From time to time, I like to ask professionals for their input on good etiquette while on the job or at least, what they would like to see in a perfect world. The suggestions are helpful as they come from real world experience which always has much wisdom to share. The following tips (with a few of my own added in) that I received come from a healthcare professional working in a dental office. 

  • Covid -19 protocols are not put in place by staff but we are the ones asked to enforce nice, be kind. Remember if you’re feeling unwell, then please reschedule!!
  • Fill in Covid-19 consent forms and update medical histories when asked…don’t hassle us. It’s AHS (Alberta Health Services) and ADA (Alberta Dental Association) rules that we must follow in order to provide a service to you.
  • Wear your mask inside our office as it’s been mandated by the government.
  • Avoid coming to your appointment right after going to the gym. Nothing is more unpleasant than sweaty hair and clothes on a sticky chair. Ewwww. Arrange the appointment for later in the day.
  • Keep the cell phone turned off during a procedure. We think that’s a no-brainer, as they say.
  • We know you may be scared and there’s nothing wrong with that. But during a procedure, please don’t grab our hands when giving anaesthetic or holding hand pieces…one of us could get hurt. Bring something to hold or listen to in order to take your mind off the treatment. Plus, voice your concerns. Ask questions as this will help calm your fears.
  • Be on time. An appointment is specific. It is not a “show up around that time and hope they see me” kind of appointment similar to a Walk-In Clinic. Respect the time of the staff and other patients by being punctual. Know what the cancellation policy is with the dental office. No shows are no good!! Plus, it’s very rude and disrespectful to other people’s time both staff and patients who were unable to book that time that was missed. 
  • Don’t lie about your home dental habits. The staff know if you have been diligent or not. Just tell the truth and they are skilled to help in making that a good habit.
  • Hold off on lipstick as it can get on the dental instruments. Plus, if the dentist is trying to do tooth restoration wanting to get a good match with the other teeth, an unnatural shade on the lips will make it more difficult.
  • Don’t bring kids to your appointment. It’s difficult for a provider to give you proper care if they or you are distracted by a toddler or baby. Plus, the admin desk is not running a child care service.
  • Don’t scare your kids about needles. It’s unnecessary and makes it difficult for a provider to care for your child. It delays appointment time and your child may not sit for treatment if they are terrified. Rather help your child learn how to be brave and courageous while facing an unpleasant situation. This is a good opportunity to teach resilience.
  • Don’t book appointment times for yourself and your child at the same time especially if your child requires your attention. Book separate times, instead.

Overall, we are providing healthcare services to our patients. Please respect that fact and don’t take us for granted. Value our time as we value yours.

Etiquette is always about respecting others, being thoughtful of others and being aware of the needs of others around us. Then and only then can we hope to rebuild our society based on civility and empathy.

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