How to take patients and your CE ‘back to school’

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN—the smell of fresh pencils and school bus diesel is in the air. With that comes the rush of parents trying to get their kids into our offices before or just after school begins. This is wonderful for the business side of dentistry, but scheduling may become hectic and you need to stock up your supplies. This is also a good time to make a community outreach.

In order to keep your operatory flowing and keep your boss happy, you can take advantage of all the dental product companies’ specials for back to school. Typically, hygiene products are always on sale during this time of year. This would be an ideal time to browse the websites and sample some products. You can request samples, take a screenshot, price match, and invite outside sales representatives in for lunch and learns. Product companies are all trying to get your business and are happy to send samples for you to try out their newest products.

Community outreach is also effective at this time as well. By teaming up with the local schools, you can provide the teachers with a welcome back-to-school goodie bag for each student with a toothbrush (imprinted with your practice name), floss, and marketing material and perhaps even a pencil for the upcoming school year.

In addition to saving the office a ton of money on marketing through community outreach, you can up your game in your operatory by individualizing your appointment and providing a cute and educative report card on your patient’s oral health. The report card can also have your office address, recommendations on oral care and products that could help them such as a Waterpik, floss threaders, and a certain type of toothpaste or brush. Providing an individualized small card will help patients participate in the oral care program you have made for them and even help their success at home.

Going back to school serves also as a reminder for our own education—continuing education, that is! This is a good time for us as hygienists to get all of our CEs in order prior to the holidays. Renewal of CEs and requirements is different for various states. This is a good time to pull out your CE folder and see where you are in regards to your requirements. Are you short this year? Do you have all documentation to support your CEs? Organizing yourself in the fall will provide you less headaches in the middle of the holiday rush. It is no fun to have an increase in activity and then worry about CEs at the same time.

The requirements for each state are listed on the ADHA website. A lot of states have gone to a fully online CE allowable format. These CEs are available from various product companies and are fully acceptable. There are lists and lists of topics as well. The company behind RDH magazine also provides CE in the form of home study and quiz formats. You can check out all the courses offered here.

The courses offered by the Dental Academy of Continuing Education (DACE) really dig deep into topic and are evidence-based. DACE also provides a very long list of topics that will surely spark your interest. If you like to attend CEs in person, you can also utilize this time of year to organize your state- or federal-level CE live courses. Plus, don’t forget to look into CPR recertification. It is sometimes hard to find a CPR recertification course, so begin looking well in advance of when your certification expires.

This time of year is a good time to get organized, stock up, save money, and look ahead to the new school year or renewal year for your license. If you are organized during the back-to-school rush, you will come out shining with everyone around you. You will thank yourself once the new year hits and you are as cool as a cucumber!

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