As a profession, we dentists have been challenged in many ways, at so many times, and we have responded with thoughtfulness, compassion, and caring. I am proud to be a part of a group of people who are willing to sacrifice so much just to care for our patients and communities. Let’s remember that we are a small group of highly trained individuals whose services will always be needed – we will bounce back from this.
So how can we navigate these times when practices are closed? After all, even the most introverted of dentists is used to interacting with people each day. I have a few ideas to help you stay positive through the coming weeks.
Work with your hands
Dentists as a group are happiest when we can create something beautiful and see the fruits of our labor. But what can we do when our primary creative outlet is gone?
Many of you enjoy seeing a piece of wood transformed into something beautiful and functional. Some of you thrive on turning a blank canvas into a work of art or a plot of land into a peaceful or productive space.
Whatever provides an outlet for your creative mind, explore it! Indulging your unique creative side will make the time away from the office much more palatable
Get things done
In the short term, you could view the forced downtime as an opportunity to do all the things you have put on the back burner. Every practice has a list of things they wish they could do, but have lacked the time or energy to tackle. Brush off your list and see what might be possible.
Taking proactive steps like these can help ease the panic and give you something to focus your energy on. Your staff will be thankful that you are looking to the future, and such steps might even build staff loyalty that will help you in the long run.
Use this opportunity to tackle projects you have put off.
For example, consider:
- Inventorying supplies – much easier to do when you’re not actively treating patients
- Deep cleaning – I know what the floor under the cabinets can look like. Just take a peek if you don’t believe me!
- Integrating digital charting and notes into your office – again, much easier when the office is closed
- Reviewing your policy and procedures manual and ensure your accounting practices are up to date – especially important if you are considering the sale or expansion of your practice (The ADA Center for Professional Success has resources to get you started)
Turn off the news
While it is vitally important to stay on top of current events, especially when they unfold so quickly, the news can be overwhelming.
Consider allotting yourself a 30-minute block in the morning and a 30-minute block in the evening for news. The rest of the day, force yourself to turn off the constant stream of information – it is too easy to give in to the temptation to view the world through the sensationalism that pervades many of our media outlets. This goes for your cell phone, too!
30 minutes of news, morning and evening, can be plenty.
You can always look for the most up-to-date information on ADA.org/virusresources to see how the current challenges are affecting our profession. Also, your state association is working hard on your behalf – check in with them to see what is happening locally.
Look towards the future
If you are currently facing the possibility of a career transition, this may be a great time to evaluate different options. You can accomplish this through ADA Practice Transitions in a safe, secure, digital format.
If you are simply contemplating a change, use the time to have heart-to-heart discussions with your family about the best way to move forward. Take the opportunity to connect with former colleagues or classmates to discuss their career paths and what they have learned along the way.
We have resources to help you explore the many possibilities available to you. Join our virtual Coffee Talks group to connect with others navigating similar transitions during these times, check out our Know Your Options ebook, or feel free to email us with any questions.