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Supporting Your Practice

Dentists Under Pressure – Recognizing and Preventing Burnout

Dr. Jessica Metcalfe
General Dentist, Coach

Fifteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic and another epidemic is sweeping through workplaces the world over – burnout. But what exactly is burnout and what can we do to recognize it and protect ourselves from it?

In this episode of CDA Oasis Live, Dr. John O’Keefe invites Dr. Jessica Metcalfe, a general dentist and coach from Toronto, to discuss the prevalence of burnout in the dental profession. Dr. Metcalfe breaks down the key components of burnout, gives simple pointers on how to recognize it, and offers practical strategies on what you can to do about it.

“Because dentists are in a caring field they don’t feel like they should be the ones asking for help. But when  you give yourself permission to ask for help it doesn’t  feel like you’re absolutely alone.”

Here are some of the highlights from the conversation:

What is Burnout?

Burnout can be broken into three components:

  • Emotional exhaustion – feeling of hopelessness, fatigue, poor sleep, lack of motivation, depression.
  • Depersonalization – compassion fatigue, do not want to be around people, find it hard to relate to patients.
  • Lack of personal accomplishment – feel like a failure, decrease in productivity.

How Do We Recognize Burnout?

 Red Flags include:

  • Dreading going to work
  • Not wanting to interact with your team
  • Wishing away the next few years of your dental career

Recommended Corrective Action

  • Create self-awareness – be introspective and take a step back to consider what is happening.
  • Re-examine your environment – is there something you can change? Sleeping routine, morning routine, allowing more time per patient etc.
  • Ask for help – give yourself permission not to “tough it out” alone. Seek help from team members, your personal support system, a professional therapist or coach.

We hope you find the conversation useful. We welcome your thoughts, questions and/or suggestions about this post and other topics. Leave a comment in the box below or send us your feedback by email.

Until next time!
CDA Oasis Team

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