Learning is Energizing Again!

Dr. Steve Carstensen is seeking out experts to continue learning about dental sleep topics and meet with others in the dental sleep community. 

Continue learning
Steve Carstensen, DDS
Diplomate, American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine

Humans are community creatures. We thrive as a species because we are drawn together. While sometimes tribalism detracts from a community experience, more often gathering with like-minded humans fuels creativity, mutual encouragement, and focus on problem solving.

Over the past seven weeks leading up to this writing, I’ve been privileged to attend six meetings, conferences, and study club gatherings of my colleagues and friends. That beats the total of the last two years – even with that packed schedule, the collective energy of these gatherings only spurs me on to do more.

Back home, confusion about gathering is still a thing. Medical facilities hew to higher standards of PPE than grocery stores. What do we do when a bunch of medical professionals want to get together in small or large groups? Unlikely every attendee is comfortable with whichever iteration of ‘the rules’ applies to that gathering. It’s part of meeting planning life to make sure the event is ‘worth it’ – which drives learners to choose the best program, find the optimum environment, and balance the scales of risk vs. benefit in favor of the positive. If you choose to go, make sure you maximize the value you can get. Much of that is up to you.

It’s easy to recall the efficient, effective learning that happens in a great lecture with an inspiring speaker, reinforced by sharing what you heard over lunch, cocktails, or dinner. Harder to make that happen after a virtual learning experience, but those are here to stay. You can choose to passively pay attention to the screen, or dig in, make notes, and call your colleagues after to discuss what you heard. Fine red or white, or craft IPA, optional. Make even the solo act of accessing a recorded video a community event by coordinating with a friend.  We’re told to make ourselves accountable to an exercise partner to improve our fitness – why not invite a fellow learner to be your accountability buddy to conquer a block of learning objectives? Be sure to include how you are going to put the new information to work.

Channel the best teacher you know, sit eye-to-eye, focus, listen, listen, listen, and create community with the human seeking better health

The humans in your clinic want first to be heard and understood. Experiences form community between experts – us, with our medical knowledge, and them, the only ones who can truly judge success of therapy. Think about when you start learning a new subject – you seek out the expert, then apply the learning to your own practice. That’s exactly what our patients are doing. Channel the best teacher you know, sit eye-to-eye, focus, listen, listen, listen, and create community with the human seeking better health.


When you continue learning, innovation blossoms in your practice. Read Dr. Carstensen’s “Making a Start Without Having to Know the Ending,” at https://dentalsleeppractice.com/make-a-start-without-having-to-know-the-ending/.

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