Dental failure and being ‘perfect’ in patient care is a key stressor for dentists. In her first blog on this topic, Dr. Brummett talked about deciding to work toward perfection rather than feeling frustrated about not achieving it. Read on for the rest of her story:
Stop Trying to Be the Right Kind of Perfect
The next morning after my revelation about perfection, I woke up, had coffee, and realized the patient who had been the focus of my upset (over a mistake I made) had texted me. She wrote, “Good morning Dr. Brummett! I just wanted to let you know that I am doing well and have not had any pain.”
What? My patient was doing well, texting me to tell me how well, and she was thanking me?
A quest to provide myself with a new perspective and a reminder acronym began. This perspective would hopefully take shape so that I could share it with my team, my children, and anyone suffering from the punching match of perfection.
Perfection can be the root of depression and upset, which is why becoming perfect will be my focus and acceptance of the process my goal. Perfect will stand for seven perfect words:
P is for position, as it’s good to remain humble about one’s status.
E is for effort, not the result.
R is for resilience, as I will fall, get back up, and grow from the failures.
F is for facing the fear, embracing the challenge, and striving in the face of fear.
E is for empathy, treating myself and others with compassion.
C is for courage, as though I might not have a cape, I can still use my whole heart.
T is for trust, because with perseverance I can trust that everything will work out.
Later that day, my patient contacted me again and wanted me to know one last thing. She said, “I forgot to thank you for your gentle touch.”
This acknowledgment really drove home the point to me. I will attempt to stop looking through my rearview mirror and look forward through the front window of my life. I will allow myself, and encourage others, to become.
I am thankful for Dr. Pankey’s courage to share his failures and for our patients that believe in us and show us gratitude and appreciation. Now, isn’t that perfect?