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First job as a hygienist

I’m a new grad and I just started working in a busy office. I am trying to keep up with the same schedule as hygienist that have been there forever. I have 45 mins per patient but sometimes have to wait awhile for checks. I have been getting good feedback from the doctors and feeling pretty good until today. It was after 5:00 and I was trying to finish a patient, when the doctor came over to check he pulled out a scaler and removed some supra calculus that I missed. I was so embarrassed!!! He didn’t say anything to me about it to me. Does anyone have advice on how to improve speed and efficiency when first starting out? Or anything that might help me feel better about going to work tomorrow:)



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3 Answers

With time and practice, you will get faster and more efficient. I know that’s not a specific answer, but its true! With that said, I strongly feel that appointments shorter than an hour simply aren’t enough time to do all that you need to do to properly and thoroughly treat a patient. So don’t get down on yourself for being slower or missing calculus. Everyone, no matter how seasoned the clinician, misses calculus from time to time. In this situation, you simply aren’t given proper time, especially if the doctor slows you down, to be super thorough. The ADHA actually did a study on the time needed for a perio maint appointment: http://jdh.adha.org/content/88/2/87.full.pdf. They determined that 1 hour and 16 minutes was needed and even more time to complete proper infection control for the next patient. So again, only being given 45 minutes per patient is simply not enough time. Be patient with yourself; give yourself time to adjust. If you feel you cannot properly treat patients in only 45 minutes, let this be a learning lesson on taking positions at offices that don’t give enough time. You may need to find an office where patient care is the focus, instead of squishing in as many patients in a day with shortened appointments, to make the office more money as the focus.

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Alicia, the dentist should never undermine your effort to build trust with your patients by going over your work on or in front of them. Remember, you are now a LICENSED PROVIDER, just like the dentist:) The dentist is not there to grade your work.
I agree with Kara, an hour is not enough time to do every assessment, HH, screening, IO pics, radiographs, etc. etc., while keeping a focus on perio charting and Dx needed therapy. That said, you will get faster as you further hone your skills. Also, having a talk with the dentist about overall time management expectations, on both your parts, might help to clear things up.
In my experience I’ve found, new grad dentists are equally as unsure of themselves as new grad hygienists. Hopefully, your dentist will keep that in mind and give you the time you need to hit your stride.
Best of luck and stay confident!

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Alicia it happens don’t get down on yourself! This is hard work and you know what sometimes you leave a little behind! I have left stain before and you know what I kindly explain to my doc that I did my best but there might be a little left behind! Brush it off and don’t worry so much I’m sure you are wonderful at what you do and I’m sure your doc thinks the same!

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