Volume 8 • 2021 • Issue 1

We are fortunate to have a kind and loving patient family who let us know how appreciative they are of our efforts. Dr. Mark Sutherland Dentist, DMS Dentistry, Halifax, NS. Weathering a Storm Dr. Mark Sutherland runs a solo practice in Halifax, so when he reopened his office, he had to source PPE, get Plexiglas and floor stickers installed, train staff, and put in a laundry facility to wash gowns. Dr. Sutherland is quick to acknowledge the work of his administrative staff, dental hygienists and dental assistants. He says that their roles are more demanding now than ever and they’ve met these new challenges with excellence. “I think that most would agree it seems that we are all working twice as hard to maintain a basic level of income,” he says. Wearing enhanced PPE can be “annoying and hot,” he says. To keep staff comfortable, he keeps the operatories quite cool. “I found it particularly hard to get comfortable with a face shield, which may interfere with my loupes or bump my headlight or give me a tension headache with the retaining rope,” he says. “We are trying out new face shields that hang from our neck so maybe these will be better.” At the beginning of the shut down, Dr. Sutherland’s fitness facility created virtual boot camp classes that he could attend at home. “To this day, I’m grateful for the routine they created for the stay-at-home workouts during the isolated period of the spring,” he says. He now is enjoying winter sports such as downhill skiing and snowmobiling. text each other almost daily with new information,” says Dr. Sutherland. For instance, he found videos of an oral surgeon in Germany who was treating COVID positive patients and shared them with the group. “These videos helped put things in perspective early on in the pandemic,” he says, when other news felt very sad and dark. Dr. Sutherland thinks of the pandemic as something that must be weathered. “We’re like sailors riding out a storm,” he says. “The storm will pass.” Treating Change as an Opportunity The first challenge that Dr. Angela Morales faced at the beginning of the pandemic was how to care for her children when school was closed. “It was very overwhelming and stressful,” she says. “And, at the same time, I was waiting and sometimes not very patiently, to hear guidelines and protocols for reopening.” She remembers being bombarded with marketing for expensive safety products before it was clear what the infection control and prevention rules would be for practise during a pandemic. Once the guidelines were released, Dr. Morales renovated her office in Aurora, Ontario. “I saw it as an opportunity,” she says. “Three months to renovate the office and incorporate new safety measures. I wasn’t thinking revenue. I wanted to reopen in a safer place for the patients and my team.” After lockdown ended, it was important to Dr. Morales that she and her staff projected confidence with the new protocols. “If you are hesitant, then the patients are going to be doubtful. But if you’re assertive, confident and calm, patients will also feel comfortable and safe,” she says. At moments, Dr. Morales felt like it was harder to communicate while wearing enhanced PPE. “We know our patients by first name. We get to know them and their Dr. Sutherland keeps in touch with family and friends. He also says that his relationships with his patients help keep him positive. “We are fortunate to have a kind and loving patient family who let us know how appreciative they are of our efforts,” he says. Support from other dentists also helped. “During the lockdown, a small group of dental colleagues would Dr. Mark Sutherland at his clinic. I ssues and P eople 24 | 2021 | Issue 1