Th Classpankey

A good place to grow

March 1, 2005
Where? The Pankey Institute

Where?" The Pankey Institute

Why?" Because it’s the one place that can take you where you want to go

During the class introductions at a recent Continuum Level 1 course at The Pankey Institute, I listened as most women in the group spoke of their concern about balancing their practice and personal lives. It’s a common dilemma. Where do you dedicate your time, care, expertise, and the best of yourself - to your patients or to your spouse and children? I think the answer lies in your perspective, and it’s time for a paradigm shift.

Why do we accept the following? “What do you call a woman dentist who works three days a week? Part-time. What do you call a male dentist who works three days a week? Successful.”

How would the experience of your days change if your time at the office was calm and fulfilling - and you got to practice the type of dentistry you most enjoy on patients who value and appreciate you? Or how about if your productivity and profitability increased enough to give you more time for your family? And what if your dentistry was so predictable that when you left the office you could truly focus on the people at home, and be there with them in mind as well as body?

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These are the things dentists, both women and men, say they gain from attending The Pankey Institute Continuum. It was certainly true in my case. After practicing in several different scenarios over the course of 11 years, I made the heart-wrenching decision to leave dental practice. I had arrived at a point in my career where I no longer enjoyed dentistry, and it simply represented time away from the people I love most. Fortunately for me, when I made the decision to begin practicing again, I joined a practice where the senior dentist and an associate had both attended The Pankey Institute. It quickly became evident to me that what I had looked for in dental school actually did exist. As a result of their mentoring and my own experience going through the Continuum and applying its teachings, I grew to love every day I spent in the office.

Recently, my personal satisfaction took a new turn as I contemplated becoming a resident faculty member of The Pankey Institute, with the opportunity to develop a small private practice there (on the side). As I thought about it, my excitement grew. I would be the first woman dentist to be a full-time clinical instructor in residence! Knowing that women were attending the Continuum in increasing numbers and understanding the value it will have in their lives, I pursued the opening with passion. And now, as the Institute’s new clinical instructor, I would like to share with you some of what you will experience if you attend the first three courses, which are known as the “Diagnostic/Occlusal/Philosophy Group.”

These three courses lay the clinical and business/financial groundwork for performing excellent, optimal dentistry. More importantly, they introduce philosophical and behavioral concepts to help us achieve balance and fulfillment in both our personal and professional lives. You may have heard about Dr. L.D. Pankey’s “Philosophy of the Practice of Dentistry.” It combines Aristotle’s model for happiness (finding a balance among work, play, love, and spirituality) and L.D.’s model for a successful (satisfying) dental practice, which is the thoughtful integration of knowing yourself, knowing your patient, knowing your work, and applying your knowledge. Knowing yourself means understanding what type of dentistry you enjoy and your own behavioral style. Knowing your patient means understanding each patient’s needs and beliefs about dentistry. Knowing your work means striving for excellent, optimal clinical dentistry. Applying that knowledge results in professional fulfillment.

If you choose to come to the Institute, your journey will begin with Continuum Level 1. The patient is one of the fundamental ingredients in every practice; to treat each patient, we must first “know” him or her as an individual. This course is designed to give you the tools to do just that. It is often said, “We only treat what we diagnose, we only diagnose what we see, and we only see what we know.” In this course, you will experience how an interactive, comprehensive clinical examination sets the stage for increased practice success and fulfillment. When the patient is engaged in the process and takes ownership of her/his oral health condition, the patient becomes our partner in care. In addition to clinical lessons focused on the comprehensive patient examination, you will learn about Dr. Pankey’s philosophy, financial management, and how to get to know the person beyond the teeth. When I returned to my practice after attending this first course and integrated the concepts I had learned, I found it remarkable that my patients became engaged and committed. They began asking me for treatment.

One of the four goals of optimal care is function, and this is the focus of Continuum Level 2. The clinical components of this course are occlusion, bite splints, and advanced diagnosis. The third course, Continuum Level 2E, brings together teachings from the first two courses and helps you develop skills to predictably alter occlusion to gain optimal function. At this third level, you now have a clear picture of where you are in your practice and a vision of the future. We will work with you to develop a plan to make your vision a reality. Communication skills and staff development are part of our focus in this course, because we recognize they are a critical part of reaching your professional dreams.

The faculty at The Pankey Institute has traveled this same journey. Each of us brings unique experiences and insights to help you on your way. In addition, guest presenters who are the leading experts in their fields frequently lecture. Most importantly, lasting relationships with peers and mentors develop, thus supporting your growth and learning along the way. Words alone do not suffice to explain the ways in which my life has been transformed because of The Pankey Institute, both professionally and personally. I can say with confidence: it is The One Place that can take YOU where YOU want to go.

Lee Brady, DMD

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Dr. Brady, a 1988 graduate from the University of Florida College of Dentistry, is currently a full-time clinical instructor in residence at The Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, Fla. She began her career as an associate and later developed her own solo fee-for-service practice. Contact Dr. Brady at [email protected].