Happy Employees- My employees are the lifeline to the practice. Patients interact more with my staff than myself. They should be well trained and able to treat everyone with respect. I’ve left many medical practices because of the way the staff treated me and not the doctor. I never want that to happen in my practice.
As a part of our interview series with prominent medical professionals called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Highly Successful Private Practice” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Nicolas deFabrique.
Dr. Nicolas deFabrique owns deFabrique Aesthetic Dentistry in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Miami and went on to receive his Doctorate of Dental Medicine at Boston University before attending the New England Medical Center/Tufts University to undergo his general practice residency. Since 1999, he has enjoyed making his patients feel at ease while providing high-quality dental care and is a member of the American Dental Association and North Palm Beach Dental Association.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you ended up where you are?
I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field. Growing up, I talked to many physicians and dentists and I noticed the dentists loved what they did and seemed to be able to spend more time with their families. This is the main reason I went into dentistry. Once I finished college, i was accepted into Boston University’s Dental School and moved to Boston in 1995. I loved Boston and stayed up there for a couple of years after my training. Eventually, I had enough of the cold weather and moved back to Florida.
I’m a huge fan of mentorship throughout one’s career. None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Who has been your biggest mentor? What was the most valuable lesson you learned from them?
My mentor would have to be the dentist in chief at Tufts Dental Facility, which is where I did my residency. He always spent time getting to know patients and staff. Not only did he teach me dental skills, he also taught me very valuable inter-personal skills. I am honored to say that he now calls me his dentist and I am reminded with each visit how he treats everyone with respect when he interacts with those in my office.
What made you want to start your own practice? Can you tell us the story of how you started it?
After dental school, I worked with some of the best dentists in the Boston area, all of whom were faculty members from Tufts University. They gave me confidence early on in my career. I perfected my dental skills by watching them closely. I spent several years learning the business side of dentistry. Once I decided to leave Boston, I felt I was ready to start my own practice.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I am just amazed by how technology has changed since I graduated from dental school. I love to explain to people that we no longer need to put impression material in their mouths. I love to watch patients’ expressions when I tell them I can give someone their confidence back by doing veneers the same day in the office.
Because it is a “helping profession”, some healthcare providers struggle with the idea of “monetization.” How do you address the business aspect of running a medical practice? Can you share a story or example?
Dentistry is very expensive! I purchase the highest quality materials and give our patients the best experience possible. I do like to give back to the community. I work closely with volunteers in medicine and provide free care for patients who are lacking confidence because of their smiles. I have helped many patients restore their smiles and get back on their feet.
Managing being a provider and a business owner is a constant balancing act. How do you manage both roles?
This is very difficult. I have to say my wife helps me tremendously with the business aspect of running the practice. She keeps things very organized for me and allows me to focus on patient care. She streamlines the business issues for me once I’ve completed my appointments with patients.
From completing your degree to opening a practice and becoming a business owner, your path was most likely challenging. Can you share a story about one of your greatest struggles? Can you share what you did to overcome it?
The most challenging time was early on in my career when I caught my office manager stealing from the practice. It taught me to double-check everything and not be complacent.
Ok, thank you. Here is the main question of our interview. What are the 5 things you need to know to create a thriving practice, and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Happy Employees- My employees are the lifeline to the practice. Patients interact more with my staff than myself. They should be well trained and able to treat everyone with respect. I’ve left many medical practices because of the way the staff treated me and not the doctor. I never want that to happen in my practice.
- Work hard to earn the trust of your patients. Every patient is different. I spend time trying to get to know what patients’ concerns are and try to formulate treatment based on their main concerns.
- Listen- Patients know their mouths. You have to listen to symptoms and never rush them. It is very easy to diagnose an issue if you hear what they have to say.
- Treat all patients with respect. Many patients come into the office very nervous and sometimes they may be perceived as rude and not very friendly. In many instances, if these patients are given respect and felt heard, they will turn out to be long-lasting patients of the practice.
- Do not sell dentistry!!! Do what the patient needs. Dentistry is a health profession and patients should not feel like they are being pushed treatment they are not interested in. My job is to discuss needs and how to address them.
As a business owner you spend most of your time working IN your practice, seeing patients. When and how do you shift to working ON your practice? (Marketing, upgrading systems, growing your practice, etc.) How much time do you spend on the business elements?
I spend hundreds of hours every year on continuing education to learn new technology and learn about different ideas on how to market new advancements in dentistry. Most of the time is spent on the weekends by traveling to conferences.
I understand that the healthcare industry has unique stresses and hazards that other industries don’t have. What specific practices would you recommend to other healthcare leaders to improve their physical or mental wellness? Can you share a story or example?
Mental wellness is very important in any profession. I have found that by surrounding myself with a positive hard-working team, I am able to be very productive at the office without feeling overwhelmed.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant in your own life?
A quote I have always tried to live by is to “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” This is a motto I follow in my personal life as well as my professional life. By doing this, I have been able to connect with people from all walks of life and learn a great deal from so many of them!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these great insights! We wish you continued success and good health!