Well, it sure has been a wild few months! With dental offices across Canada reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown, our team has been listening every day to our dental office, hygienist, and assistant members. We’re keeping a close eye on the dental temping and hiring environment as it evolves through these challenging times.

Here are just a few things we’ve learned now that we’ve surpassed 1000 temping shifts since dental offices reopened.

Trust matters.

Building and establishing trust and transparency has always been of great importance to us and our community. The pandemic has elevated everybody’s concern for trust, given the risk of providing dental care. Whether it’s patients trusting that offices will be safe, dentists trusting their booked temporary hygienists and assistants will work safely according to protocols, or that hygienists and assistants trust that offices to operate with the correct PPE and protocols.

One way we’ve ensured the highest level of trust and transparency is by updating our process for booking shifts so that offices must confirm and check off the PPE they are providing. This gives hygienists and assistants the opportunity to decide if they feel safe before booking the shift. To date, we have not had a single member leave a temping shift due to inadequate PPE at the office.

Dental professionals must work together and communicate.

As we’ve been listening to our members and the dental community, we’ve seen a slight rift form between dentists and hygienists regarding the reopening guidelines. As a temping and hiring service that serves all members of the dental profession, we have been able to see the many years of collaboration, teamwork, and respect that we know this industry needs to thrive. Don’t forget how far the profession has come, and how we all got here by working together.

We all have the opportunity right now to be supportive of our peers and colleagues who are all in the same difficult and trying time that we are. Empathy, communication, and teamwork will benefit all of us and our patients.

Within TempStars, we have made it easier for you to communicate with us through our in-app Help Widget and full-time member support team. Our lines of communication are always open so that we can hear your comments and concerns. 

Some people are still a bit nervous.

As provinces reopen dental offices, everyone is taking cautious steps towards a “new normal” life. Patients are still nervous to return for appointments, as are dental professionals for the sake of themselves and their families. As we see our curve slowly drop off and public health officials give us more green lights to return to work, we still have to be mindful and safe while working towards getting back to living.

Be patient with those who need to take it slower than others, and understand the reasons that some may be more eager to return. We can all work together to get back safely.

Dental offices are stepping up and eager to meet or exceed guidelines.

When the first provinces began reopening, it felt like unknown territory with the health guidelines. Would offices have enough PPE? Would they provide it for their staff or temps? What will the workplace look like? Well, now we are finding answers to those questions!

We are hearing consistent and increasing reports from our dental hygienist and assistant members that offices are meeting or exceeding PPE and new infection control protocols. Kudos to our dental office members for working hard to meet the requirements and thank you to our hygienist and assistant members for your feedback.

PPE is (thankfully!) getting easier to acquire.

Despite the early challenges, we are receiving information that the supply chain for acquiring the proper PPE to practice safely is getting easier to acquire.

Some healing needs to take place.

This pandemic has been a stressful and challenging situation for us all and has led to some negative feelings in some situations. In this environment when everybody is nervous, it’s easy to point fingers, become divisive, and generally not be our best selves. It’s clear that some healing needs to take place still for many and we just need to support each other through that.

We’re in an “employment shuffle”.

Our Job Board is seeing record numbers of postings and applications, and when we survey our membership, dental offices are indicating they are looking to hire new people to their team. Likewise, hygienist and assistant members are telling us they’re looking for new full-time work as well.

We’ll continue to keep our ear to the ground for industry trends, and of course always listen to our members so we can keep improving our service every day.

Hourly rates are in flux. 

Dental employment job markets definitely go through regular cycles of supply and demand. But, in this immediate Post-COVID re-opening, we’re seeing that hourly rates for dental hygienists and assistants are in a real state of flux.

We are fully engaged in trying to prevent ways for anyone taking advantage of circumstances within in membership, but there are unavoidable forces that are drifting up hourly rates among all dental professionals.

We have seen it all first-hand as we track trends in hourly rates across our temping connections. While some dental offices may be paying higher hourly rates for temping shifts right now, it’s important to understand the context of why and to respect how professionals value their time and their risk.

As dental professionals, we appreciate there a lot of factors that contribute to hourly rate trends, and we do have an intuitive sense that once summer winds down and we see more dental professionals returning to work, we’ll see some stabilizing of the hourly rates trends.

Onward and upward!

What a great few months it has been, listening to our members and nimbly adjusting our service accordingly, as news and feedback comes in. These trends are things we’ve noticed and we’ll be sure to keep all our members informed as the dental temping and hiring dynamics evolve.  It’s as great a time as any to be part of the dental profession, and we’re excited to be there offering support and resources to help us all succeed and get through this together.