While we were in dental school, we began to consider what our professional lives would look like. We realized that we most desired a life that would allow for great balance and opportunity.
What did this mean?
Balance was the desire to have a rewarding personal life and career as soon as possible. Opportunity was the ability to have quantifiable, sustainable success. Basically, we wanted to have our cake and eat it too, as soon as possible!
Working in a federally qualified health center (FQHC) has allowed us to fulfill our professional goals.
Before we began dental school, we considered private practice as our only option. As is the case with many dental students, that message was ingrained in us: The pathway to success was to work in private practice.
By coincidence, we attended a meeting in dental school where dentists discussed their employment in non-traditional dental environments, opportunities we had not considered. This exposure enticed us enough that we began to look at other employment options.
We used our goals of balance and opportunity to help us answer the question of which environment would be the best fit for us. We settled on an FQHC, and ended up at Family First Health in southcentral Pennsylvania, with medical and dental operations in York, Hanover and Gettysburg.
It has been a great fit for us.
We have a connection to the community we serve because our organization’s goal is to meet the community’s needs. This organizational mindset creates great camaraderie in our FQHC, with multiple disciplines all working together to provide patient care.
What’s more, our work with Family First Health has allowed interactions with a diverse group of people in our community beyond our patients.
We have a variety of contacts in our community — local executives, small-business owners and newly employed individuals just starting their life journeys. These opportunities have allowed for growth through mentorship.
It has also allowed for the development of skills beyond patient care. Practicing in an FQHC has allowed us the opportunity to consistently hone our business skills and operate a practice with solid business principals with other like-minded professionals.
Along with these accomplishments and continual work on all we’ve listed above, we’ve been able to achieve a great work-life balance. We love our careers and love providing care for our patients, but we have always had the No. 1 goal of being excellent parents and spouses. Working in an FQHC has allowed us to make this goal a reality.