It's up to dental assistants to improve their situations if they aren't happy in their positions. If it's not a pleasant atmosphere, there are ways to "battle the demons" of the job.
If dental assistants are not happy at work, then they need to sit down with their dentists and colleagues and find ways to grow in their career.
That is the advice of dental teambuilding expert Kevin Henry, author of the new book "Battling and Beating the Demons of Dental Assisting: How Every Dental Assistant Can Have an Amazing, Fulfilling Career."
According to Henry, dentists are like any other boss who doesn't want members of the team to be down about their jobs. However, dental assistants must take the initiative to improve the situation.
Henry speaks to dental audiences across the nation on topics that empower dental assistants, helping them recognize the leadership role they hold in the practice. He is the cofounder of IgniteDA.net, a community designed to enlighten, empower, and engage dental assistants to help them reach their full potential and flourish in their careers.
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Here are five ways dental assistants can advance their careers, excerpted from Henry's book:
1. Stop with the putdowns. This means no negative self-talk and no words like "I'm just a dental assistant."
2. Lose the "poor me" attitude. Not everyone is going to respect you or like you. Does that mean you should just resign yourself to being whom they think you are? Absolutely not. Fight against those beliefs. Prove them wrong. Being a victim gets you nowhere.
3. Grow up. "When I say that, I mean that you should do everything you can to grow in your career," says Henry. "Take those extra classes. Read those extra articles. Make those extra connections. Go above and beyond your job description. How you deal with things and carve your own career path is how you grow."
4. Take action. Learn from your mistakes. If you mess up, get better at that procedure. Don't beat yourself up for doing something wrong. Rather, take negative moments and find a way to turn them into positives down the road. Use mistakes as moments in the rearview mirror at which you look back and think how far you've come in your career.
5. Believe in yourself. Remember, if you don't believe in you, who will? You have to stand up straight and project the image of the leader of the practice. You can do that because you are that. You are an amazing person with a tremendous career ahead of you. Don't let anyone, including yourself, snuff out that flame.
"You will be amazed at what you can do when you stop listening to the voices who tell you that you can't do it," says Henry. "Talk to your doctor. Talk to your fellow assistants. Draw strength from them. Step out of your comfort zone. These are the things you must do to grow in your career and become the leader you are destined to be."