Working in multiple dental practices can be a lot like playing musical chairs. While some clinicians may prefer to work in one practice exclusively, others may choose to move around and work in multiple dental offices. Dental hygiene provides flexibility to fit your career to your lifestyle, as noted by the American Dental Association. Of course, there are pros and cons to consider, to determine if this is the right career move for you.
Vacation and Benefits
One advantage to working in multiple dental practices is requesting time off. Taking time off while working in multiple offices can be much easier because you may only work one or two days at each per week. If so, that leaves much of the week to play with your work schedule and plan your days off.
Working in one dental practice may make it difficult for you to get a coworker to cover your days off, as your coworkers may not be available to take over your duties for a few days. When time off is difficult to find, vacations tend to get delayed. However, when you work in multiple practices, you can be creative. For instance, if you'd like to take an extra-long weekend to attend a family reunion, instead of taking two days off from one practice, you may be able to split your vacation time between the two. That way you don't completely deplete your paid time off at one practice.
A disadvantage is that part-time employees usually do not receive a full benefits package. Thus, you will have to find alternative ways to obtain medical insurance and for your own retirement fund.
There are many positives when it comes to your professional development and working in more than one office. Collaborating with a variety of dental teams is rewarding in that you can learn many philosophies of dentistry. You may be presented with opportunities to further your training if each practice offers continuing education courses. Working with a variety of clinicians builds important skills that can be used in your other workplace. Your added knowledge will make you a great resource and the go-to employee for advice. For example, if one office is looking to purchase an intraoral camera, you may be able to offer your opinion if you currently use the technology at your second office.
Having to move from office to office can be difficult as many clinicians have purchased their own equipment. Operator chairs and loupes are specific for each clinician and are used daily with patient care. The disadvantage of having to transport your equipment is that you run the risk of it being lost or damaged in the shuffle. It is also inconvenient at times to pack up everything at the end of the day.
Another drawback to moving between dental practices is missing the patients with whom you have built a rapport. Working different days in each office provides limited availability to patients who request to be treated specifically by you.
Working in different offices provides dental hygienists with a sense of job security. For example, if a practice needs to lower your hours, you have the security of knowing that you have a spot at your other office. Another advantage of working in multiple offices is seeing new faces every day. You can also enjoy the change of scenery and interacting with various technologies. Being challenged every day in multiple offices may also lessen the chance of you getting burned out or bored.
Dental hygiene has historically been a popular and successful career path. Dental hygiene is in demand and is expected to have a 19 percent growth rate by 2024, according to U.S. News & World Report. What this means for you is that the field will be healthy moving forward, with a plethora of professional opportunities ahead.
- Working in multiple offices is challenging, both in good ways and in inconvenient ways.
- Increase your flexibility by splitting your vacation time between practices.
- Be confident in your career, as it is on a trend to grow in the coming years.
Why It's Valuable
Working in multiple dental practices can elevate your dental hygiene career to a whole new level. However, there are both pros and cons to consider when deciding if this is the right move for your career. By learning from dental staff at multiple offices, you're likely to gain more professional skill sets, making you a more flexible and crucial dental hygienist to have on the team.