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New hygienist doing inferior work

I have 33 years experience and have worked in my current office for 13 years. I take pride in my care of my patients. We deal with a lot of perio and successful results with SRP. Referring when needed. The doctors hired a new hygienist. I have brought to their attention a few situations where a four month recall after she performs prophy, the perio situation has declined ban alarming Situation also when heavy radiograpgic calculus remained after SRP. And I mean heavy! I had to redo the 2 quads for her. When communicating about my concerns with the Doctors ask me what they can do to help her improve her skills. I am at a loss.

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1 Answer

Assuming this isn’t a homecare issue on the patient’s part, and the new hygienist needs help with instrumentation, the only thing to really do is sit with her and work on it. She could also brush up on her skills by watching YouTube videos on instrumentation or even going to workshops on instrumentation (like at a dental conference). Hands-on is obviously a better option. I know this requires extra work on your part, but being a seasoned hygienist, showing her where to improve could be a positive influence on her. (Hopefully anyway, some people are not open to criticism and they are usually the people who get defensive when they know they are doing sub-par work.)
However, before sitting down with the hygienist, make sure the doctors talk to her about it. This will avoid a potentially awkward situation where the other hygienist feels you are telling her what to do.
Also, I dislike even saying this, but the doctors may want to check her work when they are doing a hygiene exam so patients don’t have to come back and re-treat. It would help her learn where she needs to focus, but could also be a bit degrading in front of a patient. So that’s a double-edged sword. I only say it because not providing quality care that ends up needing to be redone is not only a disservice to a patient, but the time taken to retreat will effect the office’s bottom line. Patients could be lost over this as well.
This is a tough one because ultimately you care for all the patients, but only have control over the treatment you provide. I wish you the best of luck!

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