Professionalism between Practitioners

Dental Industry

In order for a dental practice with more than one practicing dentist to be successful, all practitioners must be respectful of one another at all times. In an office with multiple dentists practicing they more than likely came from different educational, cultural and living environments. Although, there may be differences of opinion on certain treatment plans - it is the professional responsibility of each dentist to respectfully honor the treating physician’s choice of treatment, unless it compromises the patient’s health.

What is Professionalism & How Does it Manifest Itself in the Workplace

Professionalism is “the conduct, aims or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or professional person.” But, what does that really mean and how to do you put it all together? What does it look like? There are several different elements that all together comprise what it means to act professionally. 

A professional is expected to maintain and grow in knowledge of their field of practice. Associate dentists must actively seek to maintain their current knowledge base as well as keep up to date on any changes and/or advancements. This will help to provide the best service to patients as possible.

Dentists must always exhibit honesty and integrity. They can be trusted to never compromise their values. A professional is humble and willing to ask for help when faced with a treatment plan or diagnosis that is outside of their realm of expertise.

Associates are reliable toward one another; they focus on getting the job done. They focus on the solution and not the problem.

A dentist must hold themselves accountable for their actions, words and thoughts – not place the blame on other practitioners.

As a practitioner, it is vital to exercise self-control: remaining collected even under pressure. For example, in private practice you may encounter a patient expressing anxiety over an upcoming procedure or a client that is angry about the cost of a treatment with another provider. A professional must, in all circumstances, respond with understanding and respect to all parties involved, whether or not they agree with them.

How to Handle Unprofessional Conduct

Unfortunately, there are times in business when practitioners do not conduct themselves in a professional manner. You need to be aware of how unprofessionalism may exhibit itself and be prepared with effective methods to prevent and correct it. Otherwise, it will rip the practice apart. Here are a few examples of how un-professional behavior can manifest itself:

  • A consulting dentist examining a client may speak negatively of the primary dentist’s quality of work or treatment plan. The consulting dentist may not agree with the treatment plan and in front of the patient say things that are uncomplimentary of the primary dentist. This could lead to the patient no longer trusting their primary dentist.
  • Bullying or criticizing another practitioner into doing things differently
  • Physical or verbal intimidation
  • Humiliating others directly or behind their back

The best solution to any of these issues is PREVENTION. Encourage support among co-professionals. If all practitioners are working towards a common goal and view themselves as part of a team they are more likely to build-up and not break down the other dentists or providers in the practice.


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