Elizabeth Kübler-Ross on Death and Dying ( or Conditions and Suspension)

The five stages of grief are well known as a concept. A sixth one has been suggested – Meaning

They are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance and Meaning.

Kübler-Ross expanded her model to include any form of personal loss – as I would include regulatory action in this from my observation.

Of course individuals take some time to progress through these phases in grief for loss or for anything. It is somewhat personality dependent. I mention this because it can help in the same way as Kübler-Ross  helped people who grieved for loss of a person close to them.

Denial occurs when for example, AHPRA sends an email saying in that  has been a notification that accuses the dentist of wrongdoing. This is manifested in dentists saying that they did nothing wrong and adopting a defensive and sometime harmful attitude. This is encouraged by civil liability matters where no admissions are often suggested. This is not helpful, but as they say it’s a process.

Anger can be observed simultaneously with denial statements about how the patient was impossible unreasonable or stupid. Again not helpful, but probably necessary.

Bargaining can exist is some ways, but often this is not a predominant reaction. 

Depression is common as the reality of the personal effect and fear as to possible outcomes and ramifications is developed. These first four phases can be quite long lasting.

It does not have to be this way. Talking to peers will always help, but dentists are often by personality too embarrassed to talk about it. That is a shame in my experience.

People may move into acceptance of whatever action is taken and even understand the meaning or gain true insight.

The fact is that regulatory action can be necessary but its effect ca be minimised with proper understanding of these issues and processes. There is not point having a respondent dentist client in between anger and denial when trying to respond to the notification.

The trick is to assist dentist clients get to acceptance and meaning as soon as possible so insight can be gained and can be viewed in life’s rear vision mirror as memory and a necessary experience.

If you are having difficulty with a notification and you are not getting the help you need, contact me and see if I can help. An initial  chat is free.