Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Temporary Assistant

Hey all,

Hope you are having a good week. On the last day of my vacation, my assistant texted me. "I broke my ankle. I am in the hospital and I am having surgery." WHAT?!!!!!

I called her; she was not joking. She broke her ankle falling down her stairs. The doctor still hadn't come in to tell her if she was going to need surgery, yet but she assured me that she will try to be in on Wednesday. So my job was to get a substitute for only one day.

I texted every assistant that I liked and asked them if they are presently working, and they all are. I asked them all if they had any leads; I got two. The first woman I called could help me on Tuesday but had a part-time gig Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At least I had coverage for tomorrow.

Then my assistant called and told me that she is going to need surgery and this may put her Wednesday return date in jeopardy. Turns out, she didn't even have the surgery until Wednesday, and then they told her to stay off of it for 2 weeks.

I began to panic. See, with the present economy and the fact that my dad is basically two days a week, we don't really need a lot of people around here. I have one assistant on Tuesday and Wednesday and two assistants on Thursday and Friday. If my dad is slow, his assistant will be my backup on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I haven't needed anyone. My dad has had a windfall lately and his schedule is jammed. Not only do I need someone, but the other assistant can't help at all.

The Tuesday assistant was great. She is easy to work with, very knowledgeable, was able to handle my joking. I liked her, but she is really not available. I called the local dental society and asked if they have a list of substitute dental assistants. They do. I looked at it and found the one that lives closest to the office. When I called her, she was thrilled to "have the opportunity."

I told her that I would probably need someone for a couple of weeks. We talked about our hours of operation and about meeting here a half an hour early so she could get acquainted with the office. I was so impressed with her phone skills that I even told her that we were looking for someone to help up front if everything worked out. I told her I would see her tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. I was thrilled. I called the dental society and thanked them for getting me someone in a pinch.

I arrived at 6:30 the next morning, and I was the only one in the parking lot. I remembered her saying something about dropping her kids off at the sitter, so maybe there was some issue there. By 7 a.m., I was getting worried: I have a full day scheduled and no assistant. I called her cell phone, but there was no answer. At 7:10 a.m., our first patient was there but my new awesome assistant was not. I called her again, and again, no answer.

We started canceling patients. We had two doctors and only one assistant. We moved all the "look sees" and "quick checks." We kept the meat of the schedule and called everyone else.

I was so mad, my head was about to explode. At 9 a.m., when the dental society opened, I wrote an email (I thought I might embarrass myself if I called by full on cussing out the staffing employee). I spent the day looking for someone for the next week. Like my days aren't busy enough with dentistry to have to deal with this.

I found someone, and she was going to start on Monday. I asked if she wanted to come and see the place before Monday (I thought if she came then it would indicate that she was serious). We agreed that she would work and she did come and hang out here for a couple of hours to see how we roll.

She started yesterday. She is nice, pleasant. Things are great. I can't complain. I can't complain that she doesn't know how to assist on root canals or that she hasn't made a temp in a bunch of years because her last dentist made them himself. I can't complain that she has never taken a digital x-ray or that she doesn't know our software.

Let’s look on the bright side. I now know where everything is in all the drawers, how to take an x-ray, and that I can still make a mean temporary. I now know all the steps to everything and why we do things this way (because I have been explaining it all day). I am happy this sub is here. She has a great attitude and is a good assistant. But it makes the week really hard all around.

Every patient asked about Chris. "Where is Chris?" "What did you do with Chris?" "Is Chris on vacation?" Chris, Chris, Chris, all day long. Chris, Chris, Chris. Don't people know that I am the owner? Don't people know that I am the name on the sign? I am sure that if I was out and Chris were here, they wouldn't even miss me this much.

I hate to say it, but I think I miss Chris too.

Hope you are not taking your assistant for granted.

See you Friday,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Know what you mean. Lost my young assistant recently as he has started a university degree - my patients are shattered. No, he is not doing dentistry, but if he were, I think I'd lose all my patients!


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