It’s no surprise that a career as a Hygienist is one of the most rewarding paths in the dental field. Hygienists have a direct impact on their patient’s well-being, and provide valuable education and service that can impact a person’s self-confidence and help them create healthy habits and choices.
For Kristen Salisbury, that potential impact on patients is multiplied.
As the Dental Hygiene Mentor for Metro Dentalcare in Minnesota, her ability to share her knowledge and experience with hygienists across the group creates a ripple effect that reaches thousands of patients at more than 40 locations across the greater Twin Cities.
We asked her to share her experience and what makes working for a group like Metro Dentalcare unique!
Why did you choose to become a Dental Hygienist?
I always knew I wanted to be in healthcare when I was in high school. When I started looking at different careers in healthcare, dentistry just drew me in. As a child, I went through a lot of dental procedures, and having an opportunity to help others go through that process was something I found interesting.
Early Career/ First job
My first job as a hygienist was in a small private practice. I was the only hygienist in the office, and this gave me the ability to learn about the entire process, from scheduling appointments to making sure that they leave happy. I learned a lot about insurance, how to manage the hygiene schedule, and the importance of patient relationships and teamwork within an office.
While I enjoyed being part of the private practice setting and having an ability to influence change and drive initiatives – there were certain aspects that I felt could be done better. In a private setting, the responsibility to keep up with protocols and guidelines from CDC or OSHA is on the individual provider. Regulations change frequently, so not having a formal or consistent process can be challenging.
Additionally, being in such a small office means there is not as much flexibility for time off. In a large group like Metro Dentalcare, our hygienists have a pool of ‘flex’ employees that can cover your shift if you have any last minute emergencies or are looking to take some time off.
Moving from a Small Practice to a Group Practice Setting
I had my second child in December, and decided before the end of my maternity leave that I needed more from my job. I wanted to be in a place that was progressive, up to date with technology, and that promoted the role of a hygienist as a valuable part of the patient experience. As I started to look for my next opportunity, I found a lot of these qualities with Metro Dentalcare.
Upon joining the team at MDC, I started in a clinic as a lead hygienist. Helping to train other hygienists and lead team meetings helped me to develop my leadership skills.
Today, I am a Dental Hygiene Mentor. This means I get to travel to all our clinics to train and develop the skills of our hygienists, and be more involved in planning CE events, create training objectives, and participate in the onboarding process for new hires.
I love being able to help drive MDC to be the best place to work for hygienists.
Local Practice – National Support
Metro Dentalcare is an affiliate of American Dental Partners, Inc (ADPI). ADPI works behind the scenes of the clinic to provide administrative support.
In my third year of being at Metro Dentalcare, I was invited to attend ADPI’s annual Best Practices event in Boston.
Best Practices provides an opportunity for clinical and non-clinical team members from across the country to participate in leadership development, team workshops, and continuing education sessions. It also provides an opportunity for the practice team members to learn more about ADPI’s goals and what’s happening at our National Resource Group to help support us at the practice level.
I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the Continuing Education sessions and to network with hygienists from other affiliates and hear about what their teams are doing to support the patient experience. At the end of the event, I had some great ideas and information to take back and share with my own team.
In addition to Best Practices, ADPI offers several opportunities to participate in Service Learning, Leadership Training, and team building events throughout the year.
Philosophy and Patient Care
The team at Metro Dentalcare uses a ‘whole body’ approach to oral health. Our doctors and hygienists focus on the clinical aspects of dentistry and treat patients for what they present with that day. We use a comprehensive approach to bridge the gap between medical and dental, and strive to educate the patient on the entire picture of oral health.
A unique benefit of our practices is that we are recognized by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). This means that we are constantly reviewing protocols and best practices around risk management, environmental safety, patient rights, clinical records and other areas of concern.
Being in an environment that follows these strict guidelines means I don’t have to worry about bringing any of those hazards home to my family. It is so important for me as a clinician to know that my patients are protected, as am I.
Why Join Metro Dentalcare?
If you’re someone who is looking for growth in your career, Metro is a practice that would be a great fit. This isn’t a place where you’re going to just come in and do prophys all day and then go home – you are going to be challenged, you are going to be exposed to different cases, and you are going to be empowered to have those deeper clinical discussions with your patients.
There are so many opportunities for you to grow not just clinically, but to also expand your role and take on leadership positions within our group.
We are continuing to open new locations and have doctors and hygienists come on board. I’m excited to see what the next few years hold for Metro Dentalcare, and look forward to continuing my journey here.
If you’re interested in learning more about career opportunities with Metro Dentalcare, visit their website to view all opportunities here.
Or, you can contact Kelsey Burns, Talent Acquisition Partner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our practices are expanding, and we’re seeking patient-forward team members to help us grow our patient base!