Dr Mark HassedLast week I wrote about how dentists can be under-resourced with respect to instruments.

There's another very common way for dentists to be under-resourced and that's to have insufficient clinical assistance.

The most common staffing configuration that I see is one dentist and one nurse. That staffing level leads to lots of wasted time for the dentist.

I've measured the dead time and dentists who have two nurses take on average 40% less time to do procedures. Over an 8-hour day that equates to more than 3 hours of clinical time saved. The saved time easily covers the cost of the extra wage. Additionally, time is saved because change-overs become far quicker.

One objection that dentists raise to having two nurses is that they “don't want to work that hard.” In actual fact you work much harder with only one nurse. With one nurse you have to do a whole lot of delegatable work and you are constantly waiting on instruments, change-overs and materials. Dentists who are accustomed to working with two nurses find working with one to be very slow and frustrating.

It simply doesn't make sense for a dentist to sit idle due to the lack of staff.

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