As we observe more vaccinations being completed and reopenings happening across the country, we can see the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is on the horizon. Now is the time to reflect on what the biggest takeaways have been from this life-altering, not to mention business-altering, experience. Earlier in the year, we discussed the opportunities that the pandemic presented for your business, which included learning many new skills such as PPE management, IPAC protocols and practice management. However, potentially the most important positive to take away from this pandemic is the extra time that was able to be spent with family when dental offices were forced to shut down in March 2020. In fact, when we asked dentists what their biggest positive takeaway was, time spent with family and living life at a slower pace was the number one result.
These results are a testament to how difficult it can be to achieve a satisfactory work-life balance for those in the dental profession, and many other industries. As we approach the end of the year and beginning of 2022, it is important to remember how it felt to be able to slow down and spend quality time with loved ones. Take breaks when you need to as they will allow you to come back to work with renewed energy, as opposed to working yourself into exhaustion.
Another positive takeaway that dentists found from the COVID-19 pandemic was the chance to develop better relationships – with family, staff and patients. Going through such a dramatic event with so many changes to day-to-day procedures, resulted in much more communication and support from colleagues. A situation like this can bond people in a way you never had before. Trust was also built with patients when you proved that you could continue to provide high-quality services for their oral health while following the necessary safety guidelines for their overall health. If you stayed in touch with patients during the shut down and implemented new ways to communicate, such as teledentistry, be sure to keep those communication tactics in place to continue fostering an open communication with those important patients.
Of course, another clear important takeaway from this pandemic was learning more about infection prevention and, generally, being prepared for bad situations. Globally, it is hoped that the end of COVID-19 is near and that another pandemic like this one will never happen again, but there is no way to know for sure. Now, all dental practices will have an idea of how to handle unplanned closures, revenue decreases and infection outbreaks, among the many other things you have had to deal with in the last two years.
We now know how precious life is so spend that extra time with family, build those strong relationships with your staff and patients, and try your best to be prepared for the next – hopefully far off – emergency you may have to face. Good luck!
As seen in the print issue of Oral Health September 2021