A letter to my younger self – Gina Vega
Gina Vega speaks about the importance of forging your own path and remembering the dental team also includes the nurses and reception staff.
Being persistent is a very important quality to have. If you have a dream, a goal or whatever you call your finishing line, you have to persist, work hard and carry on in spite of any difficulties in your way.
When I was eight years old, I made up my mind that I wanted to be a dentist; 10 years later nothing and nobody made me change my decision.
I worked hard at school to achieve good grades and get a place at my chosen university. Fortunately, I have very supportive parents that helped me achieve my childhood dream.
The owners of the first practice I worked at, two brothers, were so lovely. They gave me many opportunities to prove to myself and them that I was ready to take on more responsibility. As well as be trusted to take care of their patients.
The first few years after university it is very normal to feel nervous and insecure of what you are doing. Be persistent and persevere, do not give up; the quicker you get up after a fall the better you will recover.
Do not let a bad endodontic procedure or filling define your future. We all make mistakes, especially at the beginning of our careers. So don’t give up, remember that practise makes perfect!
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One thing that will define you is having good work ethics. I don’t know if it is a matter of character or you can learn it, but either way work hard to achieve it!
Arrive on time, be reliable and trustworthy. Not only with your patients, but with the people around you, be part of the team.
I worked as a dental nurse when I came to the UK, it took me two and a half years to requalify as a dentist. During this time I learned how dentistry was practised over here.
Mainly I learned how arrogant and selfish some dentists are. I was put down several times and patronised many more!
If I had it my way, I would make it compulsory that every dentist work as a dental nurse for six months. Then they can understand and recognise what it is to be on the other side of the chair.
I find it incredible that dentists don’t know how to mix materials or cannot do anything without a nurse by their side. Don’t be one of them.
Be kind, help out when you are running late. We all like to say how important it is to be part of a team. But the team is not only your dentist colleagues, they are the nurses and reception staff of the practice you work at.
Be considerate by not wasting materials, take care of the instruments and machinery that you work with. Treat others with respect and how you would like to be treated, this will define you!
Never ever forget who you are and where you come from. It is important to stay grounded as you grow in your career.
Invest your time learning what you are interested in and become an expert on that subject. Do what feels right for you and do not compromise yourself for a job or to please your colleagues.
Enjoy your triumphs, they are yours and you deserve to feel proud about them.
Do not feel peer pressure. We all have our good times and they may be different from other’s experiences. And no, you don’t have to be a social media influencer to be happy and successful!
Catch previous letters to my younger self:
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