KDA Today

KDA Today

For Immediate Release

Date: Apr 15th, 2016
Contact: Dr. Beverly A. Largent
Phone: 800-292-1855
Email: info@kyda.org

Love Never Fails

This issue is dedicated to the new dentist, so I have taken advantage of my position to give motherly advice. I could write pages upon pages of advice, but I have decided to take a que from St. Paul and his first letter to the Corinthians. Chapter 13 contains one of the most quoted sections of the New Testament, which is often read at weddings. You will recognize this as the definition of Love. Paul was writing to his congregation because of quarreling in the community, and his desire to teach them how to interact. Chapter 13 was never meant to define married love, or how to be a new dentist, but it seems to me it fits both, and I will plagiarize thoughts first presented over 1,900 years ago.

Be Patient. Neither Rome, nor your practice, nor your academic career will be built in a day. Time is required to build a reputation, and hone your expertise. News of your quality work will spread, one patient at a time. Each day is one day closer to your goal, and should be treated as a great prize, and an opportunity to build your future.

Be Kind. People know you by how you treat them. No one values a grouch who can produce great margins. Kindness evolves from caring. Genuine caring for your patients, placing yourself in their position, and having genuine compassion for their problems, dental or otherwise will make you the greatest dentist in the community. Kindness to your staff is money in the bank.

Do not be Jealous. You have invested many years in your degree. You have great potential. Don’t waste time with “I’m better than him—why don’t I make more money?” or “I’m a better dentist—why did the patient choose her?” Focus on yourself, your abilities and your professional development.

Do not brag. No one likes a braggart. The stories are stale. You are far more valuable if you focus on the needs of your patient or your colleague. Listen. It will improve you and everyone’s vision of you.

Do not be arrogant. The secret to good communication and treatment plan acceptance is placing yourself on the same level as the patient. Speak their language, try to understand their wishes and desires and don’t ever talk down to a patient. Do not let your enthusiasm for your new degree allow you to believe you are an expert. Your profession is called the “practice” of dentistry, and you haven’t had much practice.

Do not act unbecomingly. A certain amount of professionalism is essential. Not recommending a tie or hose, but a signal that you understand that doctor means teacher, and that you are up to the task. Remember that no matter how irrelevant you feel in the community, people are watching. Facebook is forever, so post with discretion.

Do not seek your own. Treat everyone well. You will be repaid over and over. There will be no need to be concerned about your welfare; you will prosper. Do not be provoked. Keep your cool. Dentistry is not easy. People are involved.

Do not take into account a wrong suffered. You could be overwhelmed with the math, if you count offenses. Patients can offend without their knowledge. One of my hot buttons is a simple question of the necessity of treatment I recommend. Many, if not most parents feel that baby teeth fall out, so they question the need to spend money and the child’s time fixing them. Even after thirty-plus years, I continue to bite my tongue before explaining (again) the reason for my treatment plan.

Do not rejoice in unrighteousness. As a new dentist you will have the opportunity to learn about the very diverse range of dental treatment delivered in your community. You will find practitioners whom you admire, and hope to emulate, and then there are the others. My guess is that in the middle you will see a lot of average. Don’t be quick to criticize. One big disadvantage of a new dentist is not being able to see your own work over a period of years. You too will have failures. You will, at times, be just average. That is a blessed day.

Rejoice with the truth. Do not be afraid to complement your competition. Find a reason to offer a compliment. The patient needs a reason to believe they make good choices—they chose you. Find a reason to compliment your patient. They need to hear a compliment, one that is truthful. Joyful people spread joy. Don’t let the opportunity pass to let your staff know what a difference they make in your life. Compliment yourself and evaluate yourself. Don’t let a negative remark from a patient evaporate, but take the opportunity to be truthful with yourself and make any necessary adjustments.

Bear all things. Dentistry is a wonderful profession. You have made an excellent choice. Everyone has a bad day. Sometimes you will have a bad week. The combination of tedious work, needy patients and a staff who have their own set of problems may seem more than you can bear. If you focus on the unhappy, you will not remember those patients who think you are wonderful, the moms who give you a hug, and the staff member who thinks you are the greatest. I cannot imagine another profession where moms see me in Wal-Mart, insist on showing the photographs of their adult children, my former patients, and thank me for making a difference in their lives. What could be better!

Believe all things. One of the most memorable continuing education programs I have attended focused on having a positive mental attitude. The presenter spent nearly five hours creating the scene for a positive mental attitude for the dentist and outlining the benefits. You are the leader and you will and can affect the mood in the entire office. The mood of the office directly influences the patients and how they react to you and your recommendations. If you do not believe in preventive dentistry, no one else will believe. If you do not believe in your skills, only your mother will be there to defend you. If you do not believe that today is the greatest day of your life, you will not be disappointed. Your future is up to you; make the most of it and believe in it. You will be more successful and healthier.
Hope in all things. I think in today’s conversations, we would speak of having goals, not of hope. Obviously, hope without action is ineffective. Know your goals. Commit your goals to paper, review them routinely and make necessary adjustments. I promise you will not be dissatisfied.

Endure all things. I remember well the very beginning of my career. I was certain that I could wipe out tooth decay, at least in Western Kentucky. I could not wait to get to the office. I have a more realistic view, today. I can make a difference in a few lives, pay my bills, live well, and maybe afford to retire. Along the way, I have worked late, opened the office after hours for emergencies that did not exist, sat idle because of broken appointments, paid penalties on taxes that were paid late, made the gut wrenching decision to terminate an employee, scratched my head over insurance contracts, and smiled through it all. You can too.
Love never fails.

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