The future of wellbeing for dental teams

The future of wellbeing for dental teams

Mahrukh Khwaja details her top predictions for where wellbeing is heading within dentistry. 

Running a successful dental practice involves more than just providing exceptional care to patients. It requires nurturing a dedicated and motivated team of dental professionals all of whom are committed to the vision and values of the practice.

And in dentistry, with problems of high stress, quiet quitting, presenteeism, absenteeism and difficulties in retaining staff, its never been more relevant for dental practice principals and managers to double down on mental wellbeing.

As a profession, we can learn a lot from industries outside healthcare that are already ahead of the curve. We can get an idea of what this beautiful utopian future could look like in dentistry.

Companies like Google, for example, have employee happiness programmes, ensuring all new staff have the crucial life skills to do their work well. These organisations understand that profitability is strongly correlated with staff wellness and happiness. They understand the business case of a happy team.

Top predictions

It’s time dental principals across the globe tap into this knowledge. Here are my top predictions for the future of dentistry, wellbeing edition:

  1. Principals and management trained in compassionate leadership, equality, diversity and psychological safety. This training can help them in creating a strong culture of openness, kindness and also self-compassion. Cultures like these build psychological safety amongst team members and allows for a hope based culture where the team can flourish.
  2. Adopting a mental wellness champion for your practice. This is someone who is trained in mental health first aid, suicide awareness and happiness strategies. They need to be interested in applying mental wellbeing principles to the team through organising team bonding days, wellbeing days, yoga sessions, nutrition talks etc. They are trained to help spot early signs of poor health, and how to best communicate options and signpost to relevant organisations in an empathetic way.
  3. Annual happiness, resilience and wellbeing training for the entire team. This training provides the entire team with evidenced based tools early on, before they are unwell. Additionally, training like this helps teams to flourish through leveraging positive emotions, applying strengths at work and setting time to recharge, and nourish.
  4. A team psychologist, wellbeing coach, psychotherapist, nutritionist and physiotherapist. This may seem way out there but consider how looked after your team would be having access to these wellness experts? It would also be an incredible perk to joining the team, and could ensure retention of staff.
  5. Job crafting using strengths. One effective strategy to combat disengagement is through strengths-based role crafting. This approach involves aligning employees’ skills, interests and passions with their job responsibilities. Allowing team members to use their strengths and talents empowers them to feel valued and engaged. Regularly communicate with your staff to understand their aspirations and skills, and tailor their roles accordingly. This individualised approach can foster a sense of ownership and satisfaction, also reducing the likelihood of quiet quitting.
  6. Zoning time in the dental diary for admin like referrals and training. Avoid completing these outside of working hours. Staff need dedicated time and training to stay on top of admin tasks.

If evidenced based wellbeing for teams interests you, than you may be interested in my book, Resilience and Well-being for Dental Professionals or the Mind Flossing Toolkit.

Read more Future of Dentistry articles here:

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