The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) acknowledges the serious and currently real risks burnout pose to the dental profession.
A third of survey respondents saying they have ‘considered leaving the profession’ suggests work-life balance still needs to be addressed.
NZDA encourages its members to prioritise wellbeing but acknowledges how tough the practice of dentistry and the working environment is. As far back as the 1990s we published guides on ‘Self Care for Dentists’ and we have run, throughout New Zealand many wellness courses for our members.
Among the major stressors for dentists is the need constantly to provide highly detailed, mistake free, skilled care for patients. There is a stressful ‘treadmill’ to this, compounded by high expectations, high costs of professional dental practice and the constant threat of receiving a complaint. High regulatory demands, personal goals and the threat of complaint or failure, feature strongly in dissatisfaction and burnout statistics.
Dentistry is highly demanding work – both mentally and physically – and we would like to see many of the report’s recommendations adopted, including government funding made available to provide confidential and easily accessible counselling services for oral health professionals when burnout occurs.