Dentistry is a gratifying career. Nothing beats the feeling of changing someone’s life by giving them the confidence to smile again. On the other hand, dentistry is also an extremely demanding industry. It can be difficult to manage personal time with a passion for making an impact in the community, and that is why finding a work-life balance is so crucial for clinicians.
Finding balance can be a challenge for anyone, at any point in their career, but it can be especially difficult for working parents. We connected with a few dentists across the Heartland Dental support network – Rupal Patel, DMD, Rachel Gupta, DMD and Stacie Beasley, DDS who all work together at Springfield Dental Care to hear some of the valuable lessons learned throughout their careers.
Heartland Dental has played a crucial role in helping their supported dentists like Dr. Patel, Dr. Gupta, and Dr. Beasley maintain a healthy work-life balance while providing opportunities to grow and develop as practitioners and leaders.
Dr. Gupta acknowledged the experience her peers face every day, explaining, “Dentists who own their practice without administrative support are in the unique position of being both medical professionals and entrepreneurs. Balancing the two sides of running a dental practice can consume your mental and emotional energy. Add in your personal and your family’s needs; many dentists feel worn thin in no time.”
For all three being Heartland Dental supported doctors has been beneficial in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Dr. Patel shared, “Heartland Dental has been great because I do not have to worry about the business operations as much as I would if I owned my own office. I cannot imagine how many more hours I would have to spend on work if Heartland was not in the picture. Right now, I have a decent distinction between my work and personal life because Heartland handles most of the things that are not directly patient related.”
Dr. Gupta noted a similar sentiment, “As a working parent having the support from Heartland Dental has helped me balance my schedule. I can pick up my kids from day care on time and also meet my personal needs for hours I’d like to have.”
“Heartland has been amazing at working with me in the different stages of my life and helping me have a good balance” echoed Dr. Beasley. “I love that I get to spend a lot of time with my kids and still am able to have a thriving practice and do what I love.”
Along with Heartland Dental’s support, Dr. Patel, Dr. Gupta, and Dr. Beasley all noted working in a multiple doctor practice at Springfield Dental Care has allowed them to have more flexibility in their working schedule, while ensuring their community is receiving the care they need and want.
“I was lucky enough to have gotten two partners around the time I became a mom,” Dr. Patel reflected. “This allowed me to change my work hours and have help if something came up with my kids. We always try to help each other so that we can be there for our kids when needed.”
Dr. Gupta noted, “We are a practice of all female providers, who are also all mothers. They have been there to help with questions from pregnancy to birth to raising my children. We understand when one of us must leave suddenly for a sick kid to be picked up from school, unexpected childcare issues, or if we want to be present for our kid’s activities. Instead of feeling bad for missing work to experience important personal events, as partners we step up and cover for one another. And when time allows, we also have the added flexibility to open up more hours and help our patients in return.”
Dr. Patel, Dr. Gupta, and Dr. Beasley all stressed how being flexible not only benefits each other and team members but also their patients.
“We try to just be very flexible and support each other at each stage we are at. We have had a lot of pregnancies and maternity leaves within the doctor team and just helping each other when we are struggling makes a big difference in our stress levels,” stated Dr. Beasley. “Even something as simple as one of the other doctors cementing a crown or taking off Invisalign buttons on one of my scheduled patients when I am working on a difficult procedure helps me focus better on the patient I have in my chair.”
It's clear the partnership of the three supported doctors is strong – enabling their balance and supporting each doctor’s mastery in leadership and clinical skills. Dr. Patel explained, “We are lucky because we have multiple other doctors to help cover if needed. We also try to divide up which things in the office we are going to handle. All of us doctors have different interests and strengths, so we try to use that in who is best to handle what.”
Dr. Patel’s advice for other dentists struggling to balance work and family responsibilities is that it will take time to find a balance but to not give up on your passions, “I have found fulfillment and self-satisfaction in being a dentist and a mother. I believe that working as a dentist and being a mom has allowed me to achieve more than just being one or the other.”
Dr. Gupta added her own insights by emphasizing the importance of planning, “Sitting down and dedicating time to plan ahead has helped lessen so much unexpected stress that can pop up as a working mom. Knowing what days I won’t have childcare, have to take the kids to appointments, CE classes, and other predictable events makes it feel less hectic when life happens. I also make sure to fully immerse myself in the time I'm at work or with family.”
Dr. Beasley added her own insights by emphasizing how important it is to be honest about what you can commit to and to ask others for help, “We can all easily overcommit ourselves and now I think twice before I agree to things. Remember to think about your priorities and then rework your life to fit!”
Discover how Heartland Dental supports dentists in achieving a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle while growing their careers.