Communication is key. I say it all the time. And this episode our guest lives and breaths it. This is a must listen for communication, dispute resolution and for all associates, which is most of you!

Dr Colm Harney is a general dentist practicing in Perth. He has gone on to complete multiple post graduate courses in communication and interpersonal skills and now finds himself in a unique position to be able to pass on these skills and information to dentists around the country, and world!

He does this through speaking and, most relevantly, in his fantastic podcast The Communicating Health Podcast. Colm uses this podcast as a platform to discuss communication with experienced clinicians in the health field.

This episode Colm was kind enough to invite me to his place in Perth, where I popped my live recording cherry. The conversation is packed with communication tips and relevant advice from his experience.

In this conversation we cover:

  • Colm’s background, early career and the baptism of fire that the National Health Service was in Northern Ireland when he started
  • How he coped but how being so busy affected him
  • How to approach both Negative and positive feedback
  • His experience with burnout
  • The lucky luxator (It’s an Ash luxator 7A – it is 23 years since I bought it. It is quite a wide tip and I now mainly use finer tips. I only usually get the 7A out now for a big fat canine or pal root of upper 6 – Colm)
  • Why Colm remains an associate and how to be an indispensable associate
  • Post op calls why and how
  • How Colm has found dentistry to get easier with experience
  • Post graduate studies in communication and how and what crossed directly over to dentistry
  • Conflict, managing complaints and what the patient is actually looking for when they do complain
  • How to listen properly – Non Verbal communication tips: the acronym SNORE. Sit square, Nods (facial expressions), Open body position, Relaxed, Eye Contact.
  • Empathy, a definition and the importance of this double edged sword
  • Who really owns the dental problems patient brings to us
  • The platinum rule, not the goldern rule for dentistry.
  • The importance of outside interests
  • Mistakes students make – how to use your FTA time
  • Advice for those about to graduate now

Links from the episode:

Prime Head Start – proudly brought to you by Prime Practice

The Prime Head Start Segment 5 is right after the feature interview and this episode it’s with Megan Sharpe, the compliance expert with Prime Practice. The word audit sends shivers down most dentists spines. But it is critical to healthcare and critical we’re on top of this stuff. Meg spends her time helping dentists ensure they’re compliant and if necessary helping them through audits. This is our responsibility, even if you’re an associate, the buck stops with you!

Meg shares her thoughts on handling an audit – Get safe, Be safe, Stay safe.

For Dental Head Start listeners, Prime Practice are offering their leading communication course, Primespeak, at 15% off for everyone and a massive 50% off for students and recent graduates. Check out to get your hands on the discount codes. 

BOQ Specialist

We’re also proudly supported by BOQ Specialist who offer a student banking package. Check that out here

The 4Sight Dental Journal

Learn more about 4Sight Dental and the 4Sight Live Podcast on Facebook and Instagram.

Sign up now to be the first to have access to the 4Sight Dental Journal, soon to be released

The Dental Head Start Podcast is for students and new graduates. We interview successful dentists and specialists to uncover the tips, tricks and advice to help you transition from dental school to private practice successfully.

If you like this content then I ask just one thing of you; share this with a friend who will benefit from this and help us help more students and new grads!

For every share and tag on social media, we provide dental hygiene to a child for a day. For every listen to the podcast, we provide drinking water to someone for a day. Find out more at

David is a recent graduate dentist working in private practice in regional NSW, Australia. Read more at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.