If you ask any Dental Hygienist what the worst part of school was, most will say "Patients!" Finding patients, having them show to their appointments, and meeting the proper clinic requirements is hard. Here are a few tips for finding patients in your area.
1. Ask for referrals. If you have a great patient in your chair, either with great calculus, friendly, shows up on time, or is a requirement that you need for that semester, ask for referrals! Their family or friends are usually in the same periodontal health. Plus, you’ve already built a great relationship with this patient and they are likely to refer their loved ones to see you.
2. Sometimes after a long appointment, patients just want to get out the door and don’t have anyone to refer to you. One thing you can do is call your patient that evening or the next day to check up on them, find out their pain level, and answer any questions they may have. At that time, mention that you have openings and you are looking for patients. Sometimes being in a different setting will spark an idea in your patient on who needs to been seen by a hygienist.
3. Have fliers or cards printed with some basic information and always keep them on you. If someone shows interest in being a patient, get his or her information. Then you can contact them to make an appointment instead of waiting for them to call you.
4. Whenever you schedule a patient, ask if they can come in last minute. You never know when you’ll have a cancellation, so having a list of patient who can come in with a few hours notice will make the mad rush of phone calls less stressful.
5. As you are scheduling, tell patients that their services will be free if they bring you 5 names and phone numbers of people that are interested in being seen at your dental hygiene school. You'll end up paying for their services out of pocket that day, but they could give you a great patient pool to call and schedule.
What did you do to find patients while in hygiene school?