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  • Writer's pictureDr. Neha Kapila

Learning as a skill and applying it to your Dental Practice

I consider myself to be a student of life. I believe learning is a lifelong process with no beginning and end and it's not just for children and young adults.

Being curious and learning something new each day, keeps me growing personally and in my practice as a Dentist and an Entrepreneur.

I am at my happiest and feeling fulfilled, when I am setting new, ambitious goals towards learning new things for myself, acting upon it, and achieving them. Whether it be in my personal life, in my journey towards self development,as a parent,or as a Dentist, lifelong learning skills have helped me keep on track towards personal and professional growth, and success .

One must strive to keep learning lifelong and learn from everyone they encounter in their personal and professional lives.

All of our strengths and weaknesses are different. We have opportunities to learn, increase our knowledge and skills, and grow, around us all the time.

No one knows everything. I believe that a leader,dentist or manager with this kind of thinking and attitude is on a fast track towards getting in their way and hampering growth and success for themselves, their team, and dental business.

In the dental practice/ organization, the leaders /managers along with knowing their learning styles, must learn about their team members learning styles too. Doing so, they can be supportive and help their team members train, learn and grow, leading to success in their dental practice.

Learning is a skill that can be learned and honed, as one learns their particular learning style, according to whatever works the best for their personality type.

Over the years learning styles could change and can be improved for getting the best results to apply this important skill in different areas of life.

Everybody is different. How you use this important skill and apply it to your benefit is an objective choice. The best way to learn is to embrace all different styles of learning and then apply them,to achieve the best results.

VARK model by Neil Fleming (1987) describes most people as 4 different types of learners;

  • Visual

  • Auditory

  • Reading/Writing

  • Kinesthetic

I am a Kinesthetic learner for the most part, but use other learning styles on a day to day basis too.

Here are some of the strategies I use to my advantage and apply, for focused learning and increasing my knowledge every day in my Dental practice and personal life;

  • Keep an open mind;

Teaching is not just for teachers/ coaches. I learn something new from someone every day.

Share your knowledge with others and keep an open mind to listen and learn from others when they speak, no matter what their designation is in your dental practice is.

  • Brainstorming ideas and Open communication;

Managers and leaders who keep open communication and an open mind towards their team’s opinions, views, and ideas, create a path for growth for everyone involved, by applying these newly learned ideas towards their dental practice growth and success.

  • Reading and Writing;

If I learn something new or have a new idea, I put it on my notepad or a paper Journal. Writing helps me, keep me focused and also to review it in the future as needed.

Reading and Writing helps with enhancing overall brain function, increases memory, and fight against the Early-onset of Alzheimer's disease.

  • Brain breaks;

Use brain breaks to stay focused, energized, and relaxed.

Usually, creative ideas pop up, when the brain is forming new connections in a diffused, relaxed mode. Eg; in the shower or while meditating.

  • Blocking time and place;

When learning about a specific topic or skill, or something completely new that is time-bound and time-consuming, I block a specific time during the day and a place where I can focus without distraction and learn about it in the best way possible.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions;

Invite people around you to share their knowledge with you, so you can continuously learn and grow. Everyone knows something that you don’t know.

Being vulnerable like this with your dental team members also builds trust because they won't then hesitate to come to you, when they have questions of their own or need help, for training or learning new skills.

Sharing creative ideas and applying newly learned skills with each other is helpful for everyone’s production in growing and established dental businesses alike.

  • Train your brain;

Be on the lookout for new things to learn. You hear, see or experience new things every day that you can apply in your daily life and for your business.

Train your brain to learn and do practice exercises to develop cognitive skills for brain function to improve your learning ability and skills.

  • Practice mindfulness, growth mindset, eat right, exercise, and sleep well;

Taking care of your physical body and mental health, by practicing good, healthy habits is a must.

With a well-nourished mind and healthy body, it gets easier to learn and practice new skills.

Take care of yourself holistically!

What is your primary Learning Style? What is something new that you learnt recently?

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