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4 Tips on How to Handle Difficult Patients, Coworkers, or Dentists

Dimensions Brand Ambassadors offer 4 ideas on how dental hygienists can approach difficult personalities in the dental office.

We’ve all encountered difficult personalities in the workplace. These people may make it hard to get your job done due to bad attitudes, micromanaging or constant complaining. But the question is, how do you deal with toxic coworkers, managers, or patients without feeling emotionally exhausted? Dimensions Brand Ambassadors offer 4 ideas on how dental hygienists can approach difficult personalities in the dental office.

I like to ask myself first what I could be doing to make the situation better. One of the biggest reasons someone, or a situation, is perceived as difficult is simply miscommunication. I try to remind myself that most likely I handle things and process things differently than others. Help me understand, so I can help you.

Alana Barton, EDDA

 

It starts with empathy and using curiosity to understand their perspective. Also, understanding if I am playing a role or feeding into the behavior. Then adjust to not perpetuate defensiveness or other unpleasant behavior.

Kandice Swarthout, RDH, MS, dental hygiene faculty member at Collin College in McKinney, Texas (@inspirededucationwellness)

 

I try to understand where they are coming from and act in kindness. Often the other person realizes  he or she is not acting kindly and the problem will resolve.

Lisa Bilich, BSDH, MSEd, clinical instructor at Eastern Washington University in Spokane.

 

Personally I view these types of people as a challenge that I really want to succeed at. With difficult patients, I aim to find a way to connect with them because in the end I want them to look forward to seeing me. With a difficult coworker or dentist, I aim to bring unity in a constructive way because I have the best interest of the practice (and patients) in mind.

Amber Sanchez, RDH

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