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As a private practice dentist I wear a lot of proverbial hats. These are not just “dentist” if that was the case my work life would have its ups and downs but be quite a bit easier. Not that dentistry is easy. But on many days between patients or at lunch I have items like advertising, employee reviews, strategic planning, business management, human resources development, taxes, and payroll. All these are part off my overall position. I have to be a dreamer and inspire my team to grow as employees within their position. I have to run team meetings. I oversee fire safety and emergency management. Planning for emergencies. Do we close because schools are closed for snow? Close early for a storm that is on the way? Treasury management and long-term planning for growth of the practice and on my to-do list every day. Equipment purchases and continuing education for the team. Deciding to stay in network with specific insurance companies or to joining new ones. Garnering feedback from patients on the office, its systems and whether or not we are meeting our goals.

In fact on my “day off” yesterday I was in the office for almost a full day reviewing resumes and posting an open position for our office on several recruiting websites. Also paying our bills and examining a potential direct mail campaign. While also being a leader for my team and holding them accountable on their own individual projects and items they are responsible for within the office.

You are probably wondering why someone would want to do all that? I sometimes wonder that as well….mostly after a tough day of clinical work and there is a stack of items on my desk to take care of after the work day is over. I spent two years employed by a University Hospital as a resident and a couple of tenures for a corporate dental company after finishing my graduate dental program. I value those experiences and in fact keep in touch with several folks from each section of my career growth. But right now today and most days I would not trade all those hats I wear for any one.

I enjoy trying to excel at all of them. I wouldn’t be who I am as a clinician or practice manager if it were not for those past experiences and the wonderful freedom we are granted in the United States of America. Our free system of education and equality for all regardless of race, religion, or sex makes dreams like mine possible. I am not sitting here misty eyed, saying everything is perfect in this country. But the fact that I am able to get up every day and try to grow something that puts food on the table for all my employees, vendors, and cares for a lot of people along the way that is to me what the American dream is and I plan on holding onto it with a death grip for the near future.

Today its been all guitar rock, my assistant has developed a taste for the newly discovered Led Zeppelin and I’ve been throwing in a lot of Eric Clapton. I’ll have to tell you tomorrow about the really interesting dental reconstruction case we worked on this morning…