Every practice should have job descriptions that outline the education, qualifications and specific duties for each member of the team. Developing this information up-front has two main benefits: first, it makes it more likely that your practice will hire qualified individuals for each role; and second, it lets each employee know what is required to satisfactorily fulfill the requirements of the job.
Creating accurate job descriptions takes time and thought but you’ll reap the rewards of those efforts every time you hire, coach, evaluate, or terminate staff. While it’s doubtful that most dentists enjoy conducting these non-clinical activities, they are necessary components of leading the team and managing the practice.
Think of job descriptions as a form of communication that ensures that anyone – and everyone – working in the practice understands their responsibilities and knows exactly what’s expected. They’re also helpful when recruiting staff to fill new or vacant positions and when planning programs to update staff training. Well-written job descriptions can also provide language to use when recruiting staff and also be valuable documentation when it’s time to provide coaching, redirect work assignments, improve poor performance, and even when it’s time to terminate someone on the team.
Make sure you consult your state’s dental practice act for guidance in defining which duties can be performed by different members of the dental team, under what level of supervision, and any education or exams that must be completed, or any state or national credentials that must be held before specific duties can be delegated to clinical staff members. Your state dental association may also have resources that can help. Finally, always make sure that employees and job applicants are properly licensed to work in the state where your practice is located, if that’s required for the position.
There are many resources that can provide sample job descriptions for positions common to most dental practices. While templates and other samples can be good starting points, it’s likely that some changes will be necessary to make sure the position fills the needs of your practice. Consider asking members of the team for input on the position description for their roles. Just remember that it’s up to you to decide which suggestions to incorporate and which to disregard.
Position descriptions for dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental office managers provided courtesy of The ADA Practical Guide to Creating and Updating an Employee Policy Manual