Wellbeing in dentistry – the stats we all need to know

Recently collected data offers invaluable insight into how dental team members feel about their workplace, colleagues, pay, and much more, says Ritesh Aggarwal.

The dental profession, like all other healthcare sectors, whether working within the NHS or in private practice, thrives on a dedicated workforce that consistently delivers quality care to patients. However, to ensure the optimum performance and dedication of dental professionals, it’s crucial that we understand their job satisfaction, mental health, and overall wellbeing.

Recent statistics collected by Psynergy Mental Health have offered a comprehensive view of the UK dental workforce’s sentiment regarding where they work, who they work with, and how they are remunerated, amongst other issues (data collated from all staff members working in dental practices using Psynergy Mental Health’s platform).

The power of information

Understanding these figures and their potential implications is of utmost importance, not least because these individuals are on the frontline of patient care, directly influencing the quality, safety, and efficiency of health services.

When their wellbeing is compromised, it can lead to decreased job performance, increased treatment errors, and diminished patient satisfaction. Prolonged neglect of their mental and emotional health can lead to burnout, which can then lead to consequences such as reduced empathy, increased absenteeism, and high turnover staffing rates.

Furthermore, dental professionals experiencing burnout are at an elevated risk of developing anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Addressing their wellbeing in a timely and constructive manner ensures not only their personal health but also the maintenance of a robust healthcare system that patients can trust and rely upon.

The vital stats

1. Job satisfaction and confidence

Most respondents shared positive feedback:

Some, 83.8% enjoy their role, 70.3% feel their role is valued, and 89.2% are confident in their capabilities at work. In addition, 83.8% believe they are treated fairly at their place of work.

2. Compensation

Despite the positive feedback regarding job roles and treatment, only 37.8% believe their pay is fair for the responsibilities they shoulder. This is a significant area of concern and warrants attention.

3. Work environment

Safety and suitability are on dental professionals’ minds, as are the aesthetics of the practice:

  • Some 94.6% find their workplace safe and suitable
  • However, only 67.6% like the look of their workspace.

4. Professional standards

Dental professionals display a high degree of:

  • Confidence in safeguarding (90.9%)
  • Compliance with the General Dental Council’s (GDC) standards of behaviour (93.9%).

But there are challenges:

  • Team morale and conflict resolution hover at a low ≈ 64%
  • Only 64.9% feel outcomes of unacceptable behaviour are fair.

5. Support systems in place

  • While 83.8% feel adequately supported by management, only 62.2% are confident in accessing such support when needed
  • Some 78.4% believe they receive enough support for skill enhancement
  • A lesser 64.9% think their health and wellbeing is a priority at work.

6. Personal wellbeing and work-life balance

These figures are alarming and highlight the need for increased mental health initiatives: • 62.2% worry about work or practice issues outside of work hours • 54.1% claim work affects their sleep

  • Over half (51.4%) cite work as a major stressor
  • Alarmingly, 64.9% attend work despite feeling unwell or in need of a mental health day
  • Additionally, 56.8% feel guilty when taking a holiday.

7. Financial concerns

Financial wellbeing directly impacts mental health:

  • Some 65.5% feel financially stretched as pay day approaches
  • Around 62.1% confess finances are a major source of stress.

8. Serving the community

On a brighter note:

  • Around 87.9% feel they serve their community fairly and inclusively
  • Some 93.9% believe they promote equal opportunities.

Room for improvement

While many dental professionals in the UK find satisfaction and pride in their roles, there are areas, especially when it comes to mental health, that need significant attention.

As dental leaders and professionals, understanding and addressing these concerns is imperative for the sustained health and success of our profession.

This article first appeared in Private Dentistry magazine. To receive a copy, sign up to Dentistry Club.

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