By Christopher T. Cooper
Dentistry is a tough profession, with long hours punctuated by difficult procedures that require high levels of technical expertise and concentration. It’s not surprising that burnout among dentists is high.
There are other mitigating circumstances, too. Dentists have studied hard for years to gain the level of professional expertise and recognition to practice. And if a dentist goes into solo practice, the environment can be a little isolated at times. Wellness in the dental profession is a hot topic.
Maintaining a healthy state of mind and body when practicing dentistry is of paramount importance. Here are three tips to contribute to positive wellness for dental professionals.
For the most part, dentistry is a sedentary profession. Most of the day is spent sitting, and this can lead to various health issues. It’s important to check the ergonomics of your furniture to ensure you are lessening the risks of back and neck problems, which can become commonplace.
However, getting active at work can be a little tricky. A quick solution is to have a treadmill or exercise bike in the office that you can use before your first patient arrives, or even between patients. Having a private room where you can work out and then take a shower would be ideal, but resources may be limited.
Of course, this solution could be bettered by taking the time to get out and about, getting some fresh air while doing that all-important exercise. Look closely at your schedule and see how you can change things to fit in these important “me” sessions, which are vital to your physical and mental health. It may mean that you have to see a couple less patients a week, which although may not reflect well on your bottom line, is small change in comparison to not being able to work due to any health complications that can arise from failing to take adequate care of yourself.
“I always recommend active hobbies, especially if you work in a sedentary job. It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme, just some hiking or riding a bike. But the value of these activities is essential to your well-being, and helps create an effective balance in your life that we must all strive for,” recommends Brady Ozinski, a business blogger at BritStudent and WritemyX.
Surround Yourself with People
The social side of work is so important that it might be worth making a few changes in order to satisfy this need for human interaction. Make sure you employ a full support team and encourage interaction between the team. Engage with patients as much as you can and think carefully about sharing the practice with other professionals, ensuring you get to spend time with other individuals who are familiar with the trials and tribulations of this kind of high-skilled work.
“Create a social atmosphere in your practice with plenty of opportunities for interaction. Have social nights together and really build the strength of the team, which is so important for everybody in a workplace. The mental benefits of such steps cannot be underestimated,” warns Carole Franks, a health writer at Australia2write and NextCoursework.
Take Plenty of Time Off
Many solo practitioners are, by nature, workaholics. This will end up having a seriously detrimental effect on your wellness, and at the same time will have a hugely negative impact on your ability to earn in the long term. Think about the bigger picture — in order to sustain your career, it must be handled carefully.
Don’t let others judge the amount of time you take off. Chances are, as your own boss, you have the power to make these decisions, so choose what’s better for you, and then ultimately what will prove better for your patients as well, which is a professional who works at the top of his or her game when you are present. Sharing the practice with other dentists can help unburden the load here, too, as you can pick up each other’s patients at times when others are away, and generally all work toward a more productive practice that isn’t dependent on just one individual.
Entrepreneur, writer and editor Christopher T. Cooper is an expert in many facets of modern business practices. He is an editor at PHDKingdom and AcademicBrits, and a regular contributor to OriginWritings.