Jan Johnson and Kara James are an integral part of the core staff at Cavanaugh & Nondorf Orthodontics, where they do their best to keep the office running smoothly day-in and day-out.
Johnson is the Treatment Coordinator and James is the Insurance/Financial Coordinator. Together, they bring decades of experience to the office and help make sure patients get an ideal experience. Both are natives to the Region, though Johnson has bounced around the country some over the years. Johnson joined the team shortly after returning to the area back in 2018.
“I had spent most of my career working in the optical field,” Johnson said. “In 2016, I had a career change and thought I’d retired. I tried that and I wasn’t ready, but trying to find a job when you’re over 50 isn’t all that easy. I was fortunate to start my dental career in a small office in Bloomington, Illinois but my hometown was calling me back. So I sold my house and here I am, loving every day.”
She constantly finds ways to apply her old work experience to her work at Cavanaugh & Nondorf, where she helps patients understand their treatment options and financial solutions.
“In both the optical and dental professions you deal mostly with the public, and they look for consistently outstanding customer service,” she said. “It is important to me that patients feel that they matter during the time they are spending with me.”
James joined the staff a few years earlier, with a prior background working in dental offices.
“I originally thought that I wanted to be a teacher or to go into medicine,” she said. “I attempted nursing school and figured out that it wasn’t for me, and so I decided to try the dental field. Now, I’ve worked on both sides of the dental office – as a dental assistant and in the financial area.”
Numbers and finances intimidate a lot of people, but James was always drawn to the work.
“Insurance is very scary to some, but I love it,” she said. “I love numbers and problem solving, and there’s a lot of that when I take care of with all the insurance and financial matters in our office. I also love helping our patients afford braces and work with what fits their budget.”
She also loves to watch their patients transform throughout their visits to the office.
“I love seeing the transition of our patients,” she said. “I get to see their starting smiles, and then see them again after the braces come off.”
Many of their patients are children, and Johnson shares James’ enthusiasm for seeing their smiles.
“I love talking to and getting to know the kids,” she said. “They love looking at the x-rays and pictures of their teeth. Kids ask some really good questions and can tell some really good stories. I laugh every day!”
Both James and Johnson shared their admiration of the culture the doctors Cavanaugh & Nondorf have cultivated at the office, and the patient care philosophy they practice.
“They’re sincere in the way they care for their patients, whether they are 7 or 70 there’s a genuine concern for everyone’s treatment,” Johnson said.
James noted their commitment to their local roots.
“The special thing about them is that they are both Valparaiso natives,” she said. “They continue to be part of the community, and offer early morning, evening, and Saturday appointments to accommodate their patients.”
Johnson noted that it is the teamwork from her, James, the doctors, and everyone else in the office that helps make Cavanaugh & Nondorf such a special place to work.
“Everyone here has an important role,” she said. “Without everyone’s knowledge and experience we wouldn’t be the awesome practice that we are.”
To learn more about Cavanaugh & Nondorf Orthodontics, visit www.cnorthodontics.com.