dental associatesPreviously, I wrote about how it is the responsibility of the senior dentist to give a new associate every opportunity to flourish when that new person comes aboard in the practice. Here are three simple things the established dentist can do to fast track that process:

1. Establish expectations for reporting: The new dentist needs to be able to hit the ground running when it comes to participating in the morning huddle meetings where you preview the day’s cases. That means for the first six months or so, you both need to be in early to prepare notes, and you don’t leave at the end of the day until all case documentation is complete. You should also have a structure for reporting to each other regularly such as meeting once a month for four hours, once a quarter for a daylong review, and at least once a year going to a workshop together. When you and your new associate get aligned like this on how to create value in the practice, that’s when real acceleration happens. 

. Introduce them to your specialist partners: Collaboration with the greater clinical community is vital, too. Be sure your new associate creates successful relationships with the specialists you refer to. It’s up to you to make the introductions and get the new dentist in your practice deeply involved in the interdisciplinary community that serves your practice’s patients. If there is a multi-disciplinary study group in the area, have them join that too. We are always recommending to specialists who lead our Spear Study Clubs that they embrace new dentists in the community. It’s a great way to get a professional relationship going on a deep, meaningful level right from the start.

3. Schedule regular case reviews and case plan collaborations: Here’s where we get to the heart of what it means to be a senior dentist in a practice. This is where you get to really be involved as a mentor by reviewing comprehensive cases together, sharing the benefits of your clinical experience and your unique patient knowledge. It’s all about instilling a partnership mindset. Try scheduling half a day each week where you and the new dentist work together as a team reviewing the particulars of each significant case, collaborating on everything from records to diagnosis, to treatment planning and clinical delivery.  When you bring a new dentist into the practice you are not just bringing in another pair of hands, you are welcoming a new person to become a part of your practice’s culture. Getting them to buy into that culture with their heart, mind and soul is your duty as a leader.