When you finish your college or university degree, you are willing and motivated to work work work! This is true for any degree. Students don’t want to sit around, they want to work in their field and make money. Student loads, OSAP, whatever the case may be…money doesn’t grow on trees.
Dental hygienists aren’t any less so. A pro about the profession though? Dental hygienists can easily temp at other offices which may not be the case for many occupations. Can accountants temp at other practices? Probably not. Even dental assistants can’t really do that, you either work in an office or you don’t.
Some hygienists don’t see temping as a good thing - new offices all the time, new patients, new trays, new office policies, new dentists to deal with, and not to mention constantly having those ‘butterflies’ when working in a new place for the first time. Temps tell me you get used to it but I'm sure it takes time for everyone.
Take those cons above though. Temp hygienists who temp all the time turn those cons into pros! They love seeing new patients, new offices and things always being different. They feel their schedule is more flexible, because they may be taking over vacations for a few hygienists and then they may have a few weeks off. Even if an office calls you, do you have to say yes? No. You could tell them you have plans. If you work in an office, your hours are your hours. Temp hygienists can be more flexible.
We see temps come and go in our office all the time. With 6 dentists at any given time, we need a lot of hygienists! Someone calls in sick? We call a temp. Someone taking vacation or away having surgery? We need a temp.
I have put together a list though with what makes a good temp and what makes a GREAT one:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions - if you don’t know something, ask! We may have forgotten to show you where the x-ray room for development is for example, but that doesn’t mean you purposely don’t take x-rays on your patients if they were prescribed!
2. Help out - do you have an opening or no show? Take this time to help someone who may need it! Bring their patient back, wipe their room, take their trays, help an assistant, anything you can do. Sitting in your operatory texting will ensure you won’t get a call back :).
3. Know your role - will you be booking appointments? Will you be posting the treatment for the day? Every office is different. In my office we don’t expect temps to post or book but we do expect them to call their patient if they don’t show up. Also find out if you will be cleaning your own trays or if an assistant is responsible for that.
4. Dentists - know who they are in the office, who you go to when you need a check, how to let them know you need a check (do you tell them beforehand, do you leave a note in their room, does the assistant let them know?), and talk to them! When they come into the room for a check, talk to them about the patients gingival condition. Did they have a lot of plaque, or very little? I also leave the gloves out for the dentist and pass them the explorer/mirror if the opportunity presents itself :). Sitting there waiting is just awkward without saying anything.
5. Payment - know how the office pays you. Cheque or cash? Make sure to collect when you leave. Some offices can set up an automatic payroll into your bank if you temp at the same place often.
I probably should write a book because there is A LOT more to go through but these are the basics. Have you joined the facebook group yet? Join here, and feel free to ask questions if you have them! Good luck!
My name is Andrea Twarowski, owner and operator of Dentalelle Tutoring.