Establish standards of conduct for all staff. The operation of a safety net dental clinic requires personal contact and proper interactions with the public. Rude or insensitive staff or failure to maintain patient confidentiality can quickly destroy the reputation of an entire clinic, regardless of the quality of the clinical services provided. Disciplinary actions for such conduct violations should be discussed in the employee handbook and reviewed with each person during orientation.
Staff use of drugs or alcohol within the health care setting is prohibited for the safety of the patients and the reputation of the clinic; use is usually grounds for termination. Use of tobacco may also be restricted by the facility or by state or local laws. Prohibiting use of tobacco will protect staff and patients from the hazards of exposure to secondhand smoke, help to prevent accidental fires in the facility, and prevent unsightly spitting of snuff or chewing tobacco. Marijuana is becoming decriminalized for medical purposes or recreational use. However, even if marijuana is legal in your jurisdiction, you may still prohibit its use in your workplace.
Contractors and volunteers should be held to the same standards of conduct as employees. Volunteer agreements and contracts should reference the clinic's standards (i.e., the employee handbook) and spell out what actions the clinic will take if the standards are not met.