How dental professionals feel about returning to work.

by | May 20, 2020 | COVID-19, Dental Office, Employer advice | 0 comments

There has been a lot of speculation about Dental Professionals in the last few weeks.  We did a post What Dental Professionals Need to Reopen Your Practice.  And that was based on a lot of research and talking with many people.     

But our clients kept asking questions that we didn’t have all the answers to.  These questions included. 

  1. Are dental professionals willing to work right now?
  2. Do they have childcare so they can get back to work?
  3. Are they leaving the industry?
  4. Do I have all the precautions in place to keep them safe?
  5. How do I hire when I am not sure what my patients will do?

Well, we took the liberty of sending out a survey to the thousands of dental professionals we have on our site to get those questions answered for you.  

Here are our findings.  

Are you back to work in a dental practice?

56% said yes. 
44% saying no.  

Position breakdown of survey respondents:

31% Registered Dental Assistants
11% Dental Assistants
29% Registered Dental Hygienists
10% Front Office
14% Office Managers
5% Dentists/Specialists

Are you happy to return to work?

30% said they are nervous about working again but feel OK about it.
22% said they are unhappy and don’t feel safe.
20% said they are happy to be working again and feel safe.
4% said they can’t work due to COVID-19 related reasons.
7% can’t work because they don’t have access to childcare.
6% are ready to but need to find a job. 
18% marked “other”.  

In the other column, 50% mentioned PPE being the biggest deterrent from reopening.  

What are your concerns with going back to work?

We let respondents mark multiple answers. 

46% said they are concerned about contributing to the spread of COVID-19. 
28% said they feel their office is not fully prepared with PPE. 
20%, they aren’t concerned and are happily working. 
5% said they aren’t concerned and are looking for work. 
15% marked other. 

In the “other” the answers varied.  But the top contenders were:

  1. I feel like the new protocols are going to be hard, exhausting and constantly changing. 
  2. Their job is going to now take a more physical toll on their bodies. 
  3. There won’t be enough time on the schedule for them to properly sterilize AND offer superior care for their patients.  
  4. Wont receive enough hours at work. 
  5. And sadly, a small few said they will most likely leave the industry. 

What can dentists/employers do to make you feel safe and comfortable at work?

We let this be an open text answer and we have summarized the majority points below. 

  1. PPE.  Have enough.
  2. Follow recommended guidelines and protocols.  
  3. COMMUNICATE what systems you have put into place and why. 
  4. Don’t rush to get back to production.  Stagger patients, and give the staff time to perfect the new protocols to ensure everyone’s safety. 
  5. Hygienist appointments need to be longer since they can’t use the tools they were using before. 
  6. Be kind and patient with your staff.  This is all new to them too. 
  7. Have the Air Conditioning on super high at all times and make sure the front office staff knows not to touch it. 

With the results of this survey, I now feel very confident in now answering those questions.  

  1. Are dental professionals willing to work right now?
    It looks like they are.  At least 56% of them. 
  2. Do they have childcare so they can get back to work?
    Only 7% said the lack of childcare is holding them back from working.  Not as high as I suspected. 
  3. Are they leaving the industry?
    Doesn’t look like too many plan to leave.  And if they do, they will probably be back. 
  4. Do I have all the precautions in place to keep them safe?
    This seemed to be the biggest concern from our respondents.  So make sure you have the PPE and have a protocol list printed out to review with them.  Luckily we worked with some Office Managers to develop this one.  
  5. How do I hire when I am not sure what my patients will do?
    Take it slow.  Start with a soft launch and as your confidence grows, so will your patients.  In the meantime, use temps on DirectDental until you are ready to hire.  If you find a temp you like, there are no placement fees to hire them!  

I hope this post helped you see into the mind of your dental professionals!  Have a great day!