The power of optimism

The power of optimism: How to change the tide in your practice

Date: July 2022

Author: Mandy Dennis, RDH

Have you ever sat back and thought about how your attitude affects other people in your office? This isn’t asking if you are the person who brings cookies and treats to the office, hoping that it will put people in a good mood. Hygienists are an integral part of the dental office. Our smile brings comfort not only to our patients, but also to our team. Having a great attitude can make a difference every day, to every person in the practice.

It’s Who We Are

The American Dental Education Association published an article containing information on common traits found in dental hygienists. The list detailed areas such as being patient and understanding, detail oriented, passionate, and being positive. A positive attitude goes a long way and is recognizable in not only our smile and expressions, but also in our touch and how we care. People can make decisions to stay with you or choose another practice based on how they were made to feel. Having a positive tone and overall optimism can make all the difference.

Making the Choice to Be Happy

Patients recognize and appreciate good teamwork and a happy, collaborative team. Isn’t that what we want? To be happy at work and for our patients to want to return to our office to see us?

Choosing to have a good attitude can rub off in all aspects of what we do. The positive energy we choose to have also tends to be contagious and create an atmosphere where others also have a great attitude. This holds true for people you work with. Working with people who are happy creates positive energy, and optimism that’s contagious. By creating a happy environment, the whole team can generate great energy together. In turn, this can lead to lower turnover and higher productivity.

Taking the Lead

Do you start the day with a positive outlook? How does your office look at potential obstacles in the schedule? You can take the lead in creating a positive tone and outlook first thing in the morning during a morning huddle and by being optimistic throughout the day. We are able to show the rest of our team how to be positive and what it takes to bring professional happiness into the practice. By having discussions and being optimistic, we can better meet challenges that occur that day with a positive attitude - also turning the tide on a potentially negative situation. That helps to reduce stress and can provide moments of relief as opposed to aggravation and negativity. When moments of conflict do occur, and they will, it’s important to remember the start of the day and stay optimistic. Each day is a blank slate, not an occasion for carrying over problems throughout the day or from one day to the next. It's a great way to live life and to be happy at work.

Taking the lead means not only being the person who helps to lift the team’s morale, it includes giving the same opportunity to other team members. You can discuss who will be the positive change agent on a given day, fostering optimism and helping to ensure the day goes smoothly. Have a debrief moment at the end of the day before everyone goes home, to discuss the areas where there were challenges and how you overcame them together.

Being the Change

Dental hygienists are an integral part of patient care. The positive energy we provide to our patients can help them accept treatment and want to return. That same positivity and optimism has a great impact on your fellow team members. Choosing to be optimistic is good for your patients, fellow team members, your office, and for you!

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