Dental school is what forms students into future clinicians. Successful graduation launches a successful career for most. The core education of dental school is crucial, but you’ll discover sooner or later that it doesn’t teach you everything you need to know. As your career moves forward, you’ll continue learning certain things. So, regardless of whether or not you’re in an established practice or just looking for your first clinic or office, there are a number of things you should know:
Patient care is far more important than your patient base is. Most dentists dream of the ideal plan where they graduate dental school, pay down student loans during their few years of working for someone else and then get rich with their own practice. Many probably expect to work in a fee-for-service practice, where every patient has the means to pay for all their needed dentistry. These lofty expectations can create disappointment later, as they wind up in an office whose core patients aren’t as ideal. If that was your own thinking, don’t let disappointment get you down. The individual care that you provide every patient is more critical than the larger patient base you’re providing it to.
When you treat various patients without worrying about any socioeconomic status they might have at the time, you’re able to ramp up your speed, adapt to an increased patient count, and perform increasingly complicated procedures, all the while enhancing cost-effectiveness and efficiency. You’ll gain both professional experience and self-confidence that eventually makes you stand out on your own.
Don’t go chasing a perfect schedule, because it just doesn’t exist. Disruptions are going to be a part of a normal day, and consistent focus is necessary to get through them. You’ll have far more relief when you realize that your ideal day will never happen, or just not happen that often. Then, you can cut it out with the frustration, free to deal with any surprises efficiently, promptly, and with a smile on your face. You’ll learn how important it is to convert an emergency into a full exam. Learn time management and practice it, rather than hoping for some smooth routine free of distractions or interruptions.
Never fear failure. Being afraid of failure can cripple you. A lot of dentists get anxious that making mistakes means patients aren’t going to like them. They also dread giving patients bad news or saying something they’d rather not hear, since they might think poorly of them and not come back. Facing your fears, even failures, is crucial in all areas of life, be it public speaking, romance, or just presenting a patient a treatment plan. If you never fail, you’re not pushing yourself enough. Seeking out challenges regularly helps you prevent fear from ruling your life, so you can grow as a professional, a team, and an entire clinic, practice, or office.
Communication always proves critical to a thriving practice. If things at your office are going through a downturn, take a look at enhancing your patient communications. Having said that, look at improving your communication with team members too. Altering your methods of communication can actually grow your patient pool and enhance the first impression your brand makes. You’ll cut down on no-shows and boost the acceptance of treatment plans. Additionally, team members that communicate smoothly with each other offer higher-caliber care with increased organization.
Do you know how to spell the word leadership? Try T, R, U, S, and T. In the end, being a great dentist isn’t enough to run a thriving practice. You’ll also be a leader, and you need to invest in the people surrounding you. That’s going to mean you trusting them, just as much as they need to trust you. There are quite a few dentists later in their careers who look back and realized they could have made better use of their assistants instead of juggling everything on their own. Delegate responsibilities to team members to illustrate your trust in them. Learn with them, help them out when they struggle, and let them have room to grow and learn, together and individually. Everyone on board benefits from this.
Dental school gives every student crucial skills they can use to make lives better, every day of their career. However, there are some lessons that don’t get learned until you’re a professional. You’re not going to have perfect days very often, but keeping in mind what you’ve read here and it will enrich the experience for you.