"I was a first generation college student, so this was new to my family. They didn't always understand that I had to study so much, but they were very supportive."

Role Model Photo Kathleen Nichols

Health Field: Dentist

Number of years in the profession:
23 year

Years in College: 8 years

Professional Credentials:
BS Biology/Chemistry DDS Doctor of Dental Surgery

How did you know this career was what you wanted to do?
I had an after school job in a dental office while I was in high school.

What other careers did you consider?

What experiences in your life developed your interest in your career?
My experiences in the dental office. Plus, there were others in my extended family who were nurses.

What early preparations did you take (in high school and college) to reach your career goal?
I participated in the pre-med club and the Student Government at my University.

What things did you find to be difficult as you prepared for your career?
I was a first generation college graduate so this was new to my family. My father died when I was in my first year of college. I had to borrow all of the money to go to undergrad and dental school.

How did you overcome these challenges?
I pursued creative financial opportunities and worked while I was in school.

Was your family supportive of you through your college (or other training) years?

Did you have a job and work while you were going to college or other training? Yes

Present Career as a Dentist

Describe an average work day for you.
I see patient four days per week. I usually spend Fridays on administrative tasks or Continuing Education. I don't have any after hour or weekend calls typically.

How many hours do you work in an average week?

What kind of health care setting do you work in?
Private practice

What do you see as strengths needed for your career?
I feel you need to be self motivated towards success, hard work and pursuing excellence. You also need to have excellent interpersonal skills.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
People really appreciating the type of care they've received.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in your career?
Don't give up. Dentistry is the perfect career.

If you could start over, would you still make the same decision to pursue education?
No question about it. I would do it all again!

Do you plan to pursue opportunities for advancement in your career field?
I am currently on the Board of Directors for the Texas Dental Association as well as a Board Examiner. I really enjoy these leadership avenues in addition to clinical dentistry.

View Other Professionals in this Field
Valencia  | Solomon  | Plemons  | Nichols  |
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