Graduating from dental school is an exciting time. You have your whole career stretching ahead into the future, and no doubt you are itching to get started. Some dental graduates opt to open their own practice, but unless you have previous experience of running a business, it’s probably a more sensible idea to join an existing dental practice as an associate. Read on for a guide to choosing the right dental practice to begin your career.
Joining an existing practice as a newly qualified dentist offers a number of advantages. Firstly, it gives you the opportunity to work with more experienced dentists, so you can get help and advice when you need it and enjoy some camaraderie. You also have access to continuing education, which is very important when you are at the start of your career. After all, dental school can’t teach you everything and there will be new developments in the world of dentistry that are likely to come along after you graduate.
Looking for Opportunities
Word of mouth is very useful when you are first starting out. Before you graduate, start making contact with practices in your area, to see if there are any opportunities for employment. Make time for building your list of contacts and reaching out to other dentists who might be able to assist in your search for a career opening.
Recruitment sites like https://www.dentaljobsonline.ie/ are also very useful, as they are a one-stop-shop for job openings in the dental sector.
Visit the Practice
Once you have a shortlist of possibilities, set up an appointment to visit each one, so you can gauge what the working conditions are like.
Look for signs the practice is willing to invest in its patients. Is there plenty of cutting-edge equipment in the consulting rooms? Does the place look fresh and modern? Are the staff friendly and welcoming? If so, this is a good sign. Speak to the other dentists at the practice, as well as support staff such as dental hygienists and admin staff. Do you feel comfortable there? Do you think you’ll fit in, or is the atmosphere strained and pressurized?
Large Vs Small Practices
Smaller dental practices have more autonomy and are often run by one or two dentists. This can be advantageous, as you are more likely to be allowed flexibility in your working hours and conditions. However, larger practices may be better funded and more able to invest in the latest equipment, so if you have your eye on specialisms such as cosmetic dentistry, a larger practice may be a better fit for your future ambitions.
Expand Your Search Area
It’s a good idea to expand your search to different areas unless you are sure you can’t move for the perfect job. The bigger the search area, the more likely you are to find the right practice.
Don’t rush and accept the first offer you receive. It’s important to review your options and choose the right practice for your first professional role out of dental school, as this starts your career off on the right foot.