A critical need for professional
socialization exists in dental hygiene
B Y CHRISTINE NATHE, RDH, MS
the sharing of a professional identity.
When professionals socialize—whether during their training, participation in a community initiative, while taking a continuing education
course, or attending a dinner meeting—they have time to discuss their
profession and develop their skills and values together. Professional socialization can enhance the collective voice of their profession and sense of
unity. Professions are able to flourish when individuals within that group
actively communicate and foster relationships.
DENTAL HYGIENE SOCIALIZATION
Recently, I was visiting with a dental hygiene icon who happens to live in
New Mexico: Irene Navarre, RDH. Irene is a past ADHA president and one
of the dental hygienists who started the hygiene program at the University
of New Mexico. She is 99 years old and still mentoring us in New Mexico!
We were discussing some of the early initiatives to develop the dental
hygiene association in her area. One dentist instructed her to make sure
that dental hygienists had dinner meetings and professional workshops.
He believed that if dental hygiene were to develop as a profession, the voice
Many times, dental hygienists decide to work for the
advancement of the profession with motivation and
enthusiasm, only to realize after starting that it is difficult
to get other dental hygienists on board. I often think of
our discussions in Michele Darby’s graduate classes
on the need for professional socialization (see author’s
note at end of article). When socialization occurs, relationships develop, which in turn help the profession
grow and evolve.
Professional socialization could be defined not only as working together
as professionals to advance the science and practice of dental hygiene and
promote oral health within communities, but also the ability to socialize
with individuals in the same profession. Professional socialization involves