The importance of a Treatment Coordinator understanding the dentist personality and clinical skillset
To be a successful TCO you need to have clinical knowledge, great listening and relationship building skills.
You need to show patients that you work well as a team and are genuine when you discuss the dentist that you are recommending or that they have seen.
Lastly, you need to know that they are a great clinician!
Recently a practice recruited a new TCO. The induction for this TCO is planned for 6 months.
Stage one: Nurse for 3 months full time with the 3 dentists she is going to be a TCO for.
Stage two: Begin training in the first appointment type that she will be supporting. For this practice, it is supporting the dentists with treatment planning.
Stage three: Begin training in the second appointment type that she will be supporting. For this practice, it is supporting the dentists with options meetings.
This is a huge amount for the TCO to undertake in the first 6 months. I would like to explain why I have recommended the induction take place in this way:
Patients can tell if you are being genuine. Therefore, if a TCO is stating the dentist is great how can they say that with conviction if they have not nursed with them and been ‘wowed’ by their skills? Yes, you can relate to results patients have experienced and feedback received, but it is far better and more impressive to be able to say that you have worked alongside them as a dental nurse, and can describe nuances such as the way that would build up and layer the composite, and witnessed first-hand how if the translucency on the tip isn’t exactly how they would like it to be in comparison to the other teeth they will 100% not stop until it is perfect.
Stating that a dentist is ‘kind’ ‘nice’ ‘friendly’ is not enough. TCOs are great at building relationships so they will have so much information about that dentist that they will be able to connect them with the patient before the patient has already met them. Examples are children and similarity in ages, dentist’s sports and hobbies. Team sports are always popular with male patients.
A few examples:
If I know my dentist’s football team, I would be actively looking to find out what happened in the recent matches – this would allow me to drop this information into the conversation quite naturally.
Stating ‘they also play golf” is not enough. You need to know when, how often, which course and their handicap. Are they a bandit?!
If you are lucky enough to have more than one dentist providing a treatment that the patient wishes to have TCOs can personality profile both the dentist and patient and determine who is the best match for the patient.
When I am working with practices and providing DISC personality profiling training to support them, we will always discuss if there is a type a dentist prefers not to see. TCOs will get on with all walks of life (this is why they are a TCO) but there are personalities that some dentists do not want to deal with:
- The dominant can make them uneasy
- The influencer can be too talkative and this can frustrate some dentists
- The steady patient may require a full social update from the dentist about their family and then talk about theirs.
- The conscientious type will ask lots of questions – some dentists love this but the dominant type dentist does not!
Likewise, the dominant patient needs to be seen on time so ideally seeing another dominant clinician will work well as those dentists will always run to time – it is a strong trait of theirs.
For treatment coordination to be a world-class experience then world-class dental nursing is the way forward, in my opinion, as only then can a TCO really talk about the dentists in an individual and genuine way.