Developing strong communication skills, early on, can be the one skill that differentiates you from other associate dentists and practitioners.
Adopting a style that suits your patients’ needs, employing active listening and changing your body language are a few of the various small changes that can enhance your practice.
Communication is crucial in growing a successful and stress-free relationship with your patients and your team. By listening to your patients, answering their specific questions and being transparent, you will soon gain their trust.
Your communication style is also central to delivering information and establishing expectations. You ought to gauge a patient’s expectation through discussion and provide the patient with an honest answer rather than over-promising. A large proportion of complaints tend to arise from a patient’s expectations not being met, so mastering this skill and strengthening your rapport with patients can help minimise complaints.
According to defence organisations, complaints tend to arise from patients being dissatisfied with some aspect of treatment or where there has been a failure in meeting a patient’s expectations or needs.
Clear communication with patients can often help eliminate or resolve complaints early on. In addition, having the correct attitude and building strong relationships with patients is vital in keeping patients happy with your service.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, emotional intelligence or EQ has been defined as ‘the ability to understand your emotions and those of other people and to behave appropriately in different situations’.
This is one of the most important and valued traits of many successful dentists, with patient–clinician relationship shown to be one of the most important factors determining patient satisfaction.
Mastering soft skills such as empathy and body language and employing advanced interpersonal skills can be extremely beneficial as a practice builder.
If you feel your patient relationship is something you really want to enhance, investing in postgraduate training related to patient communication, ethical selling and conflict management can significantly improve this rapport, helping you to work closely with patients, boosting patient satisfaction.
About the author
Dr Kalpesh Prajapat graduated from Liverpool Dental School in 2016, with distinctions in Restorative Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences. Kalpesh pursued DFT In General Practice within Cambridge, followed by Dental Core Training within the Birmingham Dental Hospital. Here Kalpesh provides consultant led Restorative, Oral surgery and Sedation treatments, in addition to holding an on call OMFS role at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Kalpesh also works part-time in private practice within Birmingham.
Owing to the importance of personal and professional development, career building and planning Kalpesh teamed up with well-known dental associates and practice owners to help write ‘Dental Associate Interviews: An Ultimate Preparation Guide’. This became an Amazon Best Selling book during its early release.
Kalpesh is currently an NHS Clinical Entrepreneur and enjoys Restorative Dentistry, Oral surgery and Sedation.