What's a Funny Girl Like You Doing in a Boring Job Like Dentistry?
I grew up in Minnesota and will always be a Midwest girl at heart but, over the last decade I now call Pennsylvania home. I currently work part time in a group practice but I’ve worn many hats in the dental field…practice owner, associate dentist, community clinic provider, academic instructor, coach and expert speaker. But my favorite hat I wear is…Mom.
...what's my burnout story?
About 10 years ago, I started having thoughts that I could not explain. It was early into building my practice and I found myself really starting to dread going into work. But, as a mom....and a responsible one on most days....I soldiered on and did what I had to do with a fake smile on my face. When asked how I was doing, I said “I’m fine,” not wanting to burden anyone else with my discontent. After a long work day, I would feel beat up....feel alone....and feel like there was something wrong with me. This was not the dream I had when I was in dental school. See, when we began our journey into dentistry….it was like starting a new relationship.
Dental school was like dating. We were wooed by the prospects of money, the prestige of being a doctor, the recognition and appreciation of our talents and intelligence.....helping better the lives of an immeasurable amount of people. We fell in love. We loved dentistry. Now, after almost 20 years in, our money dreams focus on overhead, insurance write-offs and loans. We are told “You're not a doctor-doctor...you're just a dentist.” We often don’t get the appreciation we feel we deserve from patients for our back-breaking work. This can wear a girl out. I was unhappy, felt like I failed in this career, this relationship I had with dentistry. Why didn't I love it like other dentists I saw online boasting about how successful and fulfilling their lives were? I was contemplating if I needed …..a dental divorce.
So like any clinician, I started researching, getting my hand on any books, seminars, forums, and groups that may shed insight…..and it worked. I realized I was suffering from professional burnout. Suddenly, I saw that I was not alone with my thoughts, frustrations and fears. Trying to manage a dental career, a family, a body getting abused by what was necessary for our patients.....Yay!!!! Some of you may be just as messed up as I felt!!! I took action and began my journey in conquering my burnout story and rediscovering my love for dentistry. I began writing little humorist posts in a Facebook group where I would rant about the ups and downs of working in dentistry and I found that this concept of burnout was far more prevalent than it seemed. Many colleagues I spoke to felt ashamed, alone or embarrassed to admit that they had varying degrees of job dissatisfaction. That’s when I decided I would use my knowledge, my humor and my passion for helping people to start serving these people whom I respect so much….my fellow female dentists. I never wanted any woman to feel like she had to deal with this alone or to feel like she had no options for support available. Thus……I created The Brighter Life for Dentists.😊