Following a 10-year career in healthcare – particularly managing both NHS and private services for those with learning disabilities or terminal illnesses, Matt Hadman made the move into dentistry. Here, he discusses how his experiences helped him when he became a practice manager and in his latest role supporting dental teams…
My first role in dentistry was as practice manager for a well-established, successful independent practice, and as someone who was new to the profession it was a steep learning curve. One of the key reasons I was offered the position was due to my background of working in care homes, which means I have a wealth of practical experience and knowledge of the CQC.
As a practice manger I soon became aware that there is a real feeling of apprehension, and sometimes fear, among dental professionals about the CQC. I think some of that can be attributed to the fact that in dentistry you can go several years without having an inspection and the unknown can be scary, compared to my previous roles where there would be an inspection every nine to 12 months.
“I have a lot of experience in compliance and managing relationships with the CQC, and I genuinely believe that if you get to know your regional team you will find them to be very supportive.”
So, I have a lot of experience in compliance and managing relationships with the CQC, and I genuinely believe that if you get to know your regional team you will find them to be very supportive. I am now sharing that knowledge with the practices I am helping since joining Practice Plan as a Regional Support Manager (RSM) in February.
With my experience in practice being so recent, I am also very aware of the operational challenges the dental team is facing day-to-day. For example, in order to keep the practice growing and one step ahead of the competition, it is important to be proactive in terms of business development and marketing.
“In order to keep the practice growing and one step ahead of the competition, it is important to be proactive in terms of business development and marketing.”
This is not always an easy task as many practice managers are promoted from within, and therefore don’t necessarily already have the skills or previous relevant experience. Of course, these things can be learned but that requires time, inclination and, sometimes, money, all or some of which can be in short supply.
However, being proactive in marketing is something I am passionate about and believe that if you use your time and money well, it can be a key driver in growing patient numbers and practice income. It is something I did as a practice manager by instigating marketing campaigns, for example to promote the health benefits of facial aesthetics, which many patients were unaware of and is something I am looking forward to helping other practices to do.
I also implemented a referral card system, as I believe a tangible card encourages existing patients to refer rather than relying on their word of mouth and I was fully supported in this by my Practice Plan RSM at the time, Josie Hutchings.
Having Josie’s support while I was a practice manager was invaluable, and I learned a lot from her that helped me to run the practice effectively and which I’m also putting into good use with the practices I now support. For example, I’m passionate about building support networks with other local practice managers, as I know first-hand that practice management can be an isolated role within the team.
Although in some ways I stumbled into dentistry, I soon realised I had found my true vocation and know that I will never work in another profession. It is such an exciting industry, and I am genuinely passionate about being part of it and sharing what I’ve learned to help others succeed and make their lives easier.