As a budding dental professional, you might be tempted to take the first dental practice job that comes your way. It’s not always easy to find a position that matches your specific training – so it’s understandable if you jump at the first opportunity.
However, that’s not always the best idea. If you cave in to the pressure to take the first thing that’s available, you might find yourself unhappy and stuck in a job that doesn’t suit your long term goals.
If you’ve been offered a position, consider the following points before taking the plunge.
Will You Get On With your Co-Workers?
If you’ll be taking on a junior position, such as assistant or hygienist, how comfortable will you be taking orders from the dentist? All dental professionals need to be naturally cooperative people, but since you’ll be in such close working proximity all day, it pays to take a dental practice job where you can see yourself really gelling with your colleagues.
This is especially important in the dental profession, where clients are literally in between dentist and assistant.
If there’s any level of tension or friction between you and your colleagues, clients can easily feel uncomfortable, especially if they are already anxious about their visit. It’s important that dentists and assistants really do synergise when working in the treatment room – so make sure you can see yourself getting on well with your potential colleagues.
Money and Standards of Living
It’s no secret that dentists are among some of the better paid individuals in the UK. However, that doesn’t mean money isn’t a concern – for many dentists it will be a factor. Since dentists operate as private contractors, a dental practice job salary is usually negotiable. When you receive a salary offer, first ask yourself the following: will I be able to live comfortably and meet my savings goals on this salary, in this area? Your honest answer is crucial.
For other dental professionals – hygienists, assistants and receptionists – it’s important to carefully consider the salary. Don’t be afraid to negotiate – if they’ve offered you the job, it means they value you and your skills.
It’s a good idea to have a target for the kind of money you’d like to earn. Negotiation may be uncomfortable, but there’s no reason not to push for the salary you want if you’re offered the job. There’s nothing worse than taking a position that is just under the wage you’d settle for – the uneasiness will stay with you, and you’ll be unhappy in the practice if you know you’re not getting paid what you really think you’re worth.
What Treatment Approaches Does the Practice Take?
Even if it’s a general practice, senior dentists will have their own treatment preferences and specialisations. At the interview, it’s important that you ask questions too – how do they approach specific dental health issues? Do they target clients with certain kinds of problems? Do they specialise in particular treatments or fittings? Ideally, you’ll be able to find a practice that is a good match for your skills and will put you to good use.
It’s also worth considering what skills you want to develop and learn more about. If the current dentists at the practice have particular expertise in a technique that you’d like to develop, that could be a big factor in your decision.
Taking a new dental practice job is never an easy decision. Hopefully the points above have made your choice a little easier. We think that the more employers you can get your skills in front of, the more likely you are to be offered a position that really suits you. That’s why we created Dental Gateway of course, and if you’re looking for a position, do sign up – we’d love to help you find one.