An amazing thing about being a dental hygienist is the flexibility of our work schedule. Hygienists can choose the days and times to work. We can even choose where. Temporarily employed dental hygienists can do just that − work on our own terms.
Before deciding to temp, though, here are a few tips to follow that can ensure you have a successful career as a temp or even just for the day.
1) Research the Office Beforehand
The decision may be temping through a temporary staffing agency or following up on the opportunity to directly connect with an office. Regardless, you should find out as much information about the office beforehand. Visit the office’s website or social media accounts and learn what you can about the office’s environment.
Physically visit the office before you are scheduled to work. By visiting the office, you can find out plenty of information, such as the time needed to travel to and from the office, how the office − especially the operatory where you would work − is set up, the office’s policy regarding introductions and disclosing where the office’s regular dental hygienist is, and the office’s comradery.
2) Find Out About the Office’s Break Policy
Some offices may or may not have lunch breaks or “downtime” scheduled into the day. Start the day with a well-balanced meal.
Pack your own refillable water bottle, portable healthy lunch, and snacks. Consider purchasing a mini food warmer. With a mini food warmer, you can plug it into any outlet 30 minutes to an hour before it is time to eat.
3) Travel with Your Supplies
You know the old adage, “Better safe than sorry.” Bring what you need to ensure your day goes smoothly. Offices will already have the standard personal protective equipment.
Think about some of the supplies that satisfy your requirements for an excellent work site. This can include supplies such loupes, lab jacket, instruments, gloves in your size (some offices may not have XS or XL gloves), patient aids, etc. Bringing your own supplies guarantees your day goes well and shows the employer (and the office) you are more than capable of conquering the day.
4) Ask Questions in Advance
Find out everything you need to know before you go and ask questions about the things you do not know. Find out how many hours you are scheduled to work and how many patients you are required to see.
Ask about the pay rate, the amount of time given for patient treatment, set up and breakdown procedures, sterilization methods, what is the office’s policy concerning patient cancellations, radiograph policies, dental software used, arrival time, end of day procedures, etc. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to tackle the day.
5) Always be Professional
Professionalism goes a long way, just like courtesy. Being the ever consummate professional will warrant a callback. Employers like dental hygienists who are fast and sure. But ultimately, they love hygienists who are professional, efficient, and respectable.
Show up on time, offer to help wherever you can, introduce yourself to the patients, and do it all with a smile. During the office’s downtime, when the schedule is light, offer to do any sterilizing, filing, recall phone calls, etc.
6) Leave Your Information
If you are assigned an office through a temp agency, be sure you know the rules of engagement when it comes to leaving your contact information with the office. If you are not temping through an agency, leave the office your contact information, as well as your availability. This will allow them to contact you whenever they are in need of a temp.
Being a temporary hygienist allows you great flexibility with your schedule. Following these easy six steps makes you stand out above the rest and will ensure that any office will ask for you to return. Wow them with your preparedness, eagerness, professionalism, and efficiency!