May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


Resident's Corner-Remaining Upright and Steady, My Secret for Balancing Family and Residency Life

November 2017 Volume LII Number 6

Remaining Upright and Steady, My Secret for Balancing Family and Residency Life
Dr. Amanda Begue, D.D.S.

The alarm sounds around 6 a.m. As we tiptoe to the coffee maker, my husband and I skip the boards on the floor which we know will creak, and possibly will wake up our peacefully sleeping toddler, Ben- jamin. Once the coffee is made, I quickly dressed in my scrubs and my hair goes in a braid. It’s time to wake up Benjamin, feed him breakfast, get him dressed and out the door for drop-off around 7 a.m. He’s the first one at daycare every morning.

Residency training marks a very short period of time in which to learn as much as possible about pediatric dentistry in order to be the most successful practitioner one can be. Over the last 12 months I have adjusted (somewhat) and learned some valuable strategies to make the absolute best of my residency and also balance my family and personal life.

I wish I had the secret recipe of how to balance life perfectly with a busy residency, and other important priorities. I have learned through mentors, other mothers, friends, and my older sisters-in-law, that it is not possible to say yes to every invite that comes your way. Part of understanding how many plans can be made in a weekend while simultaneously juggling a busy call schedule and family commitments, is to know yourself and know your limits. Although difficult at first, I understand how keeping my weekend free every so often can give me the recharge necessary to do my best for my family, and to be rested for patient care during the week. These weekends I can restock the house with groceries and other necessities, cook one-pot meals to freeze and to pack for lunch, and still have time to go on a jog around the neighborhood.

Another important aspect of balancing residency commitments is to surround yourself with people who are supportive, caring and posi- tive. I feel so fortunate to have a group at LSU who support my family and me. They offer to babysit, and also will change their plans and go to a more kid-friendly restaurant so my family can also attend. These types of small gestures go a long way, and I would not have made it through the last year without them.

I have also learned through the years of dental school and resi- dency the time of day my brain functions best is in the morning. I am able to read faster, retain more information and think more clearly in the morning hours. This helps me prioritize my most effective studying hours, and realize that after the work day, I want to focus on family time and leave work at the door if at all possible.

Balance is defined as "an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady." We all know pediatric dentistry residency training is not always balanced, but these years mark a unique portion of our lives to soak in as much informa- tion from surrounding faculty and mentors as possible. All of us have a unique story which has brought us into the family of pediatric den- tistry, which makes creating a well-balanced residency and personal life different for everyone. For all of us to remain upright and steady we need to stay true to ourselves and goals, keep friends and support system close, stay organized and value each day we have to learn something new from a child, parent or member of our residency team.

Several of my current and past co-residents have some valuable personal advice about how to make the most of residency and/or bal- ance your personal life. After all, learning from each other is probably the most valuable resource we can share with one another.

"Getting outside and playing beach volleyball is one of my favorite stress relief activities. It’s a great avenue to meet new people outside of dentistry and get my body moving. It refreshes my mind, strengthens my core and is good ole fashioned fun!"

Dr. Eva Dupay, D.M.D., first year resident, Louisiana State University Pediatric Dentistry

"Embrace your ignorance. You don’t know everything, and you are not expected to. Ask questions, lots of them! Ask the ques- tion of multiple people. Be open to learning from faculty, staff, co-residents and assistants. This is your time to try as many different techniques and materials as possible. Being ignorant can mean you are more likely to have creative ideas or solutions to problems/scenarios because you aren’t in the habit of doing the same thing in the same way"

Dr. Beth Fancher, D.D.S., class of 2017, Louisiana State University Pediatric Dentistry

"Find a hobby that provides a mental escape from the stress and rigor of residency. Exercise, cooking and arts and crafts are great examples of activities that are good stress relievers" Dr. Effie Richardson, D.D.S., class of 2017, Louisiana State University Pediatric Dentistry

About the Author
Dr. Amanda Begue is a second year pediatric dental resident at Louisiana State University. She was born and raised in the mountains of Asheville, N.C. She completed her undergraduate degree at UNC-Charlotte, majoring in Elemen- tary Education. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry in 2016. During her fourth year of dental school her son Benjamin was born. In her spare time, she loves spending time with family and friends, trying new restau- rants in New Orleans, painting, traveling, boat-rides and biking.

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