Mis-en-place. Do your prep work.

Mis-en-place is a French culinary term which means putting in place or everything in its place. It refers to the set up required before cooking, and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organising and arranging the ingredients that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift.

It transfers well to Dentistry (and many other fields), as a dentist I tried to ensure that my surgery was “closed down” for the night with everything ready to start the next morning. All instruments were autoclaved, notes, X-rays, letters and lab work were all to hand and had been checked. The paperwork from the day before was either completed or was in its rightful place.

It means that everyone knows what materials, instruments and other resources are required before starting a case; one of my clients tells me that his nurse must often leave the surgery because something else is needed. When the “something elses” are repeated day in, day out there is something going on. Time to learn about mis-en-place. Not to embrace this means that you will operate at the speed of the slowest team member – not a recipe (excuse the pun) for success.

The lead for this must come from the top, if you’re a mess your business will be a mess, if you get behind with paperwork, so will everyone else, if you roll in late and unprepared, then don’t be surprised if your team and colleagues do the same.

It means that if the first patient has an appointment at 8.00am you and your team are ready, poised and smiling at 7.55.

Anything else means you’re not taking things seriously.


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