Shift your approach in order to sustain a long-term career.
Career burnout can occur for any professional, but is often linked to the dental profession because of its high-stress work-related circumstances. Dentists often struggle because of high education and practice loans, stressful patient loads, and a lack of a professional support system. Dentistry offers numerous wonderful opportunities for work advancement and self-fulfilment, but many dentists need guidance on shifting their patient care approach to sustain a long-term career.
A dental practice culture or environment is important in showing how you and your team view dentistry and relay this to your patients. We all have those overwhelming days with emergency visits and patients frustrated because of extensive dental needs or high out-of-pocket costs. What can be done to change the way patients react to dentistry needs and alter how we react to difficult personalities?
Creating an atmosphere that focuses on preventive care, education, and maintaining good oral-care habits will shift your patients’ education and attention and change the way your office operates. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid dental career burnout and enjoy the benefits that the profession offers.
1. Avoid burnout by developing healthy work environment habits.
Work with your team on developing healthy work habits like team meetings, team breakaways to discuss patient care, and encouraging a positive environment. Since most people spend a majority of their week with their work family, it is best to focus on teamwork and connect to your staff during lunch or outside of work. A healthy work environment will have a positive direct impact on your attitude and productivity. You as well as your team will then find a sense of purpose instead of dreading an average workday.
2. Expand your dental horizons.
Whether you are a general dentist or a specialist, your day-to-day operations can become repetitive. A good way to keep your mind fresh and avoid burnout is to expand your dental knowledge. Learn about a new technique or material by scheduling a demo or lunch-and-learn for your team. Schedule an online orthodontic course to broaden your scope of practice. Adding orthodontics to your practice is both beneficial in a financial and personal sense. You will appreciate the new knowledge and your patients will recognize your achievements in offering the newest treatment.
3. Avoid burnout by connecting with dental colleagues.
A majority of dentists report how isolating dentistry can be because of a lack of professional support. This often occurs in small solo practices where there is no connection to others in your profession. The American Orthodontic Society offers two courses per year to help dentists and orthodontists get introduced to the latest topics in orthodontics. Signing up for Continuing Education orthodontic courses like the Basic Straight Wire Orthodontics Course offers a way to connect to colleagues, advance your education and techniques, and develop a personal support system.
4. Diversify your career.
After years of practicing clinical dentistry, it can easily become monotonous. A good way to avoid dental burnout is to take advantage of the dental profession and all of the career avenues it offers. Career options outside of practicing clinical dentistry include volunteering at a dental school, becoming a dental instructor, working in clinical and science research, becoming an insurance auditor, and working in dental public health. Working outside your routine position and taking a possible passive income may help motivate you and encourage you to have a new perspective in dentistry.
5. Avoid burnout by investing in you.
It is without question that working as a dentist can be stressful and taxing physically, emotionally, and financially. Dentists need to make an effort to work on themselves whether it be taking a vacation or maintaining hobbies and relationships. The toll of not taking time for themselves outside of practicing can cause burnout and stress that is felt at work and home. Carving out time for yourself will make you feel more like you and give you a sense of mental improvement.