Connections

Hello Drs,

How are you doing?

There is no question that this new normal is very unsettling indeed.

While waiting for our morning coffee this week, a new ritual that is giving us structure to each day, we were struck by how eager ‘strangers’ are to say hello, connect & ask about our well being.

It seems that anywhere we find ourselves there is a tangible need to connect & feel connected to the world around us.

This connection is the vital ‘glue’ that will help us successfully navigate the next few weeks & months.


This week we will explore:

- Connection

- Your Leadership

- Your Fears

- What a post COVID19 practice looks like

- Checklist

I know that we have said it before but making a real effort to connect regularly with your team and patients is critical.

List out all the ways you can keep connected with your team & patients:

- Communicate & update your team on what is happening with your practice. Seek feedback, ideas & input from your team about strategies you are thinking about. Involvement of your team will always ensure you have full participation & ownership of any actions you want to take now & in the future.

- Maybe start a Practice WhatsApp group to chat as a team, share thoughts, ideas etc

- Or schedule a Zoom chat together.

- You and your team members need to share all the ‘ups & downs’ right now. The more you keep communicating the stronger the ‘bond’ when you all return to the practice.

- Types of communication you can meaningfully have with your patients such as text messages; emails; mail outs (I know very old - fashioned but we all have lots of time on our hands).

- However you communicate with your patients, make it personal so that you strengthen the connection that you have with each person.

Then map out a schedule:

- Each week - when will you communicate with your team & patients – days & times

- Plan for any Memes; Email formats that you will use

- Canva.com, if you are not familiar with this online graphic design website, is the easiest way to produce very professional communication visuals. The first month is free & then it is $17.99 per month. Trust us this really is simple & makes everything you send out look polished & cohesive.

Always:

- Combine some factual information you want to communicate with something positive every time. No one needs more ‘doom & gloom’ right now.

Your Leadership

Is your key success strategy.

Take control and communicate that you are in charge at every opportunity.

The critical component of your leadership approach is that it must be genuinely motivated. Please don’t try to ‘sell’ anything now or make connections that are not coming from a place of real concern & ‘heart’.

There is no question that people have a an excellent ‘bull shit’ monitor to quickly filter out the ‘real’ from the ‘fake’ emotions.

What we all want to ‘feel’ is that you truly care about my wellbeing, are looking to the local community to assist in anyway that you can & then backing this up with actions that others can observe.

Actions speak louder than words and this has never been more true.

How can you support your local community?

If you are doing anything that you would like to share please let us know at [email protected]

Your Fears

Your fears right now are very real.

The challenge that we all have is will we allow our fears to control & overwhelm us or can we harness these fears into something positive?

Fear is a natural response of our nervous system. It was built into us for survival.

It is a neuro physical response to a perceived threat. Fear activates a ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response.

The first step is to identify your fears:

- Write them all down in as much detail as possible. Promise that time spent on this as soon as possible is time well spent.

- Describe your fears. What do they look like exactly; how do they make you feel?

- What will happen if you allow your fears to take over & be your future?

- Read what you have written out loud to yourself, feel every emotion associated with each fear.

- Don’t make any judgements, what you are expressing is real for you.

The second step is to manage your fears:

- For each fear that you wrote down, now list out every action that you can take to manage and work through the fear.

- Exactly what can you do, no one else, just you, to ensure that each of your fears is not manifested with your anxiety and inaction.

The third step is to imagine your future:

- In lots of detail, describe exactly what your future looks like; how will your practice function; what strategies will you implement now to ensue that your future is a positive one?

It really is within your control once you can identify what your fears are to then step by step ‘unpack’ and then ‘repackage’ each fear in new, fresh & positive terms.

We are here for you, to support this journey in the most unsettling time anyone of us has ever had to navigate. So please don’t be a stranger, ask questions, share your fears & ways that you will not allow them to consume you.

What a post Covid19 practice looks like?

Once we can provide a full range of dental treatment services again, the way we provide these services will need to change.

Nothing will go back to exactly the way it was.

We need to think about:

- Triage of patients on the phone

- The entry process for patients into your practice

- Your waiting room set up to allow for continued social distancing

- What can you provide for patients in the waiting room instead of magazines which are no longer a ‘healthy’ option

- Receptionist protection – do they wear scrubs instead of an office type outfit & does this get washed in the practice plus masks & protective glasses

- Do you need to install a laundry facility in the practice – washer & dryer so that all team uniforms can be laundered on the premises

- How many patients can the practice safely treat at any one time

- How do you safely work with hygienists/therapists’

- How do you provide for extra patient hand washing or sanitizing

- Education for patients about how you are keeping them safe now & ongoing

- What does your team cleaning schedule look like to provide an even higher standard of cleanliness in every part of the practice

- How do you access P2 masks in the future

- What does your post Covid - 19 staff room & or kitchen facilities look like, how will this area need to be modified

- How do your staff change areas need to be updated to accommodate social distancing & hygiene factors

We could go on and on………………….. Huge project that is best tackled now in the downtime rather than when you are ready to reopen.

There are just so may questions and issues to address.

This would be a brilliant team exercise to work on together because you will all think about different parts of the practice and as a united group will come up with a comprehensive plan to move forward with.

Then list out what you can start changing & implementing now. Why wait?

Once you have formulated a plan, this is information that you can communicate to your patients & then once implemented again gives you another opportunity to keep your patients updated with your practice.

Checklist

Just checking that you have done these vital things to help take control & find positives.

We so need the positives to stop the ‘dark’ & negative voices that keep running around in our heads.

- Accountant

Cash flow; budgets; tax planning & concessions; BAS

- Fair Work Australia

Clarify staffing decisions – terminate or stand down or re - negotiate hours

What are the implications for each option

What best meets your needs now & in the future

Communicate with your staff individually

- ATO

Options available for you, your practice & business structure

- Job keeper program or Job Seeker Program

Register if applicable to you for Job Keeper or if staff have been terminated then direct them to Job Seeker program

Communicate with your staff individually

- Banks

Re loans

- Landlord

Re rental reduction strategy for the next 3 to 6 months

- Leasing

Re negotiate

- Labs

Discuss payment terms

- Supply companies

Agreement on payment terms

- Patient communication

Regular updates to you patients so that they know what is happening; how you can care for them if an emergency arises or they have any questions

We are really enjoying receiving your questions and sharing your experiences so please don’t hesitate to reach out via our email [email protected]

In this together

Kind Regards Jon and Erica

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