Editorial for August 2022 (Volume 5, Issue 8)
Stress believes in equality, because stress spares no-one! – Dr Nupur Shrirao
Global pandemics, countries going to war, inflation. Social media comparisons, family problems, health issues. From big to small difficulties, we are constantly absorbing and experiencing stressful situations. Add to this, the pressures of our profession are not hidden to us. From increasing the daily OPD and counselling all types of different patients, to managing staff or students effectively, along with maintaining a profitable cashflow results in a tense, stressful environment right inside our minds.
Global and personal difficulties may not be in our hands, but maintaining a positive workplace definitely is. Practicing stress free-dentistry is a must in today’s world – but how to achieve it? By using my 2 P’s principle!
Stress-free dentistry – The first ‘P’
Sometimes, you provide a gold standard textbook-level restoration to your patient. You are happy, it seems like a good day at work! Within minutes, the same patient leaves a negative Google review for your clinic with a 1-star rating. You wonder – where exactly you went wrong?
The review stated how the patient was extremely scared at each step but you didn't care. You did not explain anything to him and just went ahead with the filling in a rush. At the end of it, the patient said that he will continue to be fearful of dentists now, because you have confirmed all his fears.
It is a classic case of an anxious patient. Your best work of the month went unnoticed by the patient because you did not manage him according to his psychological need.
Such an experience can leave an ugly taste in the mouth and stay in the mind for days! Patient management can be the most stress-inducing activity at the dental clinic. We cannot follow only one rule book for all patients – because in the end, patients are people and every person is different. What we forget is that truly managing a patient is treating his pathology – along with caring for his psychology (the first P).
Exclusive 3-part patient psychology series
If we treat all patients taking their psychological needs into consideration, the practice becomes magically stress-free! In an exclusive 3-part patient psychology series, we will be discussing the 3 most difficult patient groups:
In a simple and practical guide for understanding geriatric psychology called ‘10 Do’s & Dont’s in Handling Geriatric Patients’, Prof Dr Smita Athavale (Prosthodontist and Geriatric Specialist) says understanding the challenges of the elderly in turn reduces our stress at work.
In an article titled ‘Applying Child Psychology for a Stress-free Dental Practice’, Dr Mriganka Sekhar Ghose (specialised in pediatric dentistry from RCS, Ireland) discusses psychological approaches aimed at reduction of dental anxiety in children, which in-turn ensures a stress free practice for dentist.
In one of his most popular concept briefs titled ‘Neuromarketing for Stress-free Dentistry’, Dr Rockson Samuel (digital marketeer and community leader, DentalReach) says that if you base the stressful activity of marketing on patient's psychology and emotions, the results will be way more positive.
(All article links at the end of the article)
Stress-free dentistry – The second ‘P’
Stress-causing patients are on the outside. What about the inside?
A calm but nervous patient walks in your clinic and explains his predicament. You offer a solution, but he does not understand it and you snap at him. He asks you about alternate treatment options which you explain very well, but he does not understand them again, and you get angry at him again. He apologises for not understanding at the first-go, takes an appointment for the next day, thanks the receptionist and leaves. You sit there, guilty and unable to understand why you snapped angrily at an overall well-behaved patient, when all he did was ask questions.
Sometimes, we blame our patients, our lab technicians, our assistants, our associates or our consultants for the clinic being a loss making mess. Sometimes, it is we ourselves who are the problem.
If we are stressed out because of non-professional issues, if we have not planned out things financially and if we don't know what to do if an anxious patient sits on the dental chair, our practice will be stressful inspite of a well meaning patient base.
An important aspect of stress-free dentistry is hence, planning (the second P).
Exclusive 3-part stress-free planning series
Knowing is one thing, applying is another. You may have to physically do things for it to translate into a stress-free dental practice. Planning is the only way to do this. In an exclusive 3-part stress-free planning series, we will be discussing the 3 most important plans:
In the article which inspired this issue theme titled ‘7 tips for Mental Detox from Dental Stress!’, Dr Shelly Prashar, (Esthetic dentist, Reiki grandmaster and life coach) urges us to detox your mind from profession-related stress by separating our emotions from reality.
Read 10 financial do's and dont's for dentists in ‘ Financial Planning for Stress-Free Dentistry’ where Dr Bhavdeep S Ahuja (Triple MBA in Hospital Management, Finance/HR & Marketing) discusses how financial planning is a must for mental security and minimal stress.
In a strategic therapy sheet titled ‘Top 10 ideas to handle dental anxiety’, Dr Madhulika Banerjee (PGT Periodontics & DR Brand Ambassador) discusses acceptable evidence-based therapies for anxious patients, a considerable stress source for the dentist.
(All article links at the end of the article)
Using the 2P’s – Psychology and Planning – achieving a stress-free practice is possible! I hope you liked my 2P’s principle. If you have any feed back on it, or wish to contribute an article, email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.