Entering official clinical practice and starting to care for patients presents a whole new set of challenges. The level of stress can be overwhelming for students, faculty and patients alike. Students are concerned about their requirements to successfully graduate. Faculty are engulfed in academic and curriculum responsibilities. Patients are often concerned about finances, the anxiety-triggering dental procedures and much more. In such straining circumstances, it is easy to abandon each other and to only focus on your own needs instead. In the midst of our own concerns, we cannot forget to be selfless — compassion is the main upholding pillar of an excellent dental practice.
During the behavioral dentistry course at University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Dr. Isabel Rambob often stressed the importance of one’s well-being in regard to showing compassion. She explained that when on a flight, the cabin crew advises passengers to, in the case of an emergency, place their own oxygen mask on first before helping others. Similarly, a dental provider cannot efficiently serve others if they don’t take care of themselves. That is why it is crucial to address your health needs while working in clinic.
Several dental students miss their lunch because they have to go from one clinical session to another. However, they should make sure to at least have a small snack and some water to recharge and be able to competently perform procedures. To balance the difficulties and challenges of daily life, it is important to have a hobby that is enjoyable. Whether it is talking to friends or listening to music, all such activities are an essential part of one’s well-being.
Although it is easy to speak on the ideals of compassion and well-being, it can be rather difficult to effectively and genuinely put them into practice. It is helpful to constantly remind ourselves what really matters in the long-run and to continuously challenge ourselves to do what is best for yourself and others.
As Mary Davis beautifully stated: “We can’t heal the world today, but we can begin with a voice of compassion, a heart of love, an act of kindness.”
~Ashraf Oreizi, Maryland ‘23