Student Status

So, I made a decision. Another decision.

But first…my appointment with the retina specialist is coming up Wednesday. Please keep good thoughts that she will look, evaluate and then pat me on the head and tell me that nothing needs to be done and I can go ahead and schedule the first cataract surgery. Thanks!

Anyway…regular readers know that I have been in a state of semi-retirement for about 4 1/2 years. My hands failed me and clinical dental assisting became a non-career for me. My granddaughters have been my job since then. With personal plans now changed, and the future of both this country and my survival in question, I have to think seriously about money, and finding a job. My girls are growing up anyway, faster than I can believe, and theoretically within a few years (even if my life was perfect right now) I really would be rather useless as a caregiver for two girls who will be in school all day. There’s the grand-dog, who I’m sure would love 8 hours of attention, but…no.

In short, rather out of necessity or boredom, employment of some sort was likely to be a part of my future anyway and clearly in my case necessity has trumped (hah! I made a very poor word choice, but find it slightly humorous nonetheless) boredom. So what to do…

I have that Sociology degree (which I will never regret) but which does not come with a great deal of practical application for income, and it was never really meant to blossom into a career anyway.

Given the state of our country I find the concept of Social Justice Warrior to be a much needed career field right now and for the foreseeable future, but eating and paying rent are options that I value as well. Anyone know of any openings that also offer healthcare? Oh, never mind…I won’t be able to afford healthcare, nor will it be available soon either.

On a related topic, perhaps I can go into politics, maybe even run for office. Apparently you don’t need any experience, and can tell lots of lies and still be elected to the highest position our country offers. That one sounds plausible and I don’t think that I’d be any worse than what we have now. And my first week of executive orders would clearly reverse EVERYTHING being hurtled out the door of the White House right now.

What I know, and what I am good at, and what sustained me monetarily, and what provided a career purpose for the majority of my adult life is dentistry. Thus, it makes the most sense to stick with what I know. Clinical work is out, but there is the business side, the front office, the administrative functions. Secretly, between you and me and this blog post, I really don’t like any of that stuff. I became a dental assistant to work directly with patients in treatment and education. I am a hands-on gal, happiest in scrubs and up to my elbows in saliva. Those days are over, and, as I do have experience in many of the tasks that are needed in the non-clinical running of a dental practice, it seems that it would make sense to focus there.

So, while I have some time, I have once more taken on the role of student. Amazon has supplied me with the current, comprehensive text version of “Front Office Dental Administration 101” or From Saliva to Scheduling Systems: Everything You Need To Know To Run An Amazing Dental Practice. Disclaimer: both of the above titles are not really textbooks in print, just in case you were wondering.

I think you get the idea though and I do have a pretty comprehensive text that covers current practice. I figure it can’t hurt to spend some time reviewing, relearning, and brushing up on the basics. Every dental office uses scheduling software, most with almost imperceptible differences. Usually once you know one you can transition to the others easily. I can copy, and fax, and use a multi-line phone. I can be professional when speaking to patients, and other providers, and labs, and pharmacies. I have a working knowledge of dental codes, treatment planning, accounts receivable and payable. Does this sound like a resume?

I need more training in insurance and definitely in the use of electronic patient records, although I don’t think the dental field has been as quick to adopt an ER system as the medical profession. You can actually still find dental offices that chart on paper.

Geez, this does sound like a resume doesn’t it. Just in case you know of any dental office in Washington- 253 area code specifically- and want to pass on my info…

Perhaps this will be a jump start to returning to a career that I thought I was finished with. Perhaps it will fail miserably and I will have to look elsewhere. As with most things these days, every day brings change, and I can never be certain what the outcome of that change will be. Yet it feels good to plan and to move one foot in front of the other and to have purpose. Especially now, given where we are, we all need purpose.

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5 thoughts on “Student Status”

  1. Your idea makes sense to me. You have the background for the work, the desire to learn it– and the motivation to make it work for you. Plus even though you didn’t like the office work back then, doesn’t mean that you might enjoy it now. Think of it as a Sociological Observational Experience in the Office Practices of Modern Dental Cultures of the American Northwest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Ally, I love that idea! In fact, when I was finishing my degree (while working in oral surgery) used to have all sorts of little, mini sociological studies about dentistry, my co-workers, etc. Of course…they never knew, but hey…it wasn’t official research anyway 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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