Congratulations to all of the new graduates. We welcome you to a rewarding profession.
I've gathered five tips for new graduates as they step out into the world of dentistry.
1) Take some time off between graduation and entering the workforce.
Your body needs time to recover from all of the stress that it has been under for the past two years. If you can afford to take a few weeks off I definitely recommend doing so. Reconnect with yourself, your family, and your friends. Heavy on self-care. Reward yourself for this amazing accomplishment.
2) Keep the instruments that you purchased during school.
Often times it's great to have your favorite, sharp instruments at your disposal, especially if you are considering temping. Many offices only send their instruments off twice a year to be sharpened, if you are lucky.
3) Temp, Temp, Temp.
Explore your options. Offering temporary hygiene services will give you insight into the way different offices operate, You will be building valuable skills while working with many different computer software programs. You will likely acquire many job offers as you temp. It will take time to find an office that aligns with your standards. Same day pay is nice. Don't forget to take a completed W4 with you, so you won't find yourself in a mess come tax season.
4) Lower your office expectations.
Remember no office is perfect. I spent my first two years as a hygienist learning this the hard way. Evidently, I have high standards and expectations. LOL! Choose your battles. Do your best with the time and instruments you are provided. You will learn to provide education during treatment. You will also learn that you can't care more than the patient does about their oral/systemic health.
5) Do your market research, and know your worth.
When it comes to setting your hourly rate there are a few things to consider. Do you have prior dental experience? If you are like me and had a decade of assisting experience ask for a higher hourly wage. That experience is valuable. Will you have single or double columns or an assistant? Obviously, double columns produce more production. Ensure you are being compensated for the extra work, and wear on your body. Agree on a production percentage on top of your hourly rate. Jump on dentalpost.net to check out the wage data for your area. Do not accept low ball wages, not in this market! There are plenty of offices that are desperate for great clinicians.
Best of luck on your professional journeys. I'm always here if you have any questions.