I graduated from my dental college with no clue what to do next. Being a first-generation dentist, taking the decision of choosing a right path for myself was very overwhelming. All I knew was that hard work is the key and I have to prove that my degree will be a blessing to decades of service and growth. So to keep developing and improving my clinical skills, I joined a dental clinic as an associate dentist. I was a complete beginner then and now I am completing 1 year at the clinic.
Here are 5 crucial things that I learned professionally that even contributed majorly to my personal growth.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
‘It takes several years of hard work to become an overnight success’.
I was very underconfident when I graduated but as I worked on a daily basis at the clinic I realized that clinical confidence comes only with practice and experience. In my college days, I feared doing a root canal treatment and considered it as the most difficult procedure, however, I realized the only way is through it. Every time you fail at a procedure you have to give a pat on your back and try it again. Today root canal treatments have become a part of my everyday life and I enjoy it thoroughly.
Embracing and Accepting Feedback
In the beginning of your practice you encounter that patients don’t have enough time for your inexperience. Working in a real world sometimes felt like a big adjustment and was very daunting.
Accepting criticism and assessments of your work was not an easy task but I was very grateful that my senior doctors were really kind and patient. They made me understand that feedbacks are not supposed to be taken to your heart, they’re meant for your learning and growth. I did understand that no matter what I did in my college it will take a few months for me to get comfortable in my job. And once you start accepting and embracing the feedback rather rather than feeling bad about them, your understanding about dentistry increases.
Comparison is the Enemy of Joy
When I started working I really felt that my career path is quite slower than what I expected when I was younger. I started looking at what others were doing and achieving, which was definitely not a good option. Looking at others, comparing your work with others won’t bring us closer to our goals. I believe it is really important to remind oneself that you are just starting out and you have plenty of time to learn and grow. As you improve your craft and patient care you will perform better and achieve more.
Seeking support is a strength
Asking for help does not come naturally to all of us. I felt really nervous, and hesitant initially seeking help from others whenever I got stuck. But trust me the best way to grow is to lean on your mentors. They probably have experienced something similar and they know the way out of your problem. I was lucky enough to have super amazing mentors who guided me at every step and helped me through all the times when I got stuck in various procedures.
There isn’t a perfect way to do a specific procedure in dentistry
I believe dentistry is a profession where you are challenged everyday. The good part is challenges keep you alive. Whenever you get stuck in your case, you should know that there is another way out of it.We don’t learn all the ways a procedure can be carried out in our textbooks. You can learn several number of tips and tricks from your mentors by just observing them.These tips and tricks are not taught in our undergraduate training but you can definitely develop them with practice and your good observational skills.
I’d like to sum up by saying that transitioning from a dental college to your career as a dentist is not with an easy task, it comes up with various challenges and a learning curve. You have to use all the missteps as opportunities to improve your next step. Dentistry is dynamic profession you have to keep learning everyday and give yourself permission to acknowledge your progress time and again.