Environment & Hospitality | Global Perspective

The Long Road to Dentistry

Lacie N. Bourland, MBA, M.Ed., CPXP
Senior Director, Development & Strategy
BlueTree Dental

Is it a long road to dentistry or more of a roundabout into dentistry?  Either way, here I am!

My name is Lacie Bourland. I am a 40-something single parent of the most beautiful seven-year-old girl. I am a rural native of Nevada and have spent the last 20+ years in healthcare. I’ve had the opportunity to work in skilled nursing and rehabilitation, radiation oncology, and now dentistry.

The journey to dentistry started with a newspaper and a young girl. The CEO of Bluetree Dental, Steve DeLong, and I met when I was 20 years old. I worked for and with him at the Reno Gazette-Journal. He recruited me to Bluetree in April 2021, and I joined the team in July that year. 

Working in healthcare, I’ve experienced a lot of incredible wins and also learned a lot of hard lessons along the way. I found The Beryl Institute when I was working in the oncology space. We had committed to identifying the patient journey and working together to make it better, more seamless, and as cohesive as possible.

In the oncology space, I acted as a patient navigator at times, listening to the stories of woe in having to navigate the medical system, all the highs and lows and in between. In that space, I also found my passion for teaching, training, and mentoring. It was then that I decided to go back to school and achieve my Master’s in Education, Instructional Design. My entire framework and capstone surrounded the patient experience. I referenced the Patient Experience Journal countless times!

The passion I have for ensuring patients get what they need, how they need it, and as quickly as possible is unwavering. I’ve lived it with them or for many, many years. It was also in that space that I made the decision to become a Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP). While I achieved the certification while working in the dental field, it was the experience in oncology that propelled my desire.

Moving into the dental world, I found there’s a grey area between medical and dental. The dental space is healthcare, but there’s a time warp…a gap…opportunities, really. Opportunities to be at the forefront of patient experience in this arena. Our teams provide excellent patient care, but we have not truly defined what experience is at an organizational level.  

Having a visionary as our leader and CEO has its advantages. Steve is consistently thinking of ideas and ways we can show who we are as a Dental Support Organization (DSO). What is the Bluetree standard that sets us apart from all the other DSOs? The simple truth is that We Care More. We care more about our patients’ comfort, time, finances, and whole-body health. Not only do we care more about our patients’ experiences, but we care more about each other. Bluetree always has; we just haven’t been that great about speaking our truth.

Culture has been at the forefront of Bluetree’s mission, vision, and values. As Steve would say, “We are in the business of growing people also.” How do we speak our truth? How do we utilize the expertise of The Beryl Institute in our daily practices? Simple. We start at the practice level. We work with our frontline teams to speak their patient promise and their patient truth. We then start to incorporate those collective promises into our Care Guide, developing our own framework for the best patient experience in the dental space, pioneering the way for dentistry to lead the conversation on patient experience amongst our peers. 

Lacie Bourland has spent the last 20+ years in healthcare with experience in skilled nursing and rehabilitation, radiation oncology, and now dentistry.