Growing a practice, starting a family: Get a good grasp on a ‘new normal’

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say the last year flew by.

It was my first full year in my start-up practice with my partner, Dr. Lindsey Wendt. We grew more than we imagined and were faced with some challenges along the way. Overall, the year was very successful from a professional standpoint. I’m hoping for an even more successful 2020.

Dr. Stuchlik

While I have professional goals I plan to accomplish, it would be smart for me to also preface that my husband and I are due with our first baby in April, thus some personal goals tie into my professional goals.

My number one goal for 2020 is to get a good grasp on a new “normal” in my personal and professional life. Sacrifices in my personal life will occur in order to stay on top of growing a practice along with starting a family. I think it’s safe to say that I don’t really know what I’m getting into as a first-time parent, but I’m confident I can make all of the pieces fit together so that my husband and I stay sane, we have a healthy child, and a thriving business.

Towards the end of 2019, I purchased a Nikon D7500 DSLR camera for both professional and personal use. Goal number two for 2020 is to enhance my photography skills in and out of the office. In dentistry, great photography tells really great stories to help with case acceptance. As our practice grows, we’re seeing more and more dentistry walk into our doors, specifically cosmetic in nature. Having great photographs will help a patient feel as confident as we feel in our skills. I believe great dental pictures will help our marketing efforts this year as well. Through attending a Spear Workshop in early December, I feel comfortable with taking photos. This year I hope to work on speed and training my assistant to use more than just his iPhone for our photos. Of course, I hope to learn to use more other lenses in a personal setting to capture all the special moments to come in my life.

Another professional goal I have for 2020 is to grow in the area of sleep dentistry. Goal number three: I hope to better understand the concept of how airway plays a role in dentistry as a whole and to help patients make the best decisions on their treatment. I believe adding this aspect to my practice along with the photography skills will help a huge goal of growing my business. It’s a no brainer that any practice owner wants to grow their business over any given year. In 2020, my hope is these two specific goals will not only bring profit, but also bring trust within the community we serve.

I do have a few other goals that have been ongoing for a few years that I will continue into 2020. For one, a huge goal is to finish up my requirements to receive my Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. Another is to continue to help others see the value in membership within organized dentistry through my involvement with the Greater Houston Dental Society and Texas Dental Association. Lastly, I may be most excited about serving as an alternate delegate with the 15th District at the ADA House of Delegates this October. My biggest goal is to bring the voice of a new dentist to this caucus and to bring change to the national scope with my colleagues from Houston.

Here’s to a new year! May all of your goals be fulfilled in the next twelve months.

Dr. Katie Stuchlik is a New Dentist Now guest blogger. She grew up in Houston and graduated from The University of Texas School of Dentistry in 2015. Katie is a general dentist and start-up practice owner in Houston, Texas. When she’s not working or staying involved with the Greater Houston Dental Society and the Texas Dental Association, she’s usually posting pictures of her miniature Australian shepherd puppy or her CrossFit workouts.

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