In the Spotlight: Dental Assistants Amber-Rose, Émilie, Susie and Jessica
To celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week, we are shining the spotlight on a few of our amazing team members and the work they do in their practices.
Amber-Rose Harvey – New Minas Dental Centre – Nova Scotia
Amber-Rose has been with New Minas Dental Centre for nearly 4 years. Hired as a new grad, she is grateful to have been given the opportunity to embark on her career and gain valuable experience.
Amber-Rose is passionate about the transformations she sees in patients when they come in for services. In particular, she is interested in Invisalign and the changes that it can bring to the lives of patients. “Since I’ve started, I’ve learned so much about Invisalign and I love seeing the increased confidence and self-esteem of our patients when they’ve completed their treatment.”
Patient experience is top of mind for Amber-Rose, and her goal is to educate and engage with them in meaningful ways. “To me, a great patient experience is keeping the patients smiling, even if they are scared or afraid, and making them comfortable. Part of that is talking with them and really getting to know who they are.”
We asked her what she would do with a magic wand, and her response was a noble one. “I would use my magic wand for universal dental insurance or coverage of some kind. Everyone deserves to be able to have the best possible smile.”
Her advice for dental professionals starting their careers? “Keep your chin up. It’s going to be scary and overwhelming at first, but the rush, the love for the job, and the patients will make it all worth it.” She adds, “Be eager to learn, upgrade your skills, and always keep moving forward!”
Émilie Terzi – Centre Dentaire Gaudreault Marquis - Québec
Émilie has been with Centre Dentaire Gaudreault Marquis since 2006 and transitioned with the practice to the dentalcorp network in 2018. She’s known for being a team player and an outstanding dental assistant.
She says of her role “I really enjoy my job and always want to learn more and improve myself.”
Émilie is passionate about the work environment, patient interactions, and her practice leaders.
“If I had a magic wand, I’d use it to make sure I continue working with my current leadership team as long as possible!”
It’s important to Émilie that patients are treated to an exceptional experience when they visit the practice.
“To me, a great patient experience is when they thank us for the good services received and are happy with the whole visit, from beginning to end.”
Her advice for dental professionals who are just beginning their careers?
“Listen to the patient, be empathetic, professional and positive at all times!”
Susie Ritchie – Slave Lake Dental - Alberta
Susie has been with Slave Lake Dental for 15 years, having moved out west from New Brunswick with her family. She leads a very full and busy life, successfully balancing her career with three kids and two new puppies.
Her interests and passions are varied. Professionally, she derives a lot of enjoyment from orthodontics, and the patient transformations she sees as a result.
“I love seeing the smiles on the patient faces, and the relationships that I’m able to develop with those patients throughout the course of their treatment,” says Susie.
In her personal life, she loves travelling with her husband and 3 daughters throughout North America. “I’ve visited almost every province and territory as well as half of the United States, from Alaska to California, and PEI to BC” says Susie. Winter is her favourite season and she loves to watch her girls play hockey.
When it comes to patient experience, she places great importance on being thorough, and really listening to the patient about their concerns, and their goals. She is also a strong proponent of patient education and believes that making people feel comfortable should be a top priority.
“If you polled patients, you would find that a lot of them have reservations about visiting the dentist, and some find it outright scary,” says Susie. “I make sure to take the time to get to know the patient, to hear their concerns, and give them the information and support they need to make them feel safe and comfortable.”
Susie loves her job and credits the Slave Lake Dental team (specifically Dr Terri Pukanich) for encouraging her and inspiring her to develop personally and professionally through continuing education.
“It is such a family atmosphere here, with a unique dynamic – I don’t think you necessarily get that in other offices, we are very close” says Susie.
Her advice for dental professionals getting started in their careers includes learning how to multitask effectively, exercise compassion, and keep an open mind.
“If a patient comes in for the first time in 10 years, they might be embarrassed or feel ashamed. It’s our job to make sure they feel welcomed into a judgement-free environment. Get to know them, people are interesting and everyone has a story.”
She also jokes that having a career as a dental assistant, it’s beneficial to have a good chiropractor and massage therapist on hand for the physical demands of the job. Joking aside, caring for your back in dentistry is important, and movement can make a real difference.
Susie’s final thoughts: “If I had a magic wand, right now I would make Covid go away so we can all get back to normal. But I also wish that everyone treated people with kindness, think the best of people.”
Jessica Fletcher – Cedar Dental – British Columbia
Jessica has been with Cedar Dental for almost 14 years and has seen a lot of change in that time.
“If I've learned anything, it's that change will teach important life values such as personal growth, flexibility, strength, and opportunities,” says Jessica.
She loves teaching and being able to share her knowledge with those around her. She feels that dental health is so important and yet many ignore it because they’re unaware of its impact on their overall health.
“Education is so important,” says Jessica. “Changing someone's smile, their health – that’s a great thing. When you've changed someone's perspective, it feels like a big win!”
A great patient experience, to Jessica, is everything. Done right, you will have patients for life who also go on to tell others what a fabulous experience they've had. So how does Jessica define a great patient experience?
“It means that the visit should be great from start to finish – and that’s accomplished by having knowledgeable staff, and an inviting, professional atmosphere with reduced wait times.”
If Jessica had a magic wand, she would eradicate the pandemic and change the health care system so that everyone would have basic dental coverage.
Jessica loves what she does and says she wouldn’t change it for anything. Her advice for new dental professionals?
“Being an assistant is much more than assisting. You become a big part of changing someone's smile which in turn can affect their lives. Every day is different – some are challenging – but it is always rewarding. Accept your strengths and weaknesses, because once you have you are much more open to learning.”