How to build a powerful clinical team

by Blog, Business growth

How to build a powerful clinical team    By Zac Fine. August 10, 2016.

Building a powerful clinical team for your dental practice isn’t easy but success is impossible without it. David Murnaghan, 33, is principal at Boyne Dental & Implant Clinic, which won best new practice in the 2016 Irish Dentistry Awards. We asked him what his secret was.

David, you have an outstanding team of 18 at Boyne Dental including four dentists, two hygienists, a GP and exceptionally good support staff. Where have you got them all from?

I’ve called on my personal network. All my dentists went to Queens University with me in Belfast. One used to supervise me, another was a couple of years below me and another was one of the best guys in my class. So personal connections really help.

So the trust was already there?

Yes we’re all mates, and friendship makes the team work better. Everyone wants to work together and for each other. In this new building they can see the investment I’ve put in so while they are working for themselves financially I believe they want this place to be successful and they understand that they need to ramp it up.

What makes your team special?

I agree with Steve Jobs whenever he said: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” The team is worth more than the sum of its parts because everyone has a different approach. Patients are all different so if you want to be able to look after everyone you have to have different styles and personalities — they can’t all be like me, although they do have to sing from the same hymn sheet. The bigger the team can grow the more strings to your bow you have to offer patients.

How do you promote clinical expertise at Boyne Dental?

We have a team huddle at 7.30am every day where we regularly show off cases to the whole team using photos and x-rays. It’s good for morale and encourages clinicians to step up and present their work. We also encourage all clinical staff to take courses and we’re as flexible as possible if they need time out to study. Probably one of my biggest roles is communicating where the demand from patients is to my clinicians, helping them to train in relevant areas so they can be more successful individually by increasing their gross, which of course also helps the business.

How do you keep team members motivated?

You have to dedicate time to each clinician as an individual. I have monthly one to one meetings with them to go through their personal key performance indicators and I share the broader business KPIs with them so they are encouraged to invest emotionally in the business. Most good clinicians will want that; they will want to know how they are doing and how the business is doing, and where it is headed. My experience is you don’t tend to get that personal touch working at big corporates and it can make a world of difference to your commitment and motivation, which is plain to see for patients.

How did your team get so good at customer service?

We have had training from Jonathan Fine who has installed a failsafe patient journey in our practice, breaking it down into the nuts and bolts of how you welcome the patient at the door, shake their hand, look them in the eye, sit them down and serve them refreshments and so on. Making the patient feel comfortable off the bat is crucial.

Are you looking for any more staff?

Yes, business is going well so we’ll probably have to recruit another dentist pretty soon. I think I have run out of friends from university so I’ll be out of my comfort zone. In fact, if you’re reading this and you’re an accomplished dentist looking to join a leading team in Ireland, please get in touch!

Boyne Dental & Implant Clinic is in Navan, Co Meath. For more information visit


“You have to dedicate time to each clinician as an individual”

David Murnaghan, principal at Boyne Dental & Implant Clinic

Author: Zac Fine