These days its hard to find 'older' and more 'experienced' dental hygienists who are passionate about this profession. I remember in school, even my instructors didn't seem to have a passion for it. Some did, but usually every chance they got they would add comments like "be careful who you work for," "make sure to start in a great office," "don't expect to get paid a lot right away," things like that. Not very encouraging! Right?!
Younger dental hygienists, and newer dental hygienists I find are extremely passionate! They are excited and ready to work. They are nice to their patients and ready to take on anything. I think those who have been working for 10+ years are burnt out and discouraged by the profession. The solid truths are we aren't being paid as much, we seem to have more responsibilities and less time per patient to do them, and our yearly association fees have gone up. I could go on here, but you get the idea.
However, I will be the first one to tell you that I love this job! I have been working for 12+ years now and I consider it my mission to inspire and motivate my students to love this profession too. Don't let anyone tell you how you should feel and how you should work. Be excited! This profession is wonderful and especially when you are first getting started there is so much to learn.
I will also tell you that working in one office over another will make all the difference! Unfortunately when you first start out you have bills to pay and will work anywhere, this is OK! Once you pay off those student loans though, if you quickly realize that office isn't for you make sure to move on. Perhaps you feel the staff never truly 'accepted' you, or you have 30 minutes per patient and you feel like you're working in a factory assembly line, maybe you don't get paid for no shows or cancellations, does your boss give you a major guilt trip when you take a vacation, or maybe you haven't had a raise in 5 years? I hear these stories all too often...
On another note, my famous line to anyone who knows me is - "If you aren't happy, change it, only you can." This rings true for your job. You work 40 hours a week, you need to love it!
If the dental office is stressing you out and you're working your butt off, change it! I'm not suggesting changing professions but you should try another office first. I can count on two hands hygienists I know personally who weren't happy in their jobs, changed offices and are thanking their lucky stars! They love it there and they have a newfound love for their career.
I tutor dental hygiene and dental assisting students for the board exam. More than that though, is I help them when they first graduate, pass the exam, and start working in an office. I guide them through what could be scary time for them. I am passionate in this profession and I want others to be just as excited and passionate as I am! Patients need 'happy' hygienists! You need to love your job for your patients if nothing else. I recommend this Full Dental Hygiene Resource Manual, you can print it out and keep it with you! It goes through everything you need to know when you start working in an office.
Remember, don't listen to what others may tell you - if they are unhappy in this profession it doesn't mean you have to be or will be! Dental hygiene is an amazing extension into the health care field - you will help people, make them less nervous and make someones day :). It's incredibly rewarding!
This FULL Dental Hygiene Manual includes 104 pages of periodontal cases, special needs conditions, AB's explained, common medications, eruption charts, wheelchair transfer information, oral pathology lesions, radiography, and more! Click here to learn more.
My name is Andrea Twarowski, owner and operator of Dentalelle Tutoring.