Melissa Taylor explains how dental teams need staff training to get your practice back up to speed after COVID-19.
As employers, we have a responsibility to ensure our team are safe at work. Well led and effective staff training is crucial in helping achieve this. Guidance is constantly changing and updating, and staff training never stops. It is an ongoing process you need to consider before, during and after opening.
Dental teams have been following previous guidance. But with new levels of PPE, patient processes and practice protocols, the team needs involvement in additional staff training early on to ensure they are aware of all changes.
Give staff reasonable notice for staff training and make certain they are happy to return. If not, explain all the processes you are putting in place to try and reassure them.
Team members must be aware of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in their practice. They must read and have an opportunity to ask questions before starting work. You should carry out a practice risk assessment and a risk assessment on all team members. Practice risk assessments should be made available to the team to review and comment. A COVID-19 lead needs establishing and everyone aware of who this person is.
Staff training with PPE
Practices can employ different staff training modalities including theory, practical and videos.
You can demonstrate donning and doffing of PPE prior to starting work and every team member given opportunity to practise themselves. The location for donning and doffing and the processes in this area should be demonstrated.
Practices should carry out fit testing of FFP2/FFP3 masks carried out by appropriately trained individuals on all your clinical team members. This ensures everyone is safe to carry out an aerosol procedure on a patient when needed.
Practices should also demonstrate the patient flow and role play used for the whole team. The use of videos made both in-house and available online (eg PHE donning and doffing) should be played to the team.
Record a signature of attendance from all members of the team. You may find it helpful to video the staff training to look back on and refer to. Also, confirm previous staff training, including medical emergency protocols and location of emergency kits. It has been a few months since some team members will have been in the practice.
This is a whole team effort and individuals must work well together to maintain standards and meet requirements. The team should be able to adapt. Staff should be aware of all roles in the practice so they can help if needed.
This is an incredibly stressful time for the whole team. We must be mindful of our team’s physical and mental wellbeing at all times. Review processes regularly and ensure everyone is up to date with the latest changes. Webinars/Whatsapp groups/phone calls are important to stay in touch and ensure you support and lead the team.
‘Take it easy’
As we have opened our practice and spent a few days seeing patients, I can advise your team will need more time and support than you think.
Take it easy to start with, review and adapt, allow time for ongoing staff training and keep your team involved throughout.