As we all emerge from the trials of the Covid 19 pandemic, I think it’s worth a look back over the last few years and see what’s changed as we crawl up out of that dark hole and check out our surroundings.
Personally, I think a lot has changed. I also think the dental industry and how we view our work and our worth has been altered.
Let’s start with State of Mind. If you’re like me, I am only beginning to be able to assess the toll that the pandemic years have taken. Covid is not going away anytime soon, but it has morphed from the scary unknown virus that had us shaking in our boots with fear and uncertainty. Some of that still exists, but scarier things are front and centre in the world and not ALL talk is about Covid. I feel as though, after 5 vaccine shots, that I have just a tad more power over something I once felt powerless in the presence of. I think it’s going to take a while longer to completely unwind from being braced and unknowing for so long and that I personally am not going to be able to see or feel completely normal again until I am further away from it.
For the dental industry, here are the biggest changes I see:
- Shortages and mindset in particular! The shortages used to be cyclical. I am beginning to believe that they will exist now as part of doing business. I believe this is cause by mindset We’ve all heard of the great resignation. Well, I think we are dealing with a paradigm shift in work ethic. It was making its appearance before Covid and then Covid cemented it. The work life balance pendulum has shifted severely to the side of less work, more life. I don’t disagree with finding balance, however I find it alarming that the ethics I grew up with and saw in my parents and grandparents has diminished to the point of non- existence in some cases (not all!). Pride in your profession and education seems to be harder to find when interviewing employees. It’s a buyer’s market out there when it comes to looking for work and some take advantage of that, leaving employers caught between a rock and hard place.
- As staff become harder to find and keep, bottom lines decrease, doing business gets tougher and burn out is very real. I believe this leaves the door open to seeking exits in any way that becomes available. I have very mixed feelings about corporate dental. No matter what the reps from these companies say, if you are a corporation, your loyalty is to your shareholders and not to your staff, your patients or your practice or your community (even if the former practice owner is a part shareholder). The growing need to find an exit strategy for many dentists is an invitation to corporations to scoop up your practice. For many, the money sounds great until you become aware a year or so in that you still have the weight of running and managing a practice on your shoulders, but this time with big brother watching over your shoulder cracking the whip. Sure you have money in the bank, but is it worth it?
There are many changes I see as we crawl up out of the Covid black hole and take a look around at our surroundings. These are but a few. As we emerge and the darkness dissipates, I am sure I will have more to say about the path behind us.