Is this the life of a Dentist, or just you and me?
Some of my most inspiredwriting comes at 2:30 am. I have woken up many times and the things that keep me up at night are my inspiration for writing this blog and for the music I write.
I lie awake tonight thinking about a couple of my customers. As usual, I will play with analogies here (drives Andree, my wife crazy)– so back and forth I may talk about my ‘patients’ as customers.
I know some of the things that keep you up at night. My best friends are Dentists – and I have had many heart to heart discussions. This blog is here to let others know we are all the same, and sometimes we need to wear each others shoes to feel some empathy.
Co-workers keep us up at night. One of the biggest issues I see in an office is lack of leadership, which leads to a lack of team harmony. Consider your boss and how they feel.
Some of the most difficult situations we deal with in life is how we work with others. Dentists are trained in school to perform dentistry – not how to handle Human Resources. You may be frustrated with situations that arise at work, but I know that many bosses take these issues home and lose sleep. I have always personally found that finding ways to work well with others is much better than putting the onus on the boss. Instead of confronting the boss with problems, find your own solutions to work better as a team.
I know this type of team work in an office would help everyone sleep better.
Overhead keeps us all up at night. We all have bills to pay – rent,mortgage, car payments. In the case of a business owner a day off or a holiday are huge expenses because even when you have no production your expenses keep rolling along.
The investment made in a dental practice is huge. First the many years of education can cost upwards of $200,000. After that, you have several years of ‘associating’ and honing your skills. During this time a dentist will have to build their client base and again make some financial sacrifices in earnings.
If and when you decide to open your own business – the costs add up very quickly. If you buy an established practice you can be in for 6 months to a years gross of the business and maybe add in the cost of capital expenditures. I am finding the average new practice is costing anywhere from $600,000 to $1.5 Million. This is stressful because you are not only committing to a large amount of money – but you are committing to keeping people employed, committing to a landlord for rent, committing to several business to supply you. All this money going out the door and you have no guarantee that a patient will even come in tomorrow….that is stressful – kinda like buying a big house and hoping your new job is going to work out!
As a business owner – you need to make sure your business is profitable and costs are kept in line. As a staff member, please understand that the largest portion of money earned in a practice is already spent on wages. Becoming a very efficient employee is key to a successful business and successful businesses treat their team members very well.
Besides all the staff and overhead – the reason we were all here was for the customer (patient). We truly care and are proud of what we do. We want to offer our highest level of skill and give the patient a great experience.
The most rewarding day is when a customer (patient) accepts our treatment plan and brings back friends and family to see us. We know we have done a good job. It hurts our feelings when our patient walks out the door questioning our skills and perhaps goes across the street to get a second opinion.
Ummm…..we are all the same.
Apply the ‘we are all the same’ analogy here for someone in my shoes…or for a staff member providing their highest skill level.
We all like the appreciation our patients show us by accepting our treatment and rewarding us by paying the bill. Not only that but telling others about what a great job we did.
We are all the same.
What keeps you up at night? Are you worried about the sensitivity your patient was experiencing? Are you worried about how long that extraction took, or how traumatic the experience was? Are you concerned about the crying child in the chair? How about the patient that you know will question everything you are telling them – when you know for sure they will have major oral health issues if they are not treated soon….
This is what keeps us all up at night.
We all want to do our best.
We all hope to gain loyalty and be rewarded.
We all love to be thanked for a good job.
We all lose sleep over our patients, our overhead and our co-workers.
I sincerely believe that by always performing at my highest level, continuing to improve that I will gain loyalty and be rewarded. I sincerely believe that by giving back as much as I get – not being greedy – that the rewards become much richer than just financial gain. I sincerely believe that by appreciating others, that they will learn to appreciate me.
When I give all that I can –I am confident that I get it back, and I can now go back to sleep…….
Success in Dentistry andLife.