Talking and working at the same time

Posted on Updated on

Dr Mark Hassed

There are years and years of psychological research that proves that people cannot multi-task.

What happens is that people task switch. They pay a little attention here then a little attention there back and forth.

The net result is that while in this “multi-tasking” state people do perform multiple tasks but each task is done very poorly.

That’s why people talking on mobile phones while driving are dramatically more likely to have an accident. A woman in Melbourne recently was hit by a tram she stepped in front of while talking on her mobile.

The relevance to dentistry is obvious.

So many dentists I observe like to talk and work simultaneously. I’ve even seen dentists drilling on a tooth as they chat with the nurse about the day’s events.

Do you want yourself “dumbed down” as you perform and intricate task cutting human tissue? Does a patient deserve better?

The answer is obvious.

But, please let me give you two more reasons not to talk and work at the same time:

  1. You will work more intelligently and get the job done much faster.
  2. You patient will appreciate it. I have a patient who left his previous dentist because the dentist didn’t pay attention when he was drilling.

Pay full attention while you are working. It’s best for all concerned.

3 thoughts on “Talking and working at the same time

    davidmoffet said:
    February 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Mark, absolutely sound advice…at my clinic we have even developed hand signals to reduce talk time. Patients appreciate the professionalism.

    davidmoffet said:
    February 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Another thing about chat “over the patient” is that it is sooooo disrespectful. On two counts. Firstly, the patient is paying for your time. They should not be subject to listening to something they y may not want to hear or may want to contribute to…take your pick. Secondly, they do deserve your 100% attention.Chatting over the patient implies a little bit of blasé…

Leave a Reply