What CE have you taken that has had the most positive impact on your practice?
When I graduated from dental school, my family dentist told me to go to The Pankey Institute for continuing education. Though the technical aspects of dentistry I learned there were excellent, the most impactful learning was around practice philosophy and personal growth. I don’t think any continuing education institute does this like Pankey, and it’s influenced my practice and life in the most positive ways.
What’s your best advice for keeping up the morale of your team?
First, the doctor sets the tone. If you bring anxiety and panic to work every day, it can be contagious. Be aware and honest about your tendencies and your team will rally around you. Support a culture of learning, with a goal of being consistently excellent, not perfect, and you’ll see the best in them!
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What advice do you have for managing your time?
I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of balance last year and I read the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, and it helped clarify some things for me. I needed to get clear about what is important to me, and what brings me joy and energy. Then I set boundaries for my time; for instance, I don’t travel to speak or teach in the summer when my kids are out of school. Finally, for any opportunity I have to lecture or travel, my wife and I discuss it before I commit. We hold each other accountable for keeping things in balance.
What advice would you share with a dentist who expresses symptoms of burnout?
I think burnout occurs when we do too much of something that doesn’t bring us joy or give us purpose. It happens in dentistry so often because we feel the pressure to produce, see a lot of patients, fix every problem, and more. Find a coach who can help you better know yourself and what you want. Then shift the things in your life and/or practice to better align with these goals. Set goals to do more of what you like and less of what you don’t!
Follow Dr. Ward on social media @drcawardddsebsite or @baltimoredentalarts, visit his website at BaltimoreDentalArts.com, or email him at [email protected].
Editor's note: This article appeared in the May 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.