Editor’s note: Thank you to our readers and contributors for allowing the New Dentist Now become a platform for new dentists to share and learn about their experiences and insights. If you would like to contribute, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to 2022!
As I start my endo residency … luckily, I haven’t forgotten everything that I learned in dental school. There’s a few lessons I’m bringing with me this time that I’ve picked up along the way.
Here’s four important lessons that I learned in dental school and in my years practicing as a general dentist.
As a health care professional, it is my duty to trust in the scientific method and to do what is right for my community by getting vaccinated. It’s important for us as dentists to be role models for our community to help end this pandemic by getting vaccinated if we are healthy and able to do so.
Many concepts on changing behavior are easy to understand but hard to put into practice. If happiness comes from changing behavior, how can we put these concepts into daily practice?
As my training progressed, I began to notice small changes in how I practice dentistry and also in how I view my profession. My days began to feel less stressful as I started to become more mindful with each patient I treated. The mindfulness allowed me to notice patterns when diagnosing and treating patients and challenged me to do things like think of alternative treatment options or have deeper conversations with each patient.
For me, this past year meant taking a hard look at my values and goals and attempting to align those with my professional interests. I was an associate at a thriving practice pre-COVID-19, and then suddenly I found myself out of patients, out of integral necessity to the practice, and out of enthusiasm to keep my head up. I knew I had to make a change or I was going to be facing some serious mental struggles.
We have a problem. There is a troubling gap between the medical and dental communities when it comes to cancer care. As a result, health care providers and their patients alike experience a great deal of frustration regarding the lack of dental care available to patients with cancer.
Contrary to what most people think, leaders aren’t born, they are made. Some of it comes with experience, other times it is learned. My personal goal is to one day become the most compassionate leader possible, to both my work family and my home family. Fulfilling this big hairy audacious goal means committing every day to reflecting, pivoting and learning.