DTC Competition: Reflecting on a Complaint with Nikita Thanki

 Next entry for my DTC competition is from Nikita Thanki from the University of Dundee..

Most people who offer a service such as dental care, feel as though they are providing the best care they can. So then when a complaint is received, it is very easy to become disheartened and take it personally.

As much as this is a very natural way to feel, it doesn’t actually help us and can just decrease our confidence when treating patients in the future. So, in this blog, with a few questions that we can ask ourselves, I aim to remind us that our outlook on and response to a complaint can turn it from a negative stain into a tool for improvement!

1. Did I actually do something wrong? – If you have, then the first step in dealing with a complaint is admitting what you did wrong. Dentists do make mistakes from time to time, and its not nice feeling, but owning it is the only way we can learn from it.

2. How could I have handled the situation better? – Even if you think you have handled the situation correctly, there is still usually some wisdom gained in reflecting on what may have avoided the complaint from occurring in the first place, for example, taking some extra time to further explain the potential risks of a particular treatment.

3. Have I been empathetic enough? – A lot of complaints may not go any further than a verbal expression of dissatisfaction if we can appreciate and address the patient’s thoughts and feelings (even if we actually can’t fix it).

4. Have I handled their concerns correctly? – This includes listening, offering an apology and appropriate solutions, and being transparent by showing the patient the complaints procedure.

This reflection can ensure that we become better today than we were yesterday, and that’s all we can ever ask of ourselves!

Look out for more entries for the competition coming soon!

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