The full range of use of your arms is particularly important when you’re training to be a dentist. So when Clayton McEntire broke his collarbone in fall 2009, he had a significant obstacle placed in front of him: How was he going to get the clinic time he needed his junior year?
Angela Rembert, then a patient-care coordinator, told McEntire the same thing she has told many dental students staring down adversity — “You will make it.”
Rembert, who was responsible for scheduling and confirming patient appointments for up to 17 students, worked with McEntire to make sure he would continue to matriculate through his junior year.
“When I broke my collarbone, I was pretty upset knowing that I’d have to cancel patients and get behind in clinic,” McEntire says. “Not only did she take care of all of my cancellations, but she built up my schedule when I was able to return so that I was able to get back on track.”
Rembert’s knowledge, drive and desire to help patients, co-workers and students like McEntire are a few reasons why she has been selected December’s Employee of the Month.
It’s the second employee award Rembert has been selected for this year; she was selected the School of Dentistry Employee of the Quarter in May.
“It’s just a great honor, and a total shock,” says Rembert, who was recently promoted to quality assurance officer of the dental school. “I thought I had it good when I was named Employee of the Quarter and got an upgraded parking space behind the building for three months. This is a great surprise.”
As patient-care coordinator, Rembert worked closely with students. Her influence went beyond just scheduling, collecting fees and confirming appointments. She was the main contact person for every patient of the 17 students she coordinated. Rembert also was the students’ mom away from home. If they needed encouragement or a shoulder to cry on, she was their go-to person.
“I really love the students,” Rembert says. “I worked closely with them and saw them every day. You hear their problems, and you try to help them. They don’t want anyone to see them cry, but they’ll let you see them cry. They have it tough; I just tried to be there when they needed me.”
Rembert was their guide through difficult times and in day-to-day clinic work.
“When the students get assigned to your group, they have an idea of what to do, but you have to kind of show them,” Rembert says. “They come to you to see what they need to do on how to handle the patient and treat the patient in some instances. You give them ideas, but it’s up to them to do it.”
Patients often lauded Rembert for her thoroughness and kindness in working with their schedules, too.
Bob Gendon was surprised when he answered the phone at 6 p.m. one evening and heard Rembert on the other end. She was calling to tell him an opening on the calendar opened up the next day and wanted to know if he was interested in moving up his appointment.
“I really appreciated this kind of professional service, because that particular week for me was jammed,” Gendon says. “You have to admit that this is going far and beyond the call of duty.
“If I owned a business, I’d be absolutely privileged to have employees with Mrs. Rembert’s positive attitude toward her job,” Gendon says. “Her kind of spirit in the workplace is what keeps companies alive and profitable.”
Co-workers share Gendon’s assessment.
“Angela is charming, happy and has an infectious personality — not to mention her amazing skills as a patient coordinator,” says Ginger Hattaway, director of finance and administration in the dental school. “When I visited Angela to thank her for her contribution to the school audit, I received a great deal of feedback from students and patients about how much they appreciate her for the excellent job she does. It really put in perspective what an exceptional employee she is and how much I appreciate her for what she does.”
Rembert’s recent promotion to quality assurance officer has changed her duties. She now works in the clinical affairs office and is responsible for clinical safety, including maintaining emergency kits, fire extinguishers, infection control and making sure students are wearing masks and gowns.
“If there are any incidents — a needle stick or if the patient is injured — I’m the person they come to,” Rembert says. “It’s really fun. I’m still here in the School of Dentistry, and I still get to interact with students.”