Dental Drama: Is a Lifetime Movie Playing Out in Your Office?

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I don’t know about you, but I only like drama on a stage, TV, in a movie, or in a book. Many of us work primarily in an office with women, and it can be a challenge with all that estrogen flowing. We spend more time with our co-workers than we do our own families. So how do we handle the melodramatic office?

Stay focused on your job, focus on your patients, and what it takes to do your job best. To ease the stress of the day, I always set up my trays with the necessary instruments and supplies I need for the morning and then again before my afternoon patients. I look at the schedule and prepare for the day ahead. These minor things alleviate unnecessary stress if I am running behind and allow me to focus on my patient care and education. I also stretch, take deep breathes, and pray to keep my attitude positive.

Things can get hectic at times in the dental office. Especially if treatment takes longer, you run behind, and patients get upset about having to wait. Instead of becoming bitter and negative, make a conscious choice to stay positive. Apologize to patients, however, take your time and still do a thorough job. If you have a little downtime and notice others are running behind, see how you can ease their burden. Its how one reacts that can set the tone for the day. We have the power to control our emotions and actions.

Be a team player, even when others aren’t pulling their weight. Remember you work for your dentist, not others. For example, you see that the instruments are piling up in the ultrasonic, but they are not all yours. Others autoclave their instruments but leave yours. Take the initiative, place all of them in bags and place in the autoclave, it won’t take too much more time and others will take notice.

If at all possible, leave your personal problems home. The old saying is true, smile and the world smiles with you. You will have bad days, fake it if you have to, a smile is contagious. Be careful with whom and what you share. Talking with therapists, counselors, pastors, or your best friend outside of work may be best.

Plan social activities outside the workplace like birthday or holiday celebrations to create a social opportunity and fun. People work better together when they feel appreciated. Taking a social break outside the office reduces tension and getting to know your co-workers as “people” make work relationships more positive. Avoid conversation subjects that could lead to emotional confrontation. Stay positive and engage in positive conversation. Change the subject or leave the conversation when you hear gossip.

Treat all co-workers equally. Don’t gossip or complain about work or other co-workers with those you work with. This is not only hurtful but quite often backfires and causes more trouble and conflict. Be a solution to problems, not the problem. Don’t stir the pot. If you truly need to vent, do it outside of work and with someone you can trust that does not work with you. Compliment a coworker, it not only makes one feel good but sets the tone for a positive workplace.

Step away and take a break from stressors and don’t engage in conversation before thinking and taking actions you could regret. Communicate in a positive tone if you have to confront conflict. Negativity produces more negativity, so stay positive at all times. Respond, don’t react.

At the end of the day, be true to who you are. Have integrity. Don’t compromise your morals or values to fit in. Be yourself. You are the start of positive changes that could result in a drama-free work environment!

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