Thursday, February 4, 2016

An Ode to Those Who Try to Do it All

I’m convinced I’ll never change.

When it comes to trying to do it all in my practice, I just can’t seem to stop putting forth so much effort. In my heart, my desire is to have patients — new and old — experience something they never thought they could in a trip to the dentist. I’d guess that 80 percent of my new patients have had bad experiences at an office somewhere along the way and, thus, have negative expectations as it pertains to their overall dentistry experience. I aim to reroute and exceed those expectations.

I provide my patients with a positive experience when it comes to check-ins, X-rays, cleanings, initial consultations, treatment presentations, and cosmetic procedures. Even with extractions and implants, I want people to walk away in complete bewilderment of the comfort and ease of their visit.

With that comes an extreme pressure to get all the little things done right. I have monthly meetings with my staff members at our three offices, and I cover a lot in these meetings. Someone said it best once: Most can do 95 percent well, but it’s those who do the remaining 5 percent who really “wow” people. This is a loose translation (or maybe I completely made it up), but you get the picture. I have all the confidence in the world that my team handles the majority of the hourly/daily routines well, but my eyes are glued to the 5 percent. It’s like my brain only works in the crevices.

I’m sure others, and maybe rightfully so, are fixed on the 95 percent. I can’t fault anyone for that. That’s a huge chunk of “getting it right,” but it’s just not where my days are made or broken. Everything from proper scheduling, handoffs between staff members, the congruency of communication before and after these handoffs, and preparedness for each case individually — not just in a systematic approach — are all things I put a lot of time and energy into doing well. I hope my staff and patients get a sense that this is what I’m after when I discuss in detail my requests and expectations.

Sometimes it just seems easier to walk into Operatory 1, anesthetize tooth No. 3 with a carpule of septocaine, start drilling, and then, 10 minutes later, say: “See you in six months, Mr. Jones.” To me, that’s the 95 percent. To those who try to do it all, cheers! I know how hard you work for it, and you know what? I hope we never change.

Donald Murry III, DMD

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