Dentistry is a great profession and requires continual learning. Perhaps the best example is that every state requires some level of mandatory continuing education to maintain a dental license. This is how important education is to dentistry.
But are you getting the right education?
Top performing dentists expose themselves to many new aspects of dentistry, clinical education, technology advancement, and other direct dental diagnostic and treatment skills. But they also spend time learning about other “non-dental” areas such as business, leadership, customer service, sales, and marketing.
I believe that a blended approach to learning is optimal for practicing dentists and as such, I suggest you apply an “80:20” approach.
80% of your dental education should be spent on clinical quality and excellence. That is the focus of most dentists with a strong desire to give patients the best possible care.
20% of your education should be spent on practice management or business-related knowledge because running the practice, implementing documented, proven, step-by-step systems, leading a team, and achieving the right income are all essential aspects of a great practice, great career, and great life.
Here is the truth. Most dentists have spent extraordinarily little time on practice management or business education. But those that do, find they benefit. They benefit because they learn more about how to streamline the practice for results, as well as implement systems that will train and retain the team and push them to become better overall leaders and strategists.
Each year, I have the privilege of meeting many new dentists and having in-depth conversations with them about their practices. After 37 years, there is an absolute pattern has emerged. When I meet a dentist who is well-read or exposed to broad topics in their continuing education, I already have the expectation that they have an excellent practice.
Studying a variety of business topics in addition to clinical CE has the additional benefit of allowing dentists the opportunity to identify the ideal solutions for their unique practice. Well-read dentists are far more likely to discover superior strategies because they are far less likely to latch on to the first idea that pops up when they have a problem. They are more aware of the wide array of practical business techniques being used inside and outside of dentistry, which provides them more options to find the perfect fit for their practice and team.
So, for every four or five courses you take on cosmetic dentistry, or implant restoration, or periodontal diagnosis and treatment, read one book or take a webinar on leadership or team development. Most successful dentists that I have met have a passion for ongoing education.
They are curious and interested people that continually change throughout their lives and career.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 clients to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written more than 60 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world.