Female Dental Professionals Must Be Supported Through Menopause

Female Dental Professionals Must Be Supported Through Menopause

Female dentists and dental care professionals (DCPs) should be well supported through the menopause and perimenopause to ensure that the profession retains passionate and skilled clinicians for as long as possible, according to Dental Protection.

The indemnity organisation’s figures state that around 93% of DCPs and 52% of dentists are female, and many could, at some stage, be impacted by menopause symptoms such as anxiety, depression, poor concentration, brain fog, dizziness and insomnia.

Mental wellbeing support, awareness from practice owners and managers as well as workplace adjustments could help female dental professionals continue to perform at their best and remain in the workforce for longer.

Yvonne Shaw, Deputy Director at Dental Protection, said: “The menopause and the associated symptoms can vary widely; however, we need to ensure female colleagues aren’t suffering in silence during this phase of their lives.

Brain fog, forgetfulness, poor concentration and insomnia can make any job difficult, but particularly so in a challenging environment like dentistry”.

Shaw added “All female dental colleagues suffering with symptoms should feel comfortable to discuss workplace adjustments and seek mental wellbeing support. Providing a working environment that is open and supportive helps to ensure those affected do not feel isolated”.

Having a menopause workplace policy can ensure wider understanding and provide reassurance that support will be available if needed.

Managers and practice owners should consider training on the menopause and how the symptoms can impact on the wellbeing of some individuals and the wider team.

“If we do not destigmatise menopause, we may lose many skilled and highly valued dental professionals during a time when the profession can ill-afford it. A supportive culture will alleviate additional stress, enable individuals to continue to perform at their best for patients, and thrive in their careers for longer” said Ms Shaw.

Dental Protection has published three recommendations.  These include practices having adequate procedures and support in place to help all staff affected by the menopause, for example a menopause policy, flexible working arrangements, and procedures which ensure those affected can seek support without fear of adverse impacts on their career or professional reputation.

Practices should provide menopause training for all staff and any professionals who struggle should seek support and professional advice.

Finally, Dental Protection said it offers 24-hour advice and counselling to all its members who may be struggling with menopause or other conditions that impact on wellness.

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