dental education choices(This article is part of a series on giving staying power to your dental practice plans for 2016. Click the links for firstsecondthirdfourthfifthsixthseventh and eighth articles in this series.)

It has never been easier than it is right now for a dentist to be great. That’s largely because there has never been easier access to great ongoing clinical education.

Whatever your interests are in developing your clinical and practice management, there is a lot of stuff out there – lots of education providers, lots of workshops and course curriculums, study clubs, and of course online learning available any time, all the time. If you are dentist today looking for education and guidance, you have an embarrassment of riches to choose from. And sometimes that’s the problem.

That’s what leads me to my final piece of advice in this series.

Principle 7: Stay Pure

The problem with having so much choice is that it becomes easy to take a scattershot approach to continuing education, taking a course here, a workshop there, an online lesson somewhere else – each one representing a small window into that educational provider’s overall approach to dentistry. You can become like an undisciplined eater at a buffet, filling your plate with the most tantalizing selections, but ultimately ending up with an unbalanced and not-so-nutritious meal.

This is the kind of situation where an abundance of choice of can be a detrimental thing, and it’s why I recommend that you pick one educational provider who has a philosophy that aligns with yours and go deep. Yes, sometime along the way you may hear something that you disagree with; no provider is going to have all the answers that are always consistent with your way of thinking. But if the general philosophy is right, in the end, you will emerge with a much more coherent professional worldview.

Now this doesn’t mean you have to be absolutely dedicated to one educator at the exclusion of all others all the time – there will always be others out there who offer ideas and courses that are worth investigating. But if you have a sound foundation and a grounding in one provider’s philosophy, you will be able to choose those supplemental courses within the context of a bigger vision and be able to filter what you get from them to suit the plan you are following.

I know this might sound self-serving, but my main point stands – if you want to get the most from your continuing education, pick a champion and stay pure. Naturally, I hope it is Spear – that’s why we have invested heavily in a multi-platform, progressive curriculum – but even if it’s not, pick someone whose idea of great dentistry speaks to you and stay on track with that approach to clinical and practice development. In world with a super-abundance of competing choices, it really is the best way to move forward with clarity and confidence.

(Click this link for more articles by Imtiaz Manji.)