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What’s it like being an associate dentist?

Blog Author Janine Sohota

Blog Date 04/02/2020

Janine Sohota tells us how she dealt with the “UDA rut” and chose a career path that works for her.

 

I’m responsible for a modest list of patients that I have been treating for coming up to seven years now.  I work in a village near to Rugby town centre. It’s a really nice practice and the team is great. The patients are lovely and well looked after.

 

Starting out was challenging

I got the job after my first boss mentioned to a friend, he needed a dentist.  He gave me three days in his NHS practice and two days in his private clinic.  I was so grateful as I had just finished DF1 training, but I didn’t fully appreciate the difference from going straight from DF1 into a private clinic.

 

Luckily, it was only two days and I learnt quickly, but I definitely had to become more polished and more confident. After that, I worked in a few other NHS places and more recently was doing some work in Kensington and Fulham. Each place I have worked has taught me so much and really helped me grow as a dentist.

 

Testing out a new piece of kit before using it in the surgeryMy typical day is very busy 

I have a loyal patient base and usually days are full of examinations, some emergencies and a fair amount of treatment.

 

In the last two years I have started doing more cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry, so I have intense treatments sessions at times. I like to document my work using an SLR Canon, both for my records and to share on social. This has really changed the way in which I work. Everything has to be perfect and this takes time.

 

Usually my nurse and I are working until the last second before lunch. The afternoon is more of the same and by 5pm I do tend to feel quite drained. I try to keep healthy and not to snack at work, but all this concentrating and planning takes up a lot of energy!

 

The worst part of my job is the guilt

 

I find it hard sometimes to say no or put myself first. I think I’ve had one day off sick in the past seven years. I feel terribly guilty if I have to cancel at short notice or can’t accommodate a patient when they desperately want to be seen.

 

I used to find it very difficult to put myself first, but I have now realised that 90% of patients do understand and it’s not the end of the world if things don’t always go to plan. Experience has taught me that there is always a way to get there in the end.

 

Combining two passions, dentistry and exercise at a Colgate eventChoosing the right path for me

At one point, I felt I was stuck in a UDA rut and I made the decision to leave my stable two-day-a-week NHS paycheck in search of something more fulfilling. For me this meant focusing on cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry.

 

After I’d attended courses and invested in myself, I began to take real pride in my work. Patients see this and you’ll be surprised which patients will come to you for something more than just a routine examination or filling.

 

The best part of my job is the satisfaction I get from transforming a patient’s smile, delivering beautifully natural aesthetics and seeing their reaction. I’ve found that being a dentist is very rewarding, once you start focusing on the treatments you enjoy the most!

 

My life outside of dentistry

 

I love life and all my family and friends who keep me busy. When I’m not at work, often I’m playing tennis or going to the gym. In school I was really into music, especially guitar, which I have played since I was eight.  I still love to play now and sometimes put the odd acoustic cover onto my Instagram @teeth_by_janine. Having hobbies like this is great for stress relief. I think that making time for the things I enjoy outside of dentistry has made me a happier and better dentist.

 

Sometimes being cooped up in surgery with back to back patients can be hard. I see the daylight fading away and miss out on sunny summer days; it would be nice to be able to enjoy the days more. Luckily, I have Mondays off. A four-day week suits me and helps me live the life I want. I’d encourage any dentist who is frustrated with their current situation to consider all the options open to them, sometimes even small changes can make a big difference.

 

Janine SohotaJanine Sohota

 

If you’re planning your career or thinking of making a change, find out more about the career options available to you.