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Each year, more than 6,000 dental students across the United States obtain dental licenses through a patient-based clinical licensure exam. As a dental student, I’ve learned all about what the test will entail: performing two fillings and a cleaning on a live patient, and then preparing a crown, bridge and an anterior root canal on plastic teeth. I’ve also learned about the controversies surrounding the exam.
You think you are finished. After surviving your classes and practicals and passing boards, you prepare for graduation and then you realize you have yet to figure out what exactly you’re supposed to do next. That was me in summer 2016. I had been so consumed with my school work and extracurricular activities that I neglected the reason why I came to school — to get a job.
In April 2012, I emptied my class locker, turned in my required department signatures and stood in line with half a dozen classmates to terminate clinic privileges as a graduating dental student. Maybe I was expecting confetti or balloons. A parade for all of us seemed appropriate. But instead, there was just some paperwork to be completed and the return of my student ID and ASDA office key.
Whether in school or after in a practice setting, achieving your goals will usually come down to one thing: being a good leader. Leaders in a dental practice are the backbone of an operation; a good leader can inspire an inexperienced team to do things that a team that has been together for 10+ years but with no leadership cannot. Because a successful leader is invaluable to any team, at Heartland Dental, we invest in leadership development for supported doctors. While a leader needs to be many things to be successful, here are just a few of the most important traits to have.
As a dental student or resident, you probably haven’t thought much beyond getting your first job. Once you get your first job, you are going to have a lot of decisions to make. Hopefully, one of the first ones will be to decide what to do with the money from your paycheck that you don’t spend. If you have student loan debt, you might be ready to throw your entire paycheck at your debt. Should you? Maybe, maybe not. It’s different for everyone. But here are some things to consider.
For any specialty resident, dental school graduation is a tease. While friends leave to begin their careers, you’re off to the trenches of postgraduate education. Residency has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of my professional pursuit. I hope to share five ways that will ease your transition into residency.