Dr. Greg Psaltis
5925 Sleepy Hollow Lane N.E.
Olympia, WA    98516
Phone and FAX:    (360)  413-5760

Live Your Dreams
 (Cures for common practice headaches)

I. Introduction
       A. What are your dreams?
       B. What qualifies this speaker?
           1.  I am in private practice-- I do what you do
              2.  Each concept discussed is something I actually do
              3.  My partnership has created a dream schedule for me
              4.  A five month sabbatical in Salzburg, Austria was the culmination of my    
                  biggest dream
        5.  I have identified and can provide solution for the four areas that I feel     
                 keep our work from being enjoyable, based on my own experience as a
                 practicing pediatric dentist

We will discuss:
1. Parents (or: Allies, not the Enemy)
2. Demands, conflicts and special requests of employees (or: How to     
     stop being the Sheriff, the Judge and the Jury)
3. Having to handle "everything" at the office (or: Tapping into the
     most vital resource you have)
4. Money matters (or: Do you go to work to serve your debt or to
    serve your patients?)

We will then discuss realizing some Dreams

II. Parents (or: Allies, not the Enemy)
    A. Prepare them and set guidelines-- teach them positive behavior
         1. Prepare them for their children's visits
            a.  Explain your philosophy and style of empowering their children
            b.  Outline the procedures that are to be done
        2.  Be clear about upcoming appointment for the child
            a.  Be optimistic, but realistic
            b.  Acknowledge potential areas of difficulty
            c.  Discuss strategies
            d.  Make agreements regarding their role
        3. Set clear guidelines around operative appointments
            a.  Be a silent observer only
            b.  Do not over prepare the child
            c.  Support our terminology
            d.  Leave operatory when asked (must be agreed upon in advance)
    B. Parents in operatory
        1. Advantages
            a.  Never really know exactly what they want-- I am not a psychic
            b.  They will be astonished and appreciative of what you do
            c.  No more guessing about "how hard to push" ("stop" buttons)
        2.  "Difficult" parents
            a.  Prepare them in advance
                 b.  Tell them directly if they are not helping
            c.  Make clear boundaries about leaving the room if child is acting out
            d.  Be OK with asking them to leave your practice
        3. Feedback from parents
            a.  Listen to understand what the issue actually is
            b.  Act on only things that you can change
            c.  Don't expect an immediate response or change from parent
    C. Model appropriate behavior at all times-- "do as I do"

III.  Staff demands, conflict and special requests (or: stop being the Sheriff, the Judge and the Jury)
    A. Three scenerios
        1.  Kathy wants to come in 15 minutes late each day
        2.  Jane thinks Holly isn’t doing her job
        3.  Trish wants to miss the office retreat because of daycare problems

    B. Conditions of Employment    (Conditions of Employment may be purchased from Dr. Psaltis by writing him)
          1.  Regular work schedule
             a. Definition of workday and workweek
             b. Required programs, such as meetings
             c. Check with attorney for legalities
          2.  Personal appearance
             a. This may include requirement for uniforms
             b. Hair length, nail polish, etc.    
          3.  Probationary period
          4.  Regular period of employment
             a. Define at what point  and how this becomes the case
                b. What benefits only begin with this employment status
          5.  Wages
             a.  Hourly or salary
             b.  Define bonuses
                i. Payment dates
                ii. How one qualifies
          6.  Holidays- list which ones your office observes
          7.  Vacation benefit
             a.  Can it be accrued or not
             b.  How much time in service earns vacation time
          8.  Medical insurance benefit (if applicable)
          9.  Definitions of full-time, part-time and temporary employees
        10.  Leaves of absence
             a. Very important to spell out how long you hold positions open
             b. Consult with an attorney regarding legal obligations
        11.  Continuing education benefit
             a. Define which expenses the practice covers
                i. Tuition
                ii. Housing
                iii. Food (specify amounts)
             b. Required course versus employee-selected courses
        12.  Retirement plan (if applicable)
        13.  Infection control training
        14.  Termination of Employment
             a.  Define what constitutes "automatic" termination
             b.  Include an "all-inclusive" statement
    C. Commitment to positive behavior
        1.  Guidelines for positive behavior
        2.  Specific steps for resolving conflict
            a. Confront other person directly
            b. If unresolved, ask for a mediator
            c. If still unresolved, bring to Team
            d. Finally, doctor becomes involved
    D.  Let's return to the three scenerios

IV. Having to handle "everything" at the office   
           (or: Tapping into the most vital resource you have)
    A. Team building
         1. Is this merely a popular buzz-word?
        2. Long-term commitment
    B. Mechanics
        1. Meetings
            a. Daily huddles-- morning and noon
            b. Monthly half days meetings
                i. Scheduling
                ii. Preparing parents
                iii. Office philosophy and values
            c. Annual two-day retreats
                i. Away from practice's locale
                ii. Builds Team morale
                iii. Discuss future focus
                  iv. Long-term planning
        2. Use of facilitator
            a. Takes doctor out of role
            b. Can see everything more objectively
        3. Benefits
            a. Ownership of actions
                i. Hiring committee
                ii. Scheduling committee
                iii. Office standards committee
            b. Freedom for doctor of all responsibilities
                i. Provides continuity in doctor's absence
                ii. Allows doctor to concentrate on the most critical things
                iii. Takes doctor out of janitor, personnel manager and other roles
            c. In my practice
                i. It has enabled our partnership time-sharing to function
                ii. It allowed my sabbatical to happen without a glitch
                iii. Substitute doctors can come in and step right into a role
    C. Power
        1. The traditional pyramid of power
        2. The flattened power structure
            a. This doesn't mean the doctor has no power
            b. This does mean the Team has a say
            c. With "say," comes responsibility
            d. With responsibility comes innovation

V. Money  (or: are you at work to be in service to your patients or to your debt?)
    A. The role of debt in our lives
        1. Undue pressure to produce
        2. Stretches career beyond reasonable time frame
        3. Creates fear when "the times" slow down
    B. Catching up to the power curve
        1. Spending is addictive
        2. Are you just trying to keep up with the Joneses?
    C. How do you feel about retirement and college funds for your children?
        1. How time works for you
        2. How time works against you

VI. Realizing Dreams
    A. Recognizing what you want
        1. Must make your own personal list
        2. Make list with your spouse/family
    B. Determine what are the resistors to achieving your dreams
        1. Is it time?
        2. Is it money?
    C. Act on whatever is needed to get to your goals
    D. Solicit the help of others around you
        1. Your Team can be incredibly helpful
        2. This is not a show of weakness

For a more expansive look at some of the details of these topics, please check my website at for "Published articles." On the website are the entire texts of several Dental Economics articles that deal in greater detail with many of these subjects, including:

 "Are You Healthy Enough to Provide Health Care?"
    Dental Economics, Volume 88, No. 5,  May, 1998

     This article deals with four areas that may affect a dentist's ability to enjoy work.

"Rules of the Game"
   Dental Economics, Volume 90, No. 8, August, 2000, pages 110-117

     The importance of a Conditions of Employment document in a dental practice is detailed.

"The Big Picture"
Dental Economics, Volume 91, No. 3, March, 2001, pages 80-84
     A clear vision is a critical element to guide a practice's successful path.

"Are You Treating the Tooth or the Patient?"
Dental Economics, Volume 91, No. 9, September, 2001, pages 44-48
     This article deals with how listening to one's patients can enhance a practice.

"Big Benefits Package"
      Dental Economics, Volume 91, No. 19, October, 2001, pages 50-53
     In this article, the importance of an attractive employee benefit plan is outlined.

"Mission Statement-- the Core of a Practice"
     Dental Economics, Web exclusive, December 27, 2001

     The step by step procedure for developing this critical document is explained.

"Building Your Dream Team"
    Dental Economics, Volume 92, No. 5, March, 2002, pages 112-117
     Vital aspects of building a genuine dental Team are detailed.

"The Best Insurance Money Can't Buy"
     Dental Economics, Volume 93, No. 11, November, 2003, pages 98-104
     The concept of a Mutual Aid program for protecting injured dentists is explained.


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