I recently interviewed Endodontist Dr Sonia Chopra who is a root canal specialist and thinks of herself as a ‘tooth saviour’.
After 10 years as an Endodontist, Dr Chopra is now using her experience through an E-School she has created in which she shares the mistakes she has made with other dentists and helps them to become more efficient and better at doing root canals.
How Burnout can happen:
We discussed how dentistry has evolved over recent years, including my own childhood horror experiences in the dental chair) and how important it is for a dentist to communicate with a patient. Dr Chopra said that spending time explaining a procedure to a patient, helping them to relax and let go of their anxiety, will result in a better outcome for both the patient and dentist. A patient who has confidence in his or her dentist will show loyalty by returning to the practice and also recommend the dentist to others. I so agree on this: my best dental treatment was under suggestive hypnosis. I had broken a healthy tooth during my first registrar year in Paris. My neighbour was a dental student who took me straight to her professor who worked his magic by relaxing me with hypnotic words and before I new it I was of in “HYPNO-LAND” swimming among tropical fish.The procedure went smooth and I didn’t feel a thing. Since then I self-hypnose myself in the chair which makes it a lot easier for both parties involved: me, my teeth and the dentist…and my gum…
On another more serious note: Sonia and I agreed that working in the medical profession is tough.Aside the long hours of training and studying, medical professionals absorb a lot of the anxiety and unhealthy energy of the people they deal with at work.
I asked Dr Chopra about Burnout, has she experienced this or seen it in any of her colleagues?
Dr C: Between 2013 and 2016 I felt at my lowest due to exhaustion. A large turnover of staff, feeling that patients weren’t happy with their treatment sucked the energy out of me. Bad online reviews or feeling that your patient is not happy and it is easy to take that to heart, to let it affect your sleep.
Dr V: I think this problem is more common in professional women who have children because you want to be a perfect surgeon, a perfect wife, have a perfect home and be a perfect mum. You just don’t have the time and energy to be perfect at everything. You identify yourself with your career but then you get these other roles and you try to be perfect at everything. You need to concentrate on other things in your life rather than being a successful professional.
My obstetrician gave me 3 useful tips:
- Have a ‘Date Night’ once a week even if it just for a couple of hours.
- Delegate jobs such as cleaning to others rather than struggle to do everything yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Dr C: I think that you also need the time to find clarity and to write down what you want for yourself. So many people don’t really know what they want and that can add to Burnout. I know that by learning to give myself time, by writing things down and seeing what I really wanted changed my whole trajectory but I think it would have been a whole lot faster if I had somebody like you to support me through the process.
Dr V: Schedule time in every week to do something for yourself which will give you joy, feels good and will give you energy. A lot of women have difficulty prioritising themselves as they feel it is selfish because they are used to putting others first. Talk to your partner about this so that they understand and can support you.
Find out more about Dr Sonia Chopra and her work by visiting soniachopradds.com
If you would like to learn how to get better sleep have a look at my blog 10 Commandments of Sleeping Well
You may also be interested in reading my book ‘My Surgeon Talks to Angels: A Journey From Science to Faith’ which is available from Amazon
If you think that you are on the edge of Burnout do get in touch with me as I can help you to regain a balanced, happy and rewarding life.
You can contact me via my Facebook page( feel free to join the community of open minded caring souls)