Dr. Sabrina Mancini has always had a passion for dentistry. As a periodontist in Montreal, Canada, she has been in practice for 22 years, and has owned her own practice for the last ten. This passion for dentistry must be continuously renewed and nurtured through personal and professional growth.
We have seen firsthand her dedication to the profession, as she has become an exemplar of the Spear philosophy in many ways—as a client, as the owner of a thriving and growing practice, as a valued contributor to high-level advisory boards, and now as a guest speaker.
We spoke recently with Dr. Mancini about some of the specifics of how she has maintained her growth trajectory: the key philosophies and tools she embraces, how she develops relationships with referrers, the benefits of virtual learning, how she emerged from the pandemic lockdowns stronger than ever, and why she remains excited about the prospect of change.
Making Time for Management and Leadership Priorities
Dr. Mancini: “A big thing for our practice that has come out of our time working with Spear has been refining our scheduling procedures and designing a template that ensures all the priorities are met. And I don't just mean priorities in terms of getting the right cases in the schedule consistently, although that is certainly a huge thing, but also making time for management and leadership priorities—things like team meetings, and working on relationship strategies with referrers, and developing a vision and goals for the practice. That's something that I think a lot of practice leaders overlook because often we are so busy reacting and just keeping up with the schedule on a day by day basis. No matter how busy you get, you need to reserve time to work on the things that will help you grow as a clinician, and as a team and a practice. You need to factor in time to plan and to innovate.”
The Advantages of Online Education
Dr. Mancini: “I think one of the interesting things to come out of the pandemic was to see how virtual workshops and online study club sessions could work, and I was glad to see how Spear really took the lead early on when it came to shifting to virtual. We're still looking forward to attending more in-person workshops, of course—my study club and I are going to be on campus later this year—but I think a lot of clinicians are realizing they enjoy the flexibility of being able to go online too.
Personally, I have attended a number of virtual courses, and I've also delivered virtual lectures for Spear. And I can really see how this method of teaching and learning is here to stay. I also found that having the virtual option has helped improve participation with my study club, because members can now log on to meetings from home, or from their office if they've had a long day, whereas in the past they may have had to skip the meeting. We've kind of moved to a hybrid model now—we still meet in person, but there is always the option of attending virtually too, for those who need that flexibility.”
Driving Referral Relationships with My Professional Relationship Director (PRD)
Dr. Mancini: “This is something that I would 1000% recommend to any specialist. In fact, I just had one of my study club doctors send a message to Nora [Dr. Mancini's PRD], thanking her for everything she does. She is as close to these doctors as I am, and they all know they have easy access to the practice through her. They all trust her, they know they can always get a response from her, and that she is always available to help them. That kind of mutual trust in a referral relationship is invaluable. And from my perspective, just knowing I have someone to consult with on these important relationships—someone I can trust to keep me up to date and to take the lead with executing on our plans for each referrer—puts my mind at ease. I couldn't imagine doing this without her.”
My Study Club and the Pandemic
Dr. Mancini: “We had several lockdowns here in Quebec and naturally that created challenges. But overall, we have not suffered in terms of the number of patients and the quality of cases we're seeing now. And I attribute a lot of that to the foundation we had in place with our study club members going into the pandemic. We had done the work of growing and nurturing these relationships and that has helped us come out of the pandemic stronger than ever. I am just glad we had put in that work, and I am thankful to have this important inner community of referrers to count on.”
Attending Workshops and Events with My Study Club
Dr. Mancini: “It's a terrific bonding experience, just to be away from our practices together and learning together. Each time we come back I notice that the experience elevates the way we interact as an interdisciplinary team because we are growing our knowledge together and shaping a clinical philosophy together, so we are on the same page when we communicate about cases.”
How to Continue to Grow Through Challenging Times
Dr. Mancini: “I think the importance of these things we have talked about have really hit home for me over these last couple of years. Things like the discipline of having a schedule that ensures time for growth-related activities, and putting the time and effort into developing referral relationships through the study club, and having a dedicated PRD to help nurture those relationships. These things ended up making all the difference when things got challenging. Even when our practices were closed during lockdown, we still met as a study club and compared notes about the new safety measures we were going to have to implement and how to go about doing that. Those relationships endured and, in many cases, even became stronger.
And in the end, we came out of it all still growing. I met recently with our accountant, and in terms of revenue and profitability, we have had a substantial increase over the last several months compared with last year, so the improvements keep coming, year over year.”
A Passion for Dentistry and What's Coming Next
Dr. Mancini: “I think it all comes down to focusing on what matters in the broader picture —that's something that has been continually reinforced during my time with Spear. As practitioners, it's so easy to get immersed in the daily details of practice life as we get busy that we can forget about what it was that got us busy—the things that made us successful in the first place. It's easy to get complacent after a while when you reach a certain level of success and think you have made it, that you are here now. But the reality is, the world is constantly changing—dentistry is changing, your referrers are changing, patients' needs are changing—and if you don't keep that passion going for what's next, it's easy to get stuck in the past. That's what I love about working with Spear and with my colleagues in the study club: there is always that focus on the future, and that keeps things exciting.“
Aimee Fletcher, M.A.Ed., is a member of Spear Resident Faculty.