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Dr. Jennifer Hasslen is an assistant professor at Creighton University School of Dentistry. In another segment of our Clinical Skills Springboard Series, she shares tips for finding success in your career and life after dental school.

Dr. Jenn Hasslen is a clinical professor of general dentistry at Creighton University. She has been a dentist for 17 years and joined the Air Force as a dentist. She currently teaches full time and practices dentistry one day per week. She teaches operative dentistry at all four years of students as well as CEREC skills.

Here are some tips that help her succeed in dentistry:

#1 Believe in Yourself

Journal your successes and learn from your defeats. Going back to see the times you found success lets you see your progression and help you get through challenges.

#2 Your Schedule

Don’t stress about your schedule. Looking at it right before you leave means you take those stresses home with you. Look at your schedule earlier in the day if possible, or better yet, allow your assistant to look at your schedule for you. Be very clear about the next steps and take great notes so that your assistant can have everything set up ahead of time and your day goes more smoothly.

#3 I’m Hungry

Things don’t always work out as planned, and you aren’t going to be used to a more hectic schedule. There are days even as a seasoned dentist where you get behind. Keep snacks or a protein shake available. You will work better and save the embarrassment of a growling stomach next to your patient’s head.

#4 Exercise

Even running through an office may not be enough to keep you healthy. Find time to exercise for your health and well-being, even if it means getting up early to do it.

#5 Self-Care

Even when life is busy, you need to take care of yourself. It’s a physical job on your hands, back, neck, and shoulders. Read self-help books if you feel you benefit from them. Yoga can also be a great way to practice mindfulness.

#6 Ergonomics

Don’t be afraid to ask your patient to alter their position to save your body. There is no need for you to contort yourself and potentially damage your body 40 hours a week. Check out websites that specialize in ergonomics for dentistry. Set your loupes correctly so you are not straining your neck to use them. A saddle stool is also great to use because it puts our hips in a better position and doesn’t allow you to slouch, which helps prevent pain.

#7 Compartmentalize

Leave the office at the office ad home stuff at home. Your patients should not know if you have personal issues or issues between the staff.

#8 References

Keep things such as phone numbers, notes, textbooks, or colleagues close by. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.

#9 The Binder

Keep all of your relevant information such as NPI numbers, board exam scores, and CE hour verifications. It makes it easy to revamp your CV or to enter your hours needed for credentialing.

#10 Do NOT Be Afraid

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Your first place may not be a perfect fit, or maybe you find a different avenue in dentistry, but don’t hesitate to explore lots of opportunities.


If you have further questions, please reach out to [email protected]