After I graduated from dental school, I began my search for an associate position. I was ready to work and in debt thanks to my student loans! I reached for my alumni directory and scheduled a meeting with a dentist who fit the profile of someone who might be looking to bring on an associate. When I gave him a call he informed me that he was not looking for an associate at the time but if I was interested in working I should go volunteer. The nerve! After all hadn’t I essentially been volunteering my whole life? I needed a J-O-B!
However, after giving his words some thought, I ended up taking his advice and volunteered for a non-profit clinic on my days off from my part-time dental position. As it turned out, I really enjoyed working at the clinic. It gave me the opportunity to treat adolescents doing everything from endo to ortho. It paved the way to being hired by the organization and becoming their first senior staff dentist. Eventually, I cut my hours in private practice and began working more and more at the clinic where I ran the whole operation. It was so rewarding for not only me but for everyone involved. The patients we treated were so appreciative, the staff was eager to work, and my involvement in the community and with other doctors grew. It was a position that paved so many roads for me including my decision to become an orthodontist.
Fast forward to the present, some of you reading this may be looking for a change, could be at a crossroads in your career, or just looking to give back to the community. Well, a wonderful opportunity to get involved will soon be presenting itself to members or our society and profession. In the next few weeks, The Columbus Dental Society and Physicians CareConnection will be opening a clinic day at the Columbus Health Department. The purpose of this clinic will be to reach out to individuals who are in urgent need of dental work and have few other places to turn. If you are interested in volunteering please contact the society.
Who knows where your volunteerism and involvement may lead. Aside from getting a sense of gratification in helping your community and helping our profession express its goodwill, you may be inspired to improve or change your perspective.