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Dental hygienists should express solidarity for each other in this time of crisis

April 2, 2020
In a time when many dental hygienists have found ourselves unable to do our important work, it's important to support each other and our patients.

My name is Beverly Goudreau. The bulk of my career has been in Blind River, Ontario. I graduated from Cambrian College in 1992 and had a short stint in Niagara Falls before being able to come north once again and be a northern girl. After almost 29 years in this ever-evolving field of dental hygiene, I have seen a multitude of changes in both the patients and the practitioners. We worked as a very tight and close team and so I can honestly say my career has been amazing. I live in a small town of 3,600 so my patients are my friends. My former boss, myself, and his wife have attended baby showers and funerals for the people that we treasured.

From my laptop, I see the panic around the world in both the prevalence of this new virus and the loss of wages. I spoke to many groups of young people about dental hygiene as a career and at the time when I was graduating it was one of the best jobs a young woman could have. For all of you that are our future, this poem is for you, because what we do is more than just a cleaning!

We are all in this together

It's just a cleaning—who knew,
this job that I do,
and it’s simply not true,
it’s a health review.

We can reschedule they say,
I hear these words everyday,
then there is even more delay,
so I sadly walk away.

I go back to my op to silently scream,
and stare at the screen,
and wonder why it would seem
that this is not really a team.

Oral health can be put on hold,
Because, they were told,
although not in words so bold,
that it will pass like a cold.

Gum disease is not like a cough,
and if it’s put off,
it has such a vital cost,
resulting in possible tooth loss.

We see evidence in the chart,
but where do we start,
because we know in our heart,
we all must take part.

The world keeps changing,
and hygienist keep training,
we see our schedules rearranging,
but we won’t stop explaining.

What I see on your face,
and in every other place,
is the need to embrace,
and be handled with grace.

Ask your hygienist all you want to know,
so your trust in us can only grow,
as we share and go slow,
and again find our flow.

Our offices will reopen,
and though schedules were broken,
we hope you are coping,
and that we all are woken.

Your hygienist cares how you are feeling,
and we will proceed with the healing,
and I hope this is revealing,
that it’s not just a cleaning.