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Is it normal to feel like this?

Okay. I love being a Dental Hygienist. I love interacting with patients, cleaning teeth, the whole nine yards. However, sometimes I feel like the stupidest person alive and will be depressed for days about it. Sometimes I’ll make a mistake trying to diagnose perio, maybe I’ll forget to do something during the appointment that I shouldn’t have forgotten to do, maybe the doctor asks me a question about the patients situation that I didn’t even think to know the answer to. All things like this will make me sick for days. Like I don’t deserve to be a hygienist at all or I’m going to get fired and I should just quit now. The other hygienist has so much experience and knowledge and I feel incredibly stupid. I mean, I just graduated last year and don’t even have a year of experience under my belt yet but, is it normal to feel like this? I thought long and hard about even asking this question because I feel so embarrassed. I mean, some days I feel completely awesome and like I’m doing great at what I do. Other days make me wonder how I even got a license. Am I too hard on myself? Is it because of my experience level? Any input would be greatly appreciated.



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5 Answers

Although sometimes I feel like an idiot, you’ll get more comfortable as time goes on.
however, the extent in which it bothers you, honestly, sounds like anxiety (I’ve been there, I know). maybe talk to your Pcp about it

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Do you only feel this way about your profession or are there other aspects of your life that cause anxiety? I agree with Enameliscious, it may be helpful to talk with a medical professional.
The first couple of years of practice can be challenging, there is always a learning curve but it does sound like maybe you are being too hard on yourself. Take pride in the things you are confident in and be proactive with the things you feel you could improve upon…you can be a fantastic hygienist!!

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I think you should seek the advice of a medical professional. Start off with you GP and you may benefit from a referral to a therapist or psychiatrist. I’m newer to hygiene and I know I make mistakes sometimes. I missed some radiographic calc this week. The doc noticed and I was embarrassed. The difference between us is that I used it as a learning experience and didnt beat myself up about it. You sound very anxious and that bit about “I don’t deserve to be a hygienist at all ” and “make me sick for days” sounds outrageously hard on yourself. I used to feel that way before I was treated for anxiety and depression. Feeling this out of sync is not healthy for you.

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It will get easier with more experience. Hygienists are perfectionists and you are being too hard on yourself. We all mess up. We don’t always the answer to every question, but we will research it so that next time we will be ready. Don’t worry so much.

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I do think more experience will help build your confidence. I’ve been doing this for several years and there are still some days that I think I’m a screw up. It’s life. Some days are going to go smooth and you’ll go home and feel awesome. Other days are more of a struggle. Look at every situation as a learning expereince and an opportunity to grow. We’ve all been rookies. We’ve all had to learn and grow. If the other hygienist has a lot of experience, ask for advice or guidance. We are always happy to help each other out! Deep breaths. Tommorrow is another day!

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