Monthly Archives: October 2015

15 Year Employment Gap … Don’t Let FEAR Hold You Back!

“Dear Kim,

I have a friend who practiced as a pediatric dentist for more than a decade but quit after she had her last two children. Now that her kids are in their teens, she wants to go back to work. Since it’s been about 15 years since she’s practiced, she’s so doubtful she’ll be able to find employment that she’s too afraid to even try. She has kept her state dental license and controlled substance license active the entire time she’s been out of practice, and she does she have any adverse actions or anything that would be considered a negative in her employment history.

Is it realistic that she can find work? Will she need someone to proctor her, or are there programs in which she can enroll to prepare for getting back into the profession? Could your agency help in this type situation? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I know she would apply if she knew there were possibilities out there. I’m hoping to give her some confidence in going back to practicing dentistry, and I think finding resources to help her get back into practice-ready mode would be the first step.

Thank you kindly,


Hi Alice,

While I believe it’s realistic that she will find work, I think it will take time and effort. Finding employment and the road to getting there should now become her full time job. She will need to overcome her doubt and fear, or the doubt and fear will start to hold her back.


Here are a few tips:

Volunteer – This may be the easiest, cheapest and most fulfilling way to get her abilities up to par, gain confidence and get back on the bike, so to speak. She needs to network in her local dental community and offer her services or be part of a volunteer program, targeting the skills she would like to regain. There are no rules about volunteering when it comes to gaining confidence and experience, so she can be creative. The local dental society should have a volunteer list and know of programs seeking volunteers. If she has the desire to step out of the gate quickly, dental mission trips are also a great way to jump back in to rekindle her passion.

Network – Attend dental meetings, study clubs and conferences. She will need to be up-to-date in the latest happenings and trends in the industry. She needs to make professional connections with dental lab owners, dental sales reps, etc. They know who’s hiring! Networking is the most effective and efficient way to land a job. You’ll be surprised, as she will probably be able to connect with someone who has been where she is now and can relate to her situation while offering additional assistance. Networking on social media would be to her advantage.

Get Social – She should create a LinkedIn page with a professional head shot to create her ‘brand’ and market herself to employers through social media.

Research – Hop on the Internet and look at reliable sources in the dental industry. Subscribe to professional journals to learn about the latest research and discoveries in the dental field. Her timely knowledge would be highly impressive to potential employers. Many national corporate dental companies (Heartland, Great Expressions, Coast Dental) hire entry-level dental professionals. She should Google the companies, check their online job boards and post her CV.

Depending on previous years experience, a 15 year gap would often be considered starting over. Working for one of the aforementioned companies might be a great option for her to get her foot back in the door. Is she willing to relocate for employment? Often, you need to go where the work is. Something for her to think about. I’m glad you reached out to me, Alice. It’s my pleasure to offer some guidance and tips to help you lead your friend down the path to landing employment. I wish her every success.


P.S. Reminder that she can upload her resume to our dental job board, too. 

A Patient’s Perspective on the Need for Empathy

I recently had a not-so-great experience at the doctor office. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a specialist with some health issues that were concerning, and both the doctor and her staff  made me feel silly for being nervous. There were a few instances where I felt as if I wasn’t being listened to and was being patronized for feeling scared. It was as if the specialist and her staff were lacking empathy.

I have a feeling we all can relate to this. If you’re scared about something, one of the worst things that could happen is to have someone who can actually help (a doctor or nurse or dentist or hygienist) coming across as if she doesn’t care about your concerns. It is so disheartening to be dismissed when looking to a healthcare provider for answers. 

Empathy is something in which everyone could use a good refresher. I know I absolutely need to check myself every once in a while. Kasley Killam from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkley, writes that communication in the doctor’s office is a hot topic right now and added that the quality of physician-patient interactions in care has been declining. “Empathy in a clinical context,” she writes, “is the physician’s ability to understand patients’ emotions, which can facilitate more accurate diagnoses and more caring treatment. But empathy differs from sympathy, or sharing patients’ emotions, which instead can hinder objective diagnoses and effective treatment.”


In his article “Ethics, Empathy, and the Education of Dentists,” David. A Nash writes that empathy is a moral imperative in caring for patients.  “Empathy has been repeatedly affirmed as an imperative for the humane physician in the doctor-patient relationship,” he writes. “Distinguished medical educator Edmund Pellegrino expressed it directly in his Humanism and the Physician: “We must be dedicated to behaviors that reflect sincere concern and care for our patients, a caring that respects the freedom, dignity, and belief system of the individual, and a caring that manifests itself in a sensitive, non-humiliating and empathetic way of helping.’ 

“The cardinal quality of the professional relationship is trust,” he continues. “Professions are professions because of the power differential that exists between them and those seeking their help. Such power, based in the professionals’ knowledge and skills, requires that those seeking their help trust that health professionals will always use the power they possess in their patients’ best interest. To do so requires an empathic disposition. Patients seek the care of a dentist to assist them in gaining the benefits of oral health. Embedded in patients’ behavior is the expectation that they can trust the dentist to always act in doing what is best for their oral health—to always help and never to harm. Empathy on the part of the dentist is a prerequisite for such moral professional behavior. Professional ethics, as well as the golden rule, requires that dentists “treat their patients as they would want to be treated.” Who would want to have less than appropriate treatment provided for them by a health professional from whom they seek care?”

After reading Nash’s explanation for why empathy is necessary in the medical profession, I realize now that the reason I was upset by my recent medical care provider experience is because I don’t feel as if they will do what is best for my health.  Medical care provider-patient relationships are so important, and a good one will keep your patients coming back through your door year after year. Treat others as you would like to be treated is a lesson I think all of us should learn and practice. After dealing with the doctor’s office, I now have a new, fresh perspective on what empathy means. From here on out, I’ll be trying as hard as I can to practice empathy in my every-day interactions, and I encourage everyone—both medical providers and not—to as well.

How’s The Ride at Your Dental Office?

Jack Welch hit it out of the park with this recent blog post on how to tell if you’re working for a really great company. After hundreds of interviews through the years, with my ear tuned to why candidates left their jobs, it did not take me long to come up with a similar list. Sit back and think on these.

  • Is your office busy and successful?
  • Is everyone treated the same?
  • Do you have flexibility with your schedule?
  • Is continuing education a benefit?
  • Are results rewarded?
  • Is action taken based on suggestions by employees?

To attract top talent, you have to stand out and have a culture where top talent thrives! For a small business owner, retaining great employees is the key to success. There is truth to developing a great team. The best team attracts the best team. Success – It’s a ride that you and your people will never want to get off!

To Read More, click this link  to see if you’re working for a great company


Turnover—and we’re not talking pastries!

Let’s face it, turnover is an important topic, and one that many new hires inquire about during the interview process. They may not ask at the first interview, but keep in mind this subject is most likely in the back of their minds. It may be a question they save and then ask one of your employees at a get-to-know-you lunch with your dental office team. As a business owner or hiring manager, how do you answer their question? How would your team members answer?


Do you know your turnover statistics and the real reasons employees leave your practice? The answer you give this candidate—who presented with the skill set you are looking for—could lead to the job offer being declined. This very informative and thought provoking blog post by Suzanne Lucas will give you tips to gather your turnover data, create a report and perhaps alert you to problems before they grow too large. If you are a dental office with just three or four employees, you should look at turnover in a tactical and analytical way. Be informed, make changes where you need to and always be prepared to answer the turnover question with potential new hires.

Getting To The Truth: Jonesboro’s Dentistry for Children Linked to Lymphadenitis Outbreak

On Oct. 7, we posted a CBS article about children contracting Lymphadenitis from Jonesboro, Georgia’s Dentistry for Children to our Facebook page. The article said the bacterial infection, which presented with sores in the mouth and swollen lymph nodes, was attributed to contaminated medical equipment used by the dentistry. Because the information came from a news source, those reading the article took it as truth, and we received heated comments from some of our followers bashing the assistants and blaming the staff for the low-quality standards. 

Kristen Collins, who identifies herself on Facebook as the Dentistry for Children’s lead hygienist, also commented on the thread, saying “The situation was out of the company’s control and was an environmental issue not a OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) related or employee contamination issue. Anyone that is interested in learning the facts is more than welcome to contact the GDPH (Georgia Department of Public Health) and get them. This issue can happen to any dental office that uses the city water. The water issue has been corrected.”


What followed in her post was the official statement from Dentistry for Children: “After more than 30 years of serving Jonesboro families, Dentistry for Children was alarmed to discover that the water in our Jonesboro clinic may have played a role in the recent infection of a small group of our patients. Since it was discovered, we notified and have been working closely with the Georgia Dept. of Public Health. The Department has determined that the bacteria is most commonly found in water, soil and dust, and in rare cases can cause mouth sores and discomfort. To date, neither our internal evaluation nor the evaluation from the Georgia Department of Public Health has found evidence of contamination at the Jonesboro facility. Furthermore, the previous water systems designed and used for dental procedures at this facility meet or exceed the industry standards required for dental offices. In fact, the Georgia Department of Public Health never asked us to close the Jonesboro office. However, as part of our commitment to providing quality service to our patients, we temporarily closed the Jonesboro location to install an enhanced water filtration system to eliminate any potential risks from the water supply. The health of our patients and staff are our most important missions. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know.”

After reading Collins’ comment, we at Dental Temps Professional Services wanted to get to the bottom of this, as accusing a dentistry of causing bacterial infections with contaminated equipment is a pretty serious allegation.

On Friday, I called the Georgia Department of Public Health and spoke with epidemiologist Laura Edison to get some answers. While Edison said the case is still under investigation, she said preliminary data suggests microbes causing Lymphadenitis were found in the water source and added that the same microbes can also be found in dirt or air. Similar outbreaks have been documented in other health care settings, she said, including an allergy clinic where doctors used water to dilute injection medications.  Mycobacteria commonly adhere to water pipes forming a biofilm, but if the biofilm doesn’t break away from the pipe, it might never lead to infection. Water lines from the dental clinic have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing.  

DPH spokesperson Nancy Nydam said Dentistry for Children is cooperating with investigators and has implemented recommended measures to prevent infections, including installing a new water filtration system. 

The cluster of children identified with cervical and/or submandibular lymphadenitis had a history of invasive procedures like deciduous tooth removal or pulpotomy with crown placement, she said. “Mycobacteria are naturally occurring in water and soil and air, but most people don’t have a problem with it,” she said adding that those with open wounds or incision sites are more likely to contract Lymphadenitis as the open areas allow the bacteria to get into the body.

Lymphadenitis could be treated with certain antibiotics or in some cases surgery. “Dentistry for Children has gone back several months to identify patients who received the procedures to be sure they are evaluated and get proper treatment if they have symptoms of Lymphadenitis or oral abscesses,” Nydam said.

In our next post, we’ll talk with Dentistry for Children to see what office employees have done since cases of Lymphadenitis were linked to their practice.