In her own words: Nicole Stoker, The Smile Shop dentist
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your practice.
Nicole Stoker: The Smile Shop is a pediatric dental office. We see children through adolescents and those with special needs. The office was founded by my father, Dr. Michael Stoker in 1980. We currently have three pediatric dentists, my father, myself and Dr. Richard Adams and 15 wonderful employees.
NNBW: What role do you play in the company?
Stoker: I am one of the pediatric dentists.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Stoker: I was drawn to the profession by my father. Growing up he would come home every night happy about his career and talking about the great patients he treated. I always kept the idea of becoming a dentist in my mind but stayed open to other professions. After volunteering at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital while in college I knew I wanted to work with children. I liked the idea of becoming a pediatric dentist and helping children work through their fears and anxiety about the dentist.
NNBW: What is something no one knows about your job?
Stoker: I think most people assume children are difficult dental patients. I think few people realize that children are actually the best patients to treat. I go home every night with stories about the funny things they say and do. Children want to make adults proud (especially their parents) and if you give them the opportunity their behavior at the office will typically surprise everyone in a positive way!
NNBW: If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
Stoker: If I could do anything else I would be an elementary school teacher. I have so much respect for great teachers. They can make such a big impact in a child’s life. However, I feel as a pediatric dentist I am an educator as much as a clinician.
NNBW: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Stoker: When I am not working I am with my family. I am holding and playing with my baby every chance I get! I also love to take advantage of Lake Tahoe; I ski in the winter, and spend time on the beach or hiking in the summer.
NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?
Stoker: To those considering my profession I would suggest shadowing multiple pediatric dentists. Make sure it is something you can see yourself doing. It is as equally challenging as it is rewarding to work with kids.
NNBW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why would you want it?
Stoker: I would like to have the superpower to be able to fly. I would love to see things from a birds eye view whenever I wanted to. This superpower sounds like something my patients would say. I guess it’s the kid in me!
NNBW: What person, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with, and why?
Stoker: I would love to have one more dinner with my grandma who passed away one week before my daughter was born. I would then be able to tell her that my daughter is named after her because I admired the person she was.
NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Stoker: My parents have given me very good advice over the years. My father and I talk about dentistry almost every night and discuss cases and situations. The best advice he gives me which is also the simplest advice but it is “not to be so hard on yourself.”
NNBW: What do you like most about your job? What do you like least?
Stoker: The part I like most about my job is working with children. I love being able to take a child and work with them and get treatment done despite the fact they are nervous. I love children to leave my office and feel they have had a good experience. The part I like least about my job is that no matter how hard you try you cannot please everyone. Not every parent who walks in my office is going to like me and not every patient is going to love me. I have trouble dealing with that. I want to please everyone, but I have to be realistic.
NNBW: What five words would most people use to describe you?
Stoker: Loyal, sincere, happy, hard-working and soft-spoken (and someone who worries too much).
Name: Nicole Stoker, pediatric dentist, The Smile Shop
How long have you been in this job? Four years
How long in the profession? Six years
Education: Vanderbilt University, University of Nevada, Reno, University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Best book you’ve read recently? “The Happiest Baby on the Block”
What’s on your iPod? Van Morrison, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, George Straight, and nursery rhymes for my daughter, Elle
The best movie ever? “Love Actually”
Spouse, kids or pets? Married to Kyle McCann, we have a beautiful 4-month-old baby girl named Elle and two dogs, Oliver and Riley.
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