Nicole Black has been working with Metro Dentalcare in their Richfield office for 6 ½ years. She joined the group as a Dental Assistant, and has taken on several leadership roles since her journey began. Some of these roles include serving as an OSHA Officer and participating in the AAAHC Re-accreditation process. Most recently, Nicole has been promoted to Practice Team Lead. Today, she plays a key role in training new Dental Assistants and supervising the day to day operations at the practice, including compliance and quality assurance.
What made you decide to become a Dental Assistant?
I had braces in High School, and I became very interested in the dental field during that time. I enrolled in the two year Dental Assisting program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and started working for Metro after graduation.
Was there anything about your career at Metro that you didn’t expect or realize before taking the job?
Metro is a pretty large group in this area, and so I was expecting the environment to somewhat reflect that. However, despite their size, it still feels like I’m part of a small community based practice which is something I really enjoy. Everyone in the office an across the group is able to feel like one big extended family.
What kind of communication do you have with your team?
We’re constantly given opportunities to communicate with each other and discuss the patients we have scheduled for the day. Our morning huddle gives doctors, assistants and hygienists the chance to discuss cases, and identify any unique patient needs so we are all on the same page. There are also meetings with just hygienists, or just front desk representatives so they can talk about what’s happening in their department or any specific updates related to their job functions for that day.
What’s unique about the opportunities at Metro compared to another local practice?
The size of the group creates opportunities beyond the chair. I never thought there would be as many opportunities for leadership – and I’ve been able to take on more responsibilities and learn so much during my time here. Whether you’re looking to get into Practice Management or learn more about compliance, there are several opportunities for you to be a leader within your team. Metro has a structure that supports professional growth, without making it feel like a corporate environment.
Can you describe some of the leadership roles you’ve had with the group?
As an OSHA Officer, I was responsible for training my practice team members on quality assurance and safety procedures. Metro hosted a ‘Train the Trainers’ event where I met other officers from other practices, and they provided us with the materials to take back to our offices. I really enjoyed being involved in this kind of leadership. Our group is also accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, and I have been fortunate enough to play a large role in the re-accreditation process. Being able to coach and mentor my peers is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role here, and I’m so proud to be in my current position as a Practice Team Lead.
Why do you think AAAHC Accreditation is important?
Our AAAHC status fits right into our core values. We believe in acting in a way that is Ethical, and we believe in striving for Excellence in all that we do. At the end of the day, the service and care that we give to our patients is our primary focus. AAAHC provides guidelines that we can use to be sure that we are doing more than just the bare minimum. Whether it’s improving the organization of tools and equipment so we can work more efficiently, or developing a new procedure for documenting information, each extra step we take is for the benefit of our patients. We have to get re-accredited every three years, and it’s a proud feeling to get that confirmation from the AAAHC that we are in fact doing a great job.
Part of the Core Values of American Dental Partners and their supported affiliates is Social Responsibility. What kind of opportunities are available to employees to interact with and support their community?
We are always participating in local community events and fund raisers. The one that is probably the most special for me however, is the Give Kids a Smile event. I was a big part of the planning for this event in our Richfield office, and look forward to helping again for the event in 2018.
Is there one event or moment in your career that stands out as being especially rewarding?
One year, we did a Give Kids a Smile type of event for adults that could not afford dental care. There was one specific patient that required several procedures. The doctor I was paired up with not only addressed this patient’s concerns during the event, but the doctor came back in on their day off to finish the job – still offering the services free of charge for the patient. They were so happy and thankful; the whole gesture was very heartwarming to be a part of.
If you weren’t in the dental field, what kind of career do you think you would have?
That’s a hard one – I think it would have to be something with children. I considered going into a pediatric dental office, but it wasn’t exactly the best clinical setting for me (kids are so scared of the dentist sometimes!). However, I think a position at a daycare or childcare center would be a lot of fun!
We’ve talked a lot about work, what kind of things do you like to do in your spare time?
My husband and I have an 8-year-old daughter, and are expecting our second child in February! Our daughter is a soccer player and my husband is the coach, so it’s great to have some family time out on the field. We also do a lot of volunteering with her girl scout troupe, and enjoy spending time with family in Minnesota and South Dakota. Metro allows me to keep a great work-life balance, so there’s always time for family.
What kind of advice would you give someone considering a career at Metro?
It’s a great group to be a part of. It may be one of the larger ones in our area, but I feel like it gets smaller and smaller every day. We really are a family! If you’re interested in a career that gives you the opportunity to keep learning and growing, this is the place for you!
For more information about Metro Dentalcare, visit www.metro-dentalcare.com. If you’re a Dental Assistant or Hygienist interested in career opportunities, contact Charley Clough at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the group Facebook page for even more updates and news!