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Dear Coach: Advice for a dentist who feels exhausted every day


A dentist is worried that he doesn't have the time to chat and listen to every patient. A practice management coach offers some advice on how to deal with the situation.

Editor's Note: “Dear Coach” is a continuing column bringing you the best of coaching for dentists and dental professionals from Up All Night Coaching. With Certified Master Coaches reviewing and answering you questions, you will be introduced to the unique benefits coaching can provide you.

Reducing stress while learning how to enjoy both your work world and your home life is the goal of coaching. Please submit any questions you would like our coaches to answer to dpr@upallnightcoaching.com. Your personal information will remain anonymous.

More advice: Helping a dentist who knows his patients are fearful

Dear Coach,

Everyday I am focused on the most precise form of care. If I make a mistake, then I am not delivering the best care to my patient and I will beat myself up over and over about it. I have to hold myself to the highest standards of treatment, plus I have to listen to each patient tell his or her story. Every patient has one and everyone want someone to listen … but I don’t have just one patient each day. I have anywhere from 15-20 patients to care for. 

Feeling Beat Up

Read the answer to dealing with this situation on page 2...


Dear Feeling Beat Up,
I hear a couple of things going on for you. One is that you feel exhausted by the conversations of 15-20 patients per day and the other is that you have a hard time if you feel you make a “mistake” in the care of your patients.
I must say that I admire your high standard you have for your work. It makes sense that you want to deliver the best care for your patients. I would ask you to consider, what do you gain by beating yourself up “over and over about it?” I would assume that you are always trying your best with every patient. 

Here are several important questions you should ask yourself. What does it say about you if you make a mistake? Where else in your life does this show up? When you were young, were you scolded for your mistakes? What do you think your patients are thinking? What would it feel like if you could have some acceptance around your beliefs of making a mistake? How much energy do you believe you spend on beating yourself up? How could you make better use of your energy?

HOT READ: 10 ways to handle parents of your pediatric patients

In my coaching practice, I work with clients on something called “a gremlin.” It is the “I’m not good enough” voice in our heads. It holds us back from our purpose in life. I ask my clients to be aware of when it comes up and say, “Thank you for your opinion, but you no longer serve a purpose.” This is a very simplistic explanation to a much longer process, but I think you get the point.
To address your second concern, it is understandable that with a full schedule of patients every day you don’t want to be slowed down by the “stories” from your patients.

HOT READ: 9 benefits of DSOs for dentists 

Here are several additional questions to think about. Why do you think they are so chatty? Can you put yourself in their shoes and perhaps see why they feel the need to talk so much? How can you manage them so you feel more in control? What can your staff do to help you?

Maybe you make them feel comfortable and safe enough so they can reveal a part of themselves. I would then say, “good for you!” Every industry has its downsides. It is how you deal with it that makes or breaks your day.

Author's Note: Up All Night Coaching provides dentists and dental professionals with three unique coaching packages. Please visit upallnightcoaching.com/dental to set up a complementary 15-minute Introductory Session to answer any questions you may have, or you may contact us at dpr@upallnightcoaching.com.

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