Whether your injury or illness happened this year as the pandemic takes place or occurred in the months prior, your actions will be be key to your survival. Nothing like a disaster to complicate your road to recovery! For most dentists the pandemic is a wake up call to their actual financial and personal health. For many, it will mean putting retirement plans front and center. If one has the quoted luxury of retiring before the full consequences of the pandemic are fully known, they are indeed fortunate.
For most of us, COVID-19 is just gasoline on the fire. Whether you are dealing with a severe injury, an addiction problem, or a catastrophic illness; your actions today are even more critical. Essentially the the time frame for action has been moved. Car accidents and Cancer don’t care there is a pandemic.
The economic slowdown over the next 2 years, will give some dentists time to slowly integrate their recovery plans. We are talking plans here, and as we have posted previously the steps you need to take are that much more important now……………………. TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY
For many, the pandemic will place our plans in overdrive. The future of dentistry in the world of COVID-19 is unknown. What we do know, is overhead will increase and production will decrease at least in the near-term and likely in the long-term. Practicing dentists have significant challenges ahead. For those of us that are injured/ill or for those who are contemplating halting practice due to a progressive situation, the clock is ticking. Actual practice values will be down. New dentists looking to buy will be less likely to move or pay a premium in the midst of such uncertainty. Corporate dentistry will take advantage of this. Fellow dentists will be less likely to volunteer to run your practice while you recover.
What this means to us, is our plans today must reflect the environment we live in now, not 2019 or 2018. Dentistry is changing as is our society. The risk presented by AIDS and Hepatitis forever changed dental practice. For the old-timers out there, many remember not using gloves to perform routine dentistry. In the future, we will look back and be amazed when we practiced without high speed treatment room positive pressure systems and full face shields with N-95 masks for every patient.
Well, now we have to tackle this dilemma with the same intensity as before. Look to the advice we gave just in the past years FIVE STEPS TO GET BACK TO WORK
Luck should not be part of your plan. There are common sense steps that a dentist or their family can take to survive and thrive. Recovery will not be an easy road for most, and getting sound advice is very important. Reach out to your dental colleagues. We have found the best shoulders to lean on are other dentists who have met these challenges of severe injury and illness. You would be surprised how many of us who are out there. Of course, we will strongly encourage you to contact us. We are volunteers who want to help you negotiate likely the worst time of your life. We have been there, and know what to expect. It’s OK to be afraid, and conquering fear is our goal. This is accomplished by fighting it with knowledge. The bright light of facts quickly crushes the unknown.
From a professional standpoint, taking steps to preserve your health must take precedence. You still need to work on recovery, but we understand the financial implications. As the profession regains its feet in the face of COV-19, there will be some opportunities. Whether you transition into another field, teach, or seek to work as an associate; your first steps must include gathering as much information as you can. This includes your medical situation and your professional situation. You will have serious concerns about your family, staff, office, rent, overhead, etc. etc. To put this is perspective, you will need to prioritize each category. Activate your Emergency Practice Continuity Plan
Specifically, now is the time to put networking into overdrive. Whether you use Facebook, twitter, snapchat, Linkedin or other social media platforms, your ability to contact others about potential opportunities has never been better. Tele-dentistry and remote online treatment will give many disabled dentists chances they never had before. As we stated……………. dentistry is changing and some practices will not survive if they fail to adapt to the dreaded “New Normal”.
The good news is, you have been smart and are going into the pandemic with open eyes. Those in denial will have a much harder time. Denial is a fundamental trait found in all recovering dentists. As a fact, it is present in most who have suffered a severe illness or injury. Thankfully it doesn’t have to last. It takes time to move through the 5 steps of grief, and acceptance may seem unattainable……………be patient. Your best weapon is your friends and family. Use them to survive.
We aways knew that a pandemic was possible as Hollywood famously presented possible scenarios over the years. Without living in fear, we just went on about our lives, accepting the risk. Now that has changed. Dentists are famously innovative and have strong individualistic traits. We are stubborn, but driven. Use this to your advantage. In the long run, we likely will look back at COVID-19 as an era we survived. Like the Great Depression, the country came out better and stronger. Get moving. We are there to help.
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