Navigating Professional Boundaries & Fair Compensation with Dental Assistant, Ronda Holman

In the intricate dance of professional boundaries & fair compensation,
dental assistants often find themselves walking a tightrope.

Interviewer: Tanya Sue Maestas, DDS
Interviewee: Ronda Holman
Edited By: Candy Velez – CRDH, BSDH

Today we explore the financial mistakes that dental assistants can make and the valuable lessons we can all learn from them.

Ronda Holman shares her insights and experiences in navigating the complex world of dental finances.

Dentists vs. Dental Assistants: The Stark Contrast

One of the most glaring differences between dentists and dental assistants is their financial landscapes.

While dentists often carry a significant amount of debt due to their education and practice expenses, dental assistants face a different reality.

Ronda Holman sheds light on this divide:

“Dental assistants often juggle side gigs to make ends meet. But these lines between personal ventures and professional duties sometimes blur, creating a unique challenge.”

Mixing Personal Ventures with Professional Responsibilities.

She cites instances where assistants promote products not offered by their practice due to personal interests:

“Crossing these lines in the office can lead to serious consequences, even job loss. It’s a delicate balance that many assistants struggle to maintain, impacting both their professional reputation and the harmony within the dental team.”

The Struggle for Additional Income

Dental assistants face significant financial challenges, especially in their early careers. Many, like Ronda, take on multiple jobs to bridge the income gap:

“Starting out, I made $11 an hour. If I didn’t love dentistry, I could’ve made more at a fast-food joint. This financial struggle often drives dental assistants to explore various income streams, further complicating their professional lives.”

Ronda shares her financial struggles as a new dental assistant and explains that she had three jobs simultaneously just to be comfortable.

Ronda continues to explain that dentists need to understand that they ask dental assistants to:

“Learn a lot, do a lot, give a lot, and there are financial opportunities out there that are more abundant and make them think less.”

Ronda states that this is a complex concept for dentists to wrap their heads around, and if you want someone to put forth the effort to be the best, the dentist must invest in that person to make it a reality. 

Dentists as Leaders: Compensation and Investment

Dentists play a vital role in compensating and leading their assistants. Ronda advocates for investment in assistants’ education and growth:

“Take me to a CE, invest in my future. It fosters loyalty and professionalism. Unfortunately, not all dentists recognize the significance of this investment, hindering assistants’ professional development and overall job satisfaction.”

Recognizing the Unsung Value of Dental Assistants

Ronda stresses the importance of acknowledging dental assistants’ contributions. She advises them to demonstrate their impact:

“Show where you’re making or saving money. Prove your worth and negotiate for fair compensation. Dental assistants often struggle to quantify their contributions, leading to undervaluation despite their pivotal roles in patient care.” 

Crafting a Cohesive Team: Vision Alignment

Creating a team that aligns with the practice’s vision is pivotal. Ronda emphasizes the significance of hiring team members who embody the practice’s values:

“People are the asset. A positive work environment stems from effective leadership and team alignment. However, finding individuals who resonate with the practice’s ethos is a daunting task, often leading to compromises that affect the team dynamics negatively.”

Grasping Small Business Basics

Ronda highlights the importance of understanding small business principles:

“Dental assistants must grasp the financial aspects. It empowers decision-making and contributes to practice growth. Despite this need, many assistants lack access to relevant education and resources, leaving them ill-equipped to comprehend the intricacies of running a dental practice as a business.”

Determining Worth: A Struggle for Some

Some dental assistants, especially newcomers, need help to assess their value. Ronda advises quantifying contributions:

“New assistants might ask for high numbers, not knowing their worth. Demonstrate your value to negotiate fair compensation. This struggle often arises from a lack of mentorship and clear career progression paths, leaving assistants uncertain about their professional worth within the dental team.”

Conclusion: Turning Mistakes into Learning Opportunities

Financial missteps serve as lessons for dental assistants. Maintaining professionalism, separating personal ventures, and demonstrating value are key.

Dentists must invest in their team, fostering a supportive environment. Together, recognizing the value of dental assistants and navigating the financial landscape ensures practice success and exceptional patient care.

Thought Leadership Summary

In the intricate dance of dental finances, dental assistants often find themselves walking a tightrope, balancing personal ventures with professional responsibilities.

Acknowledging their value and investing in their growth fosters a resilient, high-performing team.

By understanding the financial intricacies and showcasing their contributions, dental assistants can navigate this complex terrain with confidence, ensuring their worth is recognized and celebrated.

Until next time, keep learning, keep exploring, and fuel your dental dreams with knowledge!

Keep Reading: Dental Assistants, the Unsung Heros of Dentistry

Ronda Holman

Ronda Holman

Ronda Holman found her passion for dental assisting while in the Air Force. She assisted in oral surgery, general dentistry, and ended her four-year service as a prophy tech, the military’s version of a dental hygienist. She married and spent 13 years traveling the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Each time Ronda relocated she got the opportunity to work in a new dental office, where she picked up pearls that have helped her become an expert in educating dental assistants. Her interests are immediate denture/partial fabrication, CEREC technology, patient education, and striving for optimal chairside skills. Ronda believes that every dental assistant has the potential to be a rock star assistant if given the right tools and guidance.