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Ask a dental assistant: What can this DA do to keep up her career while caring for her mother?

Oct. 21, 2020
This career dental assistant is worried about how to keep up her career credentials while taking a break to care for her mother. She doesn't want to lose her credibility. What ideas does Tija Hunter offer her?

This column, "Ask a dental assistant," is open to any assistants who have concerns. They can reach out to a fellow assistant for advice with their dilemma. How many of you can identify with this assistant's question? Send your questions to [email protected], and it will be forwarded to an assistant to answer.

QUESTION: I’m a registered dental assistant from California now living in Arizona. I practiced for 30 years and now I am a full-time caregiver for my 86-year-old mother who has dementia. Since I’m not able to work in a practice, what can I do? I don’t really know anything but dentistry! I don’t want to lose all of my credibility because I’m not in an office. My mom won’t be around forever, and I still need an income and a career for the rest of my productive years. Any advice you can share would be much appreciated.  


Career veteran dental assistant    

First of all, I am very sorry to hear about your mother. I believe with all my heart you’re doing the right thing. Time with her is precious right now, and you are exactly where you need to be!

As far as keeping up your credentials, I think that's exactly what you should do. It's so important to have those. I would call the California Dental Board and they should be able to tell you exactly what to do. They probably have a protocol for delaying credentialing for a certain period of time. They will be able to help you.

Have you done any work from the administrative side of the practice? I know there are companies out there, such as eAssist, that pay people to work from home and process claims, answer phones, and a variety of other things. I believe they’ll let you work when you’re able and set your own hours, so I think that’s worth checking out.

Maybe you could contact dental assisting schools to see if they have any "at home" work you can do. Several of them are conducting remote learning sessions, so they might need some help with that. Unfortunately, that's about all I can think of due to the fact you can't leave your mother.

Best of luck to you, dear. I wish you nothing but the best. Please keep in touch and let me know how things go.

We welcome any question or concern. The important thing to remember is that you're not alone. Send it to [email protected]. To read past columns, visit dentistryiq.com and search for "Ask a dental assistant."