?’.
Now it may be that while there may still be some minor modifications to be made to HTM01-05, the thing isn’t going away! Authorities and Government (whoever is in power tomorrow) see it as a public safety duty affecting all areas of healthcare and dentistry isn’t suddenly going to become exempt. Soon there will be the CQC to ensure its uniform implementation. So if you are still doing the angry resentment thing you might just be using up vital energy and personal resources. You might wish to consider moving to the other end of the Kubler Ross curve, which is about Acceptance of change. Consider how some of the requirements might just improve your life and might therefore be worth investing in. One such aspect is the decontamination room.
In 2003 I created what, at the time, was a ground breaking new practice ‘ The Dental Spa ‘ in Shrewsbury.
At the time, very few practices had separate decontamination facilities, but we decided it was the way forward to quality practice. We spent a considerable sum incorporating the room with its bank of autoclaves, its two washer disinfectors, fitted cabinetry and storage and Corian seamless surfaces, all looked the part. Dental trade visitors would marvel at it, colleagues would grumble about the cost and impracticality installing such a facility. From my perspective, it was worth every penny to get the hissing monster (autoclave) and the whining ultrasonic out of my surgery. It created a more conducive environment for quality relaxing dentistry for the patients, staff and me! It proved to be an investment not just in the quality of my practice but in the quality of my life. I have never resented the cost of the investment, even if it had delayed buying that new car by a year (which it didn’t because I also found it made me more profitable).
So the message from my experience is simple. If you are still in an angry state, consider whether it is getting you anywhere; and instead look for the opportunity that change could bring. Don’t spend time being resentful, look on it as an opportunity to invest in you – be positive!
If you are struggling and in overwhelm, don’t get more overwhelmed by doing nothing: get help in formulating your plan for the future.
Jon is a clinical coach with Breathe, as well as a practicing dentist. He conducts practice appraisals and helps clients set quality standards and plan the future of their practices. Breathe offers Clinical Assessment Days, where we will tailor a day for you in your practice to assess your practice from a clinical perspective (this includes compliance for all the up-coming legislation as well as assessing clinical standards, record keeping etc).
We are running another Compliance Workshop day in London:
“Don’t Let Them Close You Down – Stay Ahead of The Game!”
on Friday 1st October 2010.
If you would like to book a Clinical Assessment Day or attend the Compliance Workshop, please contact Ernie on 0845 299 7209 firstname.lastname@example.org