ONE HEART AT A TIME
edge, and knowledge is power.
The impact we have on lives
keeps getting bigger and bigger.
The whole-body health-care mes-
sage needs to go to a higher level,
and the message about AFib is just
one example. What are your pas-
sions and messages? What do you
want your patients to hear from
you? Is your passion soft-drink
consumption, obstructive sleep
apnea, erosion, obesity, tobacco,
Pick a message that resonates
with you and share it with your
patients. We’re not just about
teeth—we’re about people. RDH
ANNE NUGENT GUIGNON,
RDH, MPH, CSP, provides popular
programs, including topics on
biofilms, power driven scaling,
ergonomics, hypersensitivity, and
remineralization. Recipient of the
2004 Mentor of the Year Award and
the 2009 ADHA Irene Newman
Award, Anne has practiced clinical
dental hygiene in Houston since
1971, and can be contacted at
Despite what many people
think, dental hygienists are not “the
periodic mouth-cleaning crew”
that shows up every three to six
months to clean up whatever has
happened in the interim. We’re
specialists in oral medicine. We
evaluate patients from head to toe.
People want information. They
listen to us. We disseminate knowl-
continued from pg. 18
explained the need for dental hygiene professional socialization to Irene
understood the implications well.
Dental hygiene meets most of the tenets of professionalism, but how
do we move further ahead, and how does professional socialization fit
into this movement? Dental hygiene as a profession must understand
why dental hygienists do not unite in an organized manner, nor do
many dental hygienists actively seek out socializing with other dental
hygiene providers. Professional socialization of dental hygienists does
not mean that every dental hygienist must attend every local, state, or
national meeting, nor does every dental hygienist need to participate
in social media blogs or groups or become an officer of an association,
although I do think these activities are important.
We need to recognize the importance of professional relationships
and understand how they help us be better dental hygienists and unify
our professional identity. Socializing professionally—whether at meetings, courses, community initiatives, or via social media sites—can help
Dental hygienists must actively seek out mentors, friends, and
colleagues so that communication with other dental hygienists flour-ishes. In personal life, relationships need time to grow, develop, and
mature; the same is true of professional relationships. Making memories
is one of the best parts of family vacations, because memories bind us
together as a strong family unit. If dental hygiene is to be a strong and
growing profession, it is necessary to carve out time for dental hygiene
meetings so that memories develop and bind us!
Socializing is necessary with family and in friendships, so why would
it not be necessary in professional relationships? Dental hygienists
must work actively to stay involved and connected, as we are all members of this profession. Most would agree that each one of us wants to
be the best we can be at work, and to do this, we must value professional
growth, which can only be improved with socialization among other
dental hygienists. Although there will always be professional differences
of opinion, professional socialization is necessary, because we are
strongest when we work together, not when we are easily divided.
Author’s note: Michele Darby, RDH, MS, who passed away in 2015,
was an eminent scholar at the Old Dominion University Gene W.
Hirschfeld School of Dental Hygiene. Her dental hygiene textbooks are
used worldwide, and she was instrumental in advancing the science
and practice of dental hygiene. Her most profound contributions were
to the research movement in dental hygiene and the invaluable mentoring role she provided to numerous dental hygienists. RDH
CHRISTINE NATHE, RDH, MS, is director at the University of New
Mexico, Division of Dental Hygiene, in Albuquerque, N.M. She is also the
author of “Dental Public Health Research”
which is in its third edition with
Pearson. She can be reached at
1. Irene Navarre, RDH, ADHA
2. Amyot CC. The Evolution of
Dental Hygiene Education: A
Centennial Celebration of
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1913-2013; 46-48, 50,
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1988; 62( 1): 23-25.
I. Dental hygiene: a
field of study. Dent Hyg.
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