What is the funniest thing that has happened (to you or witnessed) in your job?
I'll never forget my first patient as a dental student... You see, she had been in treatment at the student clinic for so long at that point, that she almost knew more about the procedure we were performing than I did! Amazing person she was.
Favourite guilty pleasure after a stressful day at work?
Anything cold and with bubbles... Usually non-alcoholic and sugar-free (have to live what you preach).
How has a failure (or apparent failure) set you up for later success? Do you have a "favourite failure" of yours?
While making mistakes during dental school may feel terribly scary, the reality is that there's no better time to 'fail'. For me, learning to identify and manage complications back then means that today I can feel confident in my ability to take care of my patients.
If you have a billboard for all other medical professionals out there with any message, what would it say? (It can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)
Constant self-reflection is the only path to success.
What is an unusual habit or (conventionally considered to be) absurd thing that you do/love (may or may not be related to your discipline/practice)?
Through photo and video, I document every patient and procedure that I perform. I'm almost religious about it - just ask my nurse and she'll tell you! Over time it's become an amazing source of self-reflection and personal growth. And now that I do a bit of teaching, it's an invaluable tool to help convey concepts and techniques to younger students.
In the last 5 years, what new belief, behaviour or habit that has most improved your life (may or may not be related to your discipline/practice)?
Patience. It's still a work in progress, and something that I struggle with (like many of our generation). But I'm learning that all great things take time, and unwavering persistence is the only way to achieve your goals. I once heard someone put it like this - micro speed, macro patience. I think that's a great way to think of it. Becoming a great dentist, teacher, and business owner will take me a lifetime, but I'm learning to be ok with that.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven student? What advice should they ignore?
Learn from those who have gone on to do what it is that you aspire to do! So, if you have an interest in owning a business, start talking to that clinical supervisor who just opened their own business. If you want to become a surgeon, get in touch with that graduate who just landed the surgical residency. You'll be surprised by the amount of people willing to help.
Oh and get comfortable making mistakes and learning from them, and ignore any fear mongering you may encounter. University is the place to learn, and it's very difficult to learn in a state of fear.
What bad recommendations do you hear in your area of expertise that you would want to correct the most?
That you cannot or should not open your own dental practice until you have X years of experience. The truth is, operating a dental practice has more to do with business (staffing, marketing, etc.) than dentistry, so don't let that stop you!
What is your best or your favourite achievement in your career so far?
Can I pick two? Becoming a teacher! In the back of my mind it had always been a lifelong dream, so when the chance came to return to the university where I had graduated, I jumped on it. Fast forwards two years, and I can still say it's one of my favourite days of the week!
I'm also immensely proud of the community of young clinicians that we've brought together through our education group, General Dental Residency. Nothing makes me happier than seeing early-career dentists thrive!
Dr Daniel Maryanovsky BHSc(Dent) MDent