Five ways traveling boosts intellectual wellness

When you think of going on vacation, you probably imagine yourself lying in the sand on your favorite beach, sipping piña coladas and listening to Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” Perhaps you enjoy driving out to the mountains and taking in the lush scenery, while trying to capture the perfect Instagram pic. While these experiences can be fun and exciting, there’s more to traveling than meets the eye.

Building confidence with your patients

In December 2016, a Wisconsin Veterans Affairs medical center made national headlines when nearly 600 patients were exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and C after a dentist reused his own dental instruments instead of performing procedures with hospital-sterilized, disposable tools. This past April saw the publication of “Lion Hearted,” an account of Cecil the lion’s last hours before he was shot and killed by Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who became an overnight internet pariah following his ill-fated safari in July 2015. These are just two news stories, but each one can impact how the public views our profession and how much our patients trust us.

Using research to collaboratively address barriers to dental care

You read a restaurant review on Yelp. You survey the menu and ask a friend about their favorite dish. You may even ask the waiter for more information about the ingredients. Who would have thought that going out to dinner would require so much research? Informally, we use research to help us make decisions in our daily lives. Formally, research is used to gather information and discover associations between topics. With an interest in learning more about underserved populations, I used research techniques to explore barriers to oral health for Latinos in eastern North Carolina from the perspective of community health workers.

Develop a healthy relationship with competition

Early on, we learned that winning a game of Go Fish or Hide-and-Seek was positive. It gave us a reason to celebrate or be celebrated. Without some competitive spirit, few of us would be here. You’ve probably been first (or close to it) a lot. You’ve compiled a list of “wins” neatly into a CV and presented it proudly. It’s part of who you are and why you’re in dental school. But here, all of your peers have similar résumés. Some may be more impressive than yours. An unfamiliar territory for most, this comparison becomes a source of negativity for many.