The Gift of Membership
By Dr. Robert Delie
The holidays are more than just a time to eat turkey or a veggie tofu substitute. The winter semester break is much more than time away from exams, instructors and patients. Getting away from your classmates can be a good thing. I think the pop group Chicago, most prominent in the 70s and 80s, sums this feeling up best with the song lyric “everybody needs some time away.” I’m dating myself with a musical reference you may or may not know. If you don’t know that song, find it on iTunes and you’ll get the picture.
Soon, some of you will graduate from dental school and “get out into the real world.” Whether your future career path is pursuing a specialty, GPR or private practice, you will not be alone. You will have a professional degree to carry you and your peers. To understand that you will be a part of the dental profession and that you have an opportunity to contribute to your profession is really important to your future career. Participation in ASDA/ADA and membership with PDA and your local dental society is the way to stay connected. Maintain your interest in your profession through your local society’s Continuing Education. Get involved with your profession and understand the challenges of practice with help from PDA. Plan to attend the ADA New Dentist Conference and stay active after graduation!
With your future career not too far off in the distance, belonging to the profession may not be a high priority; you still might have some crowns and bridges to finish before you graduate…make that a lot of crowns and bridges to finish. “Don’t worry, be happy” (another 80s musical reference). You will finish and when you’ve got a handle of this dentistry thing, you will see that one of the most important aspects of dentistry is not how fast you can prep a tooth, but your valuable professional organizations and the great impact of your participation in these organizations.
The year’s end is a time to celebrate friends and family, to share and gather together and to look forward to a new start. So go ahead and make your holiday toasts and resolutions, and hold your convictions firm.
See you next year.
Dr. Delie is the Dental General Practice Residency Program Director at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, PA.