I received a phone call recently that went like this:
“Andrea! My gosh – it has been so long! This is Aimee! Remember me, from college?”
“You are kidding me! Aimee? I can’t believe it! How are you?”
“I know this is short notice, but my husband and I are in town and I heard you are living in Austin now. I would love to see you – can we swing by for a quick visit? We only have a day in town, but maybe we can come by for an hour after lunch to get caught up?!”
“Of course! I would love to see you – where are you? Oh, that’s only an hour from here! I will text you my address, just swing by. I can’t wait to see you!”
And then the panic ensues.
Has this ever happened to you?
If you said yes, what is the next thing that happens in your house?
You will find me dashing madly around the house, throwing anything and everything that is out of place into a spare box or a basket, shoving that into a closet, quickly running the vacuum over the worst spots on the living room rug, throwing dirty dishes in with the clean ones in the dishwasher (oh why didn’t I empty it earlier?), spot cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, and at the last second, throwing on a clean outfit and some makeup just as the doorbell rings.
I know that I don’t live in a dirty home, but my workdays and travel schedule often find me neglecting some of the daily and weekly chores. I get comfortable and stop seeing the clutter until one day, I can’t stand it anymore – or worse, I get that phone call above!
There was time in my life when I worked in a practice, serving our patient family. My career has evolved and over the last 10 years, I have found myself in hundreds of practices and I have seen the entire span of what constitutes ‘clean, organized and clutter free’ to teams and owners. The fact is, humans naturally get used to their daily surroundings and the things that might normally bother them, simply don’t.
So, what’s the big deal?
In this article from American Nurse Today, the author hypothesizes hospital patients are more comfortable in a tidy room. Now, project this to the patient comfort in a dental practice – for many of our friends, this is a far more stressful situation. When we neglect to see the clutter or dusty spots in the practice because we are in it every day, we create an environment that is less comfortable for the patients.
Here’s the deal: when it comes to your dental practice, company is coming every single day.
I encourage you to walk through your practice on an annual basis, put on your ‘patient eyes’ and be honest about what you see. Do this as a team exercise and involve them in the brainstorming session to improve the environment in which you care for your patients.
You will be amazed at the powerful effect this has on team, as well as the patient family. If you would like a full outline of how to conduct this team exercise, request my free eBook “If These Walls Could Talk” and I will deliver it directly to your inbox!