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Having a career as a Dental Assistant can be very rewarding. It can also be stressful and overwhelming at times. Working with people can get the best of us from time to time. Being a Dental Assistant requires ongoing dedication and energy. If you find yourself becoming physically and emotionally drained due to your work responsibilities as a Dental Assistant, you may be on your way to experiencing a burnout.

Often, stress and burnout are confused. Stress is also the result of the work environment. However, it is the result of periodic issues and complications in the work place. It might be having a bad day now and then. Burnout is a constant, ongoing feeling of not being adequate in your job on a daily basis. You may not longer take pride or interest in your position as a Dental Assistant.

Burnout results in feelings of hopelessness and resentment. If left untreated, it can escalate to depression. Dental Assistants who experience burnout often feel unappreciated, overworked, feel they have too much to accomplish in limited time, and begin to resent their level of responsibility. Placing unrealistic expectations on yourself is also a factor in burnout.

Burnout generally runs in stages. You go from feeling excited about your job as a Dental Assistant to forcing yourself to go to work each morning. Most people aren’t even sure what is wrong at this point. However, you will begin to experience exhaustion that leads to irritability. Burnout often has symptoms including headaches, changes in appetite, and high blood pressure. During phases of burnout, your relationships both outside of work and at work are going to suffer.

If you feel you may be suffering from burnout, talk with your supervisor. You can find support in your co-workers. You might consider attending a few counseling sessions to help you develop an action plan.

To avoid and eliminate burnout in the Dental Assistant field, you must meet your physical and emotional needs. Too often we spread ourselves too thin. We focus on the needs of out patients, our employer, and our family. While this is great, it is important to remember your own needs. Eventually not taking care of them will result in your inability to care for the needs of anyone else.

Meet your physical needs by having regular checkups, getting enough sleep, and eating right. Exercise is a very important part of feeling good physically. To keep yourself feeling good mentally, use your coping skills. Know what triggers your negative feelings and keep them in check. Keep realistic goals and demands on your body and your time. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t accomplish everything you set out to do that day. Instead, focus on what you did accomplish. Learn to manage your time. It is OK to say know if you already feel over extended.

Focusing on your social needs is also important. Nurture your relationships with your spouse, children, and close friends. Stay involved in Church and community organizations that are of interest to you. If you are unhappy with your job as a Dental Assistant, talk to your employer about help to remedy the situation. Improving your communication skills with others will also improve your over all health.

Dental Assistants generally enjoy their career choice and put forth their best effort everyday. However, burnout is very common in the dental field. Knowing what causes burnout, they signs and symptoms, and effective ways to manage it will make you be able to focus on your job again. Improving your physical, mental, and social health will soon having you going to work with enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge in the dental field soon. If your feelings don’t change, you will want to discuss the situation further. It may be depression that needs to be treated instead of burnout. Realistically, some Dental Assistants realize at this time they need a career change.

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