Tips for balancing the physical and emotional toll of clinical practice
By Sarah Clark, RDH, IPDH, CSMC
It is no secret that dental hygienists are very proud and resilient individuals. We conduct ourselves with the utmost professionalism and confidence, even in the many stressful situations that may cause us to imagine a very different response. While we would never purposefully be unprofessional, it is true that our kill-them-with-kindness façade is typically used to placate the source of these stressors. In the end, we are rewarding the stressor and causing ourselves to compartmentalize the negative emotions, all while maintaining our professional and confident stature without skipping a beat.
The “Big B”
We have all experienced days that bring us to our breaking point. We are tired, broken, and have nothing left to give. Our tank is empty. Working in a profession where we are forced to give 100% of ourselves, all of our emotional and physical energy, every minute of every day, and then compartmentalize our emotions, we will always be at risk for the “Big B.” Just as the “Big C” is used to discuss cancer without ever saying the word that so many are ashamed or afraid to speak, the “Big B” can be used the same way to describe burnout. In our profession, it seems shameful to admit being burned out, causing us to force those feelings away and pretend that we always love our jobs and are happy 100% of the time.