Establishing healthy boundaries is one of the keys to any good relationship. Ideally, both sides mutually agree on a set of boundaries and then respect them.
However, those boundaries aren’t always explicitly laid out. Sometimes, you’re just hoping the other person “gets it.”
For instance, you don’t want patients showing up in your living room at 3 a.m. with a toothache, just as your patients would probably prefer it if you didn’t surprise them at home with a drill and pliers. But neither of you say this to each other directly. You just sort of imply it and hope for the best.
However, hope is not a strategy.
Which means we’re all forced to rely on our gut instinct about where and how to draw healthy boundaries. And sometimes, even the best of us go a little overboard.
With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the worst ways to draw healthy boundaries with your patients—and what you can do instead.
“Forget” patients’ names and other personal information.
Some dentists may pride themselves on remembering names, family details, patient history, etc. While this is an excellent way to grow your practice, it also has the potential downside of leading patients to believe you’d like a closer relationship. To keep them at arm’s length, certain boundary experts might advise you to “accidentally” let the wrong name slip when you walk into the room. For children, you might be told to regularly forget what grade they’re in now to help the parents understand that you will never be more than a cold and distant presence in their child’s life.
Keep them distracted.
If you’re worried about unwanted attention, then maybe your best bet is to divert that attention while you’re in the room. With a Molar Media Mount, you can easily set up a tablet like an iPad for your patients to watch while you do your thing. After an episode or two of Parks and Rec, they’ll barely remember why they came in in the first place.
Keep a dedicated spreadsheet for ensuring a patient never gets the same dental hygienist or room twice in a row.
Will this keep your patients from getting comfortable in your practice? Sure. Will instructing your receptionist to answer half your incoming calls with “Dewey’s Pizza, what can I get for ya?” and insist you are a deep-dish pizza parlor sow confusion and distrust among your patients? Absolutely. However, these are drastic measures that should be taken only in the most extreme of circumstances. Otherwise, you risk having to buy a pizza oven instead of a Molar Media Mount.
Use a HoverShield.
The best barrier is a physical one. After all, psychological tricks will only stop so many people. And they won’t stop any viruses or bacteria. That’s why the HoverShield is literally the best way to establish healthy boundaries with your patients. It allows you to see your patients in person, even during a pandemic, and keep everyone safe at the same time. The clear, acrylic barrier quickly attaches to your existing Molar Media Mount and protects you and your staff from any stray splatter while you work with patients.
Professional boundaries matter, but you don’t have to resort to subterfuge to enforce them. Get yourself a Molar Media Mount, a HoverShield, and a Netflix subscription, and you’ll be just fine.