Addressing Global Events and Stress in the Dental Practice

Global events and bad news can feel crushing as we try and live, work, and function every day. In a dental practice, we can take steps to lighten this load together.

There are a lot of things happening in our society today.

The Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic: We are amid the ravages of another surge. For example, I currently have 4 members in my immediate family with COVID and another 4 who were exposed. Society has slacked off in wearing masks, being socially distant, and taking this virus seriously. One of my dental practices has 7 members currently out with COVID-19. How did that happen? The breakroom. Employees take off their masks to eat and the virus finds new hosts.

Rising Gas Prices: When will they stop climbing up up up? The cost of gas is making it harder for people to show up for work. Gas giftcards can help you retain your employees. I strongly recommend you talk to your staff about this. You might lose valuable employees who are really struggling to keep up with these rising prices.

Gun Violence: You cannot miss it. Numbers of innocent people who are dying in schools, malls, grocery stores, and religious institutions. A doctor’s office was the scene a few weeks ago. This can happen to anyone at any place. What does your staff think about this? If you have not had a meeting to discuss it, start now.

Mental Health Struggles: We just had an applicant who was mentally unstable show up at our office. He has applied 10 times to this practice and seems to be getting increasingly aggressive. We are working on finding ways to protect our staff and keep our brand at the same time. Honestly, it is a struggle. He has not done anything yet to cross that line other than be aggressive with applying for jobs. We are training our staff at each location how to deal with applicants coming into the practice as well as how to stay safe. What are you doing to train your staff on how to deal with patients/applicants/co-workers struggling with a mental health problem?

The Baby Formula Shortage: The panic parents/caregivers are in over this shortage must be excruciating. Not being able to find it has people chasing down $50 cans of formula. People are watering down the formula and some are even trying to introduce food or cow’s milk. What is going to happen to these babies whose bodies are not ready for this? Do you have any staff members struggling with this? Ask how you can help. When you go into stores, you can check for formula and text them if you find some.

Racism, Antisemitism, and Hate Crimes: Hate crimes and prejudices are all on the rise. Everyone is looking for scapegoats to blame for the problems they have. Innocent people are targeted for what? Jogging? Sitting in a car? Sleeping? Or looking different than the perpetrators? We all have prejudices. It is not pretty, but opening the conversation up is one way to make sure we are not discriminating against anyone who comes into your office.I can tell that some of you are not comfortable with that statement. Do I have a preference working in the mouth of someone who has showered? Yes. Feelings do not go away just because you talk about it. But, if you are aware of your biases, you can catch yourself from making bad decisions.

Ongoing Turmoil in Ukraine: Invaders are destroying their society and culture. For what? What probable reason is there to destroy everything in your way so that you can dominate a country and take what you want. This affects all of us worldwide. Not just economically, but in a humane measure. I am not forgetting about other atrocities that are happening all over the world. We can’t forget them as well.

This is the world we live in right now. I am not trying to upset or depress anyone, but world events/domestic events impact everything. These are not excuses for the staffing shortage. These are challenges that we must face and figure out how to change things.

Good Places to Start:

  • Recycle when you can. If the county or city that your practice is in doesn’t recycle, collect recyclables, and bring them to a recycling center if you can each week.
  • Turn off the lights and water unless you need it.
  • Ride your bike or walk more. Limit gas consumption if you can.
  • Ask for help. You are not alone and there are people who can support you if you give them the chance.
  • Stand up to hate. That means speaking up when someone says or does something offensive. Silence is useless as it means that you have given that person permission to continue their abuse.
  • Learn how to deal with mental health issues in the workplace to support both you and fellow employees.
  • Maintain COVID-19 prevention practices. You know what to do to keep yourself and family safe. COVID is not over. We can be tired of it and of masks, but it is still there, and we must find a way to live alongside it.
  • AK 15s are weapons that are designed specifically to hurt people. They have harmed innocent children, health care professionals, and people in the wrong place at the wrong time. Do something. Protest. Write your congressperson. Help with getting candidates elected who can represent your wishes.

My point is to urge you to do something. The only way things will improve is if we act human with each other. If not, we will continue to spiral down so far that there will be no way to climb out of that.

Email me at diana2@discussdirectives.com and let me know where you are going to start.