As We Look To 2021…

As we approach the end of the year, the holiday season and the beginning of winter, it is a time of reflection in order to review what has passed as well as making plans for the new year.  As we have navigated the challenges of this pandemic, it has always been an inspiration to me in noting the trust and confidence that our patients have shown in our practice. I also have to mention the courage, wisdom and confidence that our staff has demonstrated in understanding their responsibilities in providing health care in the face of a viral pandemic that carries real risks for their own personal safety as well as to their families and loved ones. We all have made personal sacrifices in dealing with our actions in the face of this pandemic. But practicing personal distancing, wearing a face mask/shield, washing our hands and practicing personal hygiene and monitoring our interactions outside the home and office is the sacrifice we all have experienced in the year of 2020.
Inside the office, the policies and procedures that we have instituted due to providing health care, has been strict and inconvenient.  Having universal precautions as part of our daily workflow has made these changes manageable, but obeying CDC guidelines has slowed the delivery of care as well as put additional costs to the bottom line of running a business. In talking to industry advisors and participating in continuing education groups as well as working at the Care Clinic, I believe that we have met and exceeded the standard of care for protecting our patients as well as the health of our staff. I am constantly uplifted by observing that our patients have returned in full force in the establishment and maintenance of their health care. I am so appreciative of the confidence that my staff and patients have shown in Spring Lake Dental Group that I want to share my feelings concerning what is ahead in the year 2021.
We must maintain with vigilance the habits we have been practicing in fighting this virus.  The logistics of the vaccine will be challenging and daunting.  I, for one, will be first in line when the vaccine becomes available. The risks involved pale to the benefit of allowing our economy and quality of life to be re-established. I encourage staff and patients to consider the risks as well and make a decision that is right for them. I make a lot of daily medical decisions based upon risk/benefit ratio, and I feel that the historically fast development of these vaccines is not without their risks. But being a scientist as well as a clinician, leads me to have more faith in the process as we move forward. I know this is a personal decision, but my faith in my God leads me to putting it in his hands as I move forward.
The pandemic has also challenged my staffing.  You could perhaps make the case that maybe I am flawed and not a very good leader. This might explain some loss of staff. But SLDG was built 24 years ago on the bedrock of three principals. 1. treat each other and patients as family, 2. never treat a stranger and 3. be a life-long student.  This practice will continue to monitor changing technology, current materials and methods and techniques, but the way we do our homework on a daily basis will never change. I appreciate the confidence and trust that the staff and our patients have placed in me and our practice and I look forward with optimism and enthusiasm to the coming year.
Let me take this moment to wish all of you a safe, healthy, happy and vigilant holiday season and a new year that allows us all to focus on the humanity that shows that we are all in this together; and together, we will learn to value our time on this earth by respecting each other in every way on a daily basis!