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DARW is March 3-9, 2024.

It’s DA Recognition Week! Make it memorable for your assistants

March 1, 2024
Let dental assistants know how much you appreciate all their hard work. Do something special for them this week! And DAs, do something special for each other. Here are some fun ideas.

As we head into Dental Assistants Recognition Week (DARW) March 3-9 (it’s always the first week of March), keep in mind why we celebrate this week. DARW was the brainchild of the American Dental Assistants Association, and it was created to celebrate the hard work and dedication that dental assistants display each and every day.

In the early 1900s, our profession was born out of a need to help dentists clean rooms, seat patients, and scrub instruments. It’s evolved into an opportunity for every assistant to excel and grow. This career has changed so much during the last 100-plus years. Looking back at my 42-year career, I’ve seen many changes as materials improve and technology advances to help us deliver the best possible dentistry.  

For the bosses

DARW is a time to celebrate and recognize the incredible assistants you work with every day, those who work side by side with you and contribute so much to the practice. Did you remember it’s DARW? Don’t panic! Here are some ideas of things you can do that don’t cost a lot but will mean the world to your dental assistants. 

  • Take them to lunch.
  • Give them a gift card to use for lunch, or a gift card to their favorite coffee shop.
  • Surprise them with their favorite morning beverage at work.
  • Make them smile by handing them a single flower in a vase.
  • Surprise them with a card letting them know how much you appreciate them or how much you’ve learned from them.
  • For your bookworm DAs, give them a new book to read.
  • Create or send funny memes to make them laugh during the workday.
  • Surprise them by decorating their locker.
  • Decorate the office. This gets patients in on the fun. They like a celebration too!
  • Print a photo of you and the assistants having fun, and frame it so they can put it in the op or in their locker.
  • Send them your favorite songs to add to their playlist.
  • Treat the team to some homemade goodies.
  • Above all, have fun and show your appreciation toward your dental assistants.

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For the hard-working dental assistants

Now, let’s talk about you! First of all, if your boss forgot it’s DARW or your office never celebrates, do something for yourself and your fellow assistants. You can make the week special for each other. Check out the list above and don’t hesitate to do some of those things for yourselves. Let each other know how much you appreciate each other’s contributions. 

For all year-round, what are you doing to create a career for yourself that’s going to lead to better job satisfaction, a better income, and opportunities to grow?  

Take the initiative to learn some of the things that interest you, for example, implants, lab work, oral surgery, or CAD/CAM. By learning more about these areas, you can take your career to the next level and into a whole new direction!

Dental assisting is anything but stagnate, and if someone tells you it’s a dead-end job, they have no idea what they’re talking about. There are so many great CE opportunities right now that can help you advance in your career. 

The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) has a ton of free continuing education for its members. (You hadn’t heard there’s an association just for you? Learn more about the ADAA.) The Dental Assistant National Board (DANB) and the DALE foundation offer certifications and have a great library of continuing education at danb.org. The Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) has partnered with DANB to offer a certification in infection control. Check it out at DANB or osap.org. Some excellent free continuing education websites include vivalearning.com, colgateoralhealthnetwork.com, and dentallearning.net. 

Next, be aware of what functions you’re allowed to practice in your state. You can find out by visiting danb.org and clicking the “Search by State” tab. Find your state and see what’s allowed for dental assistants. Your state may allow you to do functions you didn’t even realize you could do. So, take advantage of that and learn them! Anything that will help you grow as a professional and do more can go a long way in providing you with the very best career.  

You may not need continuing education credits, but you do need to be continually educated! With all the new technology, and dental assistants being allowed to do more and more, it’s an exciting time to grow and expand into new opportunities and create a career you’ll love!

Celebrate your coworkers! Celebrate all the things they do for you. Celebrate the fact that you get to work in one of the best careers there is. You get to help people. You get to make a difference in the lives of your patients. You get to do a job every single day that you love. 

You get to celebrate you.