INTERVIEW | Darcy Shaw, Provisional Prosthodontic Instructor and Treatment Coordinator

Ever wonder what it’s like being a treatment coordinator, or a provisional prosthodontic instructor? Let’s take five and ask 5 top questions to somebody who knows. Enter: Darcy Shaw

She’s a Treatment Coordinator at Carrington Dental in BC, Canada. There are many routes you can take on your dental career journey, and Darcy seems to have taken quite a few of them.

She’s both a CDA as well as an SPDA (surgical periodontal dental assistant). Her vast amount of experience doesn’t stop there. 

Darcy is also a provisional prosthodontic instructor.

Before joining the team at Carrington Dental, Darc was the Clinical Coordinator at Alberta Children’s Hospital, Tom Baker Cancer Center, as well as Foothills Hospital in their Oral medicine and surgery.

Darcy is going to shed some light on what it’s like being a treatment coordinator and how she leveraged her career as a CDA to be successful. 

What is the most challenges aspect of being a patient care coordinator? 

The most challenging yet most rewarding thing being a treatment coordinator is going above and beyond for each patient that walks through our doors. 

Helping patients understand their treatment plan and assisting patients in making dental decisions takes organization and a little bit of magic.

I am kidding about the magic, but having worked in all aspects of dentistry, that type of education and experience helps me overcome any obstacle. 

Darcy CDA. SPDA

What skills or qualifications do you have that make you a good treatment coordinator? 

Being a treatment coordinator means you are wearing many hats. I think that being genuine, caring, and transparent are the top three characteristics that make a great patient care coordinator.

I have never stopped being a student. Starting as a dental assistant, I kept training and enhancing my education to the point where I became a dental instructor. 

From the day-to-day tasks like working with insurance companies and setting up payment plans for patients to the personal aspect of caring for patients like being empathetic, expanding your education will be the most significant benefit.

Is being a provisional prosthodontic instructor stressful? If so, how do you handle it?

I think there will be stressful moments in any job- especially in the medical industry. There are a lot of moving parts that make a dental practice run optimally, and that can be overwhelming at times. 

Having your patient cry because he or she needs dental treatment that is not covered by their insurance happens regularly. I handle stress very well. The key is to focus on your job and not get distracted. 

Do you have a strategy for making sure patients receive perfect care?

Perfect is such a strong word, wouldn’t you say? Every patient that comes to our practice has unique needs. They also come from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances.

The secret to being a great treatment coordinator, hygienist, or dental assistant is one thing: a genuine passion for helping others. 

Some patients are walking through the doors for routine cleanings and check-ups. Other patents are coming because they are experiencing dental pain and are looking to us to alleviate it.

Communicating with my coworkers is the strategy I use to provide excellent and effective dental care to our patients.

Our top priority in the office is to help the patient. Like a well-oiled machine, the dental practice operates efficiently when everyone works together to achieve that goal.

Final Thoughts

If I can say one thing to anyone entering the dental industry or those who are considering extending their education- go for it! This industry may be highly competitive, but it is also highly lucrative. 

Being a treatment coordinator, a hygienist, an assistant, and an instructor, I’ve experienced a myriad of roles in this industry. As you change and grow, so can your dental career.

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About the author

Heather Burton

Heather lives with her husband and two children in beautiful British Columbia. Her passion has always been to enhance the lives of others by helping them reach their own personal goals and accomplishments. Content management is her specialty, and writing is what she does best. Her love for helping others lead her to the cannabis scene where she saw an immense gap between patients and medicine that can help them.

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