Aside from the frenetic cooking and eating, Thanksgiving is always a time for reflection. Even though this year may not have been the best for the economy or our dental practices, there are always things to be thankful for.
I am truly thankful for my family. They help me stay balanced and focused on what is important in life.
I am thankful for my profession. Dentistry has been great for me. I have been able to work as much as I want to and still have a multitude of outside interests and avocations. I am thankful to own my own business and be my own boss. I am thankful for the freedom of my schedule. I have been able to see my children grow up and attend most of their swim meets/theater performances, without too many hassles.
I am thankful for my dental team. As we have seen this past year, it is not an easy business. We do experience the ups and downs of the economy during a recession, just as any other business in the world. But our team is the glue that keeps the practice together.
For example: Without my business manager, I would not get paid. She is in charge of so many things around the office. She is the one who schedules the patients and receives payment. Without her diligence, we would not be organized. And then there's my dental assistant, who makes my life so much easier by setting up the treatment room, working with the patients, and organizing the minutiae of supplies we all tend to have.
Please do not think I am minimizing my team's responsibilities. They do far more than what I mention here. And for that, and their loyalty, I am thankful.
I am also thankful for my patients. With the economic downturn, they are still loyal. Although some procedures may be postponed until 2010 (which will give us a brighter year next year), they are still happy to visit our office. Considering only 40% of Americans visit the dentist, we need to be thankful for the ones who come to see us. Regardless if your business is up or down, we should be thankful for the patients who come in and have the desire to care for their oral and general health. Without them, there would be no profession.
I am thankful that we are able to give back to our communities. Dentists are trusted professionals. Our high ethical standards are an adjunct to the communities in which we live.
Dentistry has always been a cyclic business (my accountant tells me this every time we have a slowdown). But I am thankful to be in a profession that affords me a great life with my family.
In fact, for that, we should all be thankful.
Sheri Doniger, D.D.S., practices clinical dentistry in Lincolnwood, IL. She has served as an educator in several dental and dental hygiene programs, has been a consultant for a major dental benefit company, and has written for several dental publications. Most recently, she was the editor of Woman Dentist Journal and Woman Dentist eJournal. You can reach her at email@example.com.
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