Women In Health: Dr. Nicole Dahlkemper, LVIF

Photo of Dr. Nicole Dahlkemper

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How would you describe your journey to becoming the dentist you are today?

Lifelong learning. A thirst of knowledge and eagerness to learn; self-improvement and continuous learning to better help my patients; ongoing personal and professional development.

Describe a moment you felt like giving up. Why didn’t you?

I unexpectedly found out my 2-year-old had a brain tumor in his cerebellum. We were admitted to the hospital immediately, and he had a 10-hour brain surgery to remove some of it. Toby, fortunately, did not have to go through chemo but gets intensive therapies and routine MRIs to make sure the rest of the tumor has not grown. I wanted to throw myself on the ground and yell it wasn’t fair, but I was eight months pregnant with my second son and had to be strong for him, my 2-year old, my husband and my patients. I have to be strong every day and not live in fear of what may happen.

How do you respond to the challenges of being a woman in the health care field?

Boss, mother, wife, friend – women have been held to and expected to excel in all these areas. In the past, society has made it seem that we have had to choose and be a successful professional or mom, being criticized for trying to juggle both. Maintaining a balance is achievable by managing your expectations, learning to say no, utilizing a village and giving yourself grace.

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What or who inspires you?

The love and support of my family and my son. He is a strong-willed child who has been through so much at a young age but keeps pushing himself physically; he believes there’s nothing he can’t do.

Describe the person and provider you strive to be.

Success is not external achievements – it is so much more and so individualistic. I strive to better myself personally, professionally, mentally and spiritually and discover how much value I can provide to my family, my patients, my community and myself.

What great mentorship have you received? What made it great?

Dr. Marius Laniauskas, a preceptor from my schooling at Case Western, was my mentor in school and taught me to pay attention to the details and strive for excellence. Another, Dr. Bill Sasser from DCF dental community fellowship in Charleston, loves the Lord and helping others. His mission is “To use my God-given talents and the education and experience which the Lord has allowed me to earn in His service of the dental and spiritual needs of those who are in need.”

What advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We are in a service industry and find joy in helping other people but are hesitant to ask for help from others. Being a dentist and a sole practitioner can be like being on an island by yourself. It can be isolating – join a community of like-minded dentists. And practice self-care exercise, eat healthy, have a sleep routine and spend time in nature. It helps you better manage stress.

Mount Pleasant

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