When dentists spend the time and money on a dental CE course, most would like to do more than satisfy their state’s requirements for their license. They would like to pick up some tips or tricks that will improve their practice, make their lives easier, and in general, get them a return on their investment.
All too often though, a week or two after the course, all the time and money spent is gone with no real difference made, and 6 months later, there’s no measurable benefit enjoyed as a result of the course. It can be a frustrating waste of time that makes signing up for the next seminar less and less exciting and more of a chore.
It’s not that way for every dentist. After years of working with dental offices, I’ve picked up on some key characteristics of offices that come away from CE and use it to build a more profitable dental practice.
United Teams Have Consistent Leadership
Having a team that is united in its mission to win makes a dental office unstoppable. This starts with great leadership skills in the dentist, making it clear to everyone on the team why you come to work each day and what the vision is for the future. Teams that win approach CE with a design on how they will assimilate new knowledge and how they will implement it when they come back to the office.
Consistent leaders will also bring their team to the seminars. This multiplies the investment in the CE course, but it is well worth it if the dentist can be certain that the team is getting the same information that the leader is getting, and the team can talk about how to integrate what they are learning with what they typically do in the office. The key though, is that the dentist leading the team has a plan that they’ve been executing and communicating all along, which makes it clear to the team what will be a great fit and what might be a miss-match.
When a CE instructor teaches a concept, consistent leadership will cause the team to have a clear vision of how to leverage the material in the office. This means that, on Monday morning, when they get back in the office, the team can focus on execution rather than struggling with why and how they should implement the new concept. Uncertainty costs dental offices time and money and adds frustration to the working environment.
[Above, Jonathan wears K7 electromyography equipment while Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad holds his models at a Myotronics seminar where Dr. Haddad lectured]
Focus Training With A Purpose
The offices that I’ve worked with who have seen real transformation have made team training a priority for years, and have invested in training with a specific focus over an extended period. Avoid investing in CE with a wide range of subject matter from a variety of companies and dental organizations. Consistent leadership with a united focus means that your choice of CE should be clear. It should be easier to identify courses that will be a waste of time. Don’t sign up for CE just because it’s the latest and greatest.
If a specific training center offers a series of courses, going back for the next course in the series reduces the distraction of getting used to a new trainer or training center, and directs more energy toward assimilating the material presented. Usually these institutions and series of courses will help your team go deeper into the material and make your team experts in the subject.
Dental CE should either solve a problem that your team has or should reinforce a course concept that makes you successful. Double down on things that make you money and make your lives easier. Humans learn through repetition. You’ll also see a better return on CE if the team can see how a new piece of technology, procedure, or office process can solve a problem. They will gain laser focus if it’s clear that the CE will mean fewer problems in the future.
[Dr. Rod Strickland uses Jonathan as a demonstration during a Denture Fountain of Youth® seminar in 2015. Dr. Kevin Winters and Dr. Mark Dunayer work on taking the bite impression.]
Integrate CE Concepts With Your Marketing
If your team adopts a policy of always learning, improving, and being the best dentist in your area, your marketing should also reflect these ideas. You should also have a process for implementing what you are learning in both your office environment and in your marketing.
If you are adding a new piece of technology to your office, drive patients to the office by adapting your marketing to promote the fact that you solve problems using the device. This is important: don’t just promote the fact that you bought a piece of hardware. Promote the fact that you can improve a person’s life by solving a specific problem. As cool as your new tech is, it’s not what a patient will buy. They will choose a dentist who understands their problem, is equipped and trained to solve it, and can paint a clear picture of life after the treatment.
Dental CE presents an opportunity to review related pages of your website to identify improvements needed. You can also brainstorm blog topics that you can send to your account manager for use by your dental content team. Google likes a website that is updated regularly, so a change in your practice is a good reason to give Google what it wants. Update your website accordingly.
Don’t forget social media. When you go to a CE course, it’s an easy social media win for you. It gives you a reason to take interesting pictures and to tell your patients (current and future) that you are investing in continuing education because you want to always provide the best treatment available, and to help more patients lead better lives through dentistry. Be sure that the dentist is in the photos. Posting photos that feature the dentist’s face will get more clicks, likes, and comments. This means that the photo you share as well as future posts will be seen by more people.
[Dr. Mandy Grimshaw and team from Kuhn Dental Associates celebrate a great day of learning at the 2019 meeting of the International College of Craniomandibular Orthopedics. Also pictured above, Director of Account Management, Jared Lowry, Administrative Coordinator, Holly Kail, and Jonathan Fashbaugh, president of Pro Impressions Marketing]
Why Getting More From Dental CE Matters
You have better things to do. You have family and friends to see. You have patients in need of treatment. You have a team that would rather be out doing what they love to do. If you’re going to spend time away from all of that AND pay for that opportunity, then you must get a return on investment. It’s too easy to assume that the CE course was to blame when you mother ball yet another piece of tech or a useless binder of notes on a shelf.
Instead, maximize your benefit from the time and money invested in dental CE. Attending seminars should become something that you, your team, and your patients celebrate as part of your dental office’s culture. Dental CE should be a key part of your success.