lunch and learns

March 2, 2012
Hygienists support lunch-and-learn seminars, according to RDH eVillage survey

RDH eVillage readers strongly support lunch-and-learn seminars hosted by manufacturers, dealers, or dental colleagues, even though only half are paid to sit through the midday seminars.

The related survey was published in the Feb. 24, 2012, issue of RDH eVillage, and 106 readers responded.

For seminars providing information on dental equipment or materials, 61% of the dental hygienists said the lunch-and-learn seminars were "very educational." Twenty-three percent said the seminars were "often interesting" but sometimes wonder about the "benefit of having to sit through them," and 16% said the seminars tended to be "very commercialized" and "resent the sales pitch."

In regard to lunch-and-learn seminars hosted by a dental professional, such as a specialist, 73% said the seminars were "very educational," 15% said the seminars were "often interesting," and 12% indicated they felt the seminars served "only the speaker's objectives."

The survey also asked the hygienists how enthusiastic they would be in endorsing lunch-and-learn seminars to a recent graduate about to attend his or her first one. Seventy-nine percent said they would be "very encouraging" to the newcomer; 19% said they noncommittal about it; and 2% would recommend that the recent graduate should "call in sick that day."

Hygienists were relatively split down the middle on whether the "noontime" learning exercise added to their next paycheck: 54% are paid to attend lunch-and-learn seminars; 46% are not paid.

Other statistics from the survey revealed:

  • 66% said they have attended two to five lunch-and-learn seminars in the past year; 27% attended just one.
  • Lunch-and-learns are scheduled by doctors (30%), front office staff (61%), and dental hygienists (43%).

The RDH eVillage survey also encouraged hygienists to share topics that they would like to see presented in future lunch-and-learns seminars. Proposed topics included:

  • Laser therapy, whitening products
  • Fluoride varnish. We work in a periodontal office, and we don't offer this enough, in my opinion. it would good to have an outside source discuss this and not just me recommend we do this.
  • Water line safety in dental office. Just read article in RDH. Not every one in office purges lines!
  • It would be great to have a representative from one of the composite companies come in and discuss the difference in materials, or someone to talk about different impression materials.
  • Medical emergencies in the dental clinic. I am part of a varied group with many people not willing to be "involved." I would appreciate a presentation that would encourage all staff to be part of solutions rather than disappearing when challenged.
  • The topic would be on scripting for how to address patients questions regarding a product recommendation. It is important that all staff members are on the same page.
  • Pharmacology updates. It's so hard to keep up with the new drugs on the market and the concerns with them, and how they relate to dentistry and our patient care.
  • Lunch-and-learns give us the opportunity to talk to reps that we do not have time for in the course of a busy clinic day. We are always interested in new products and equipment if the material presented meets the criteria for evidence-based dentistry.
  • Digital radiography
  • Use of piezo electric scalers in perio pockets. Some staff has never used it, and I need a refresher.
  • I love lunch-&-learns in any topic. However, my experience is that L&Ls are scheduled over the lunch "hour" break that never really exists. You have a patient from 11-noon; they leave the operatory at 12:02pm. Then you write the chart, disinfect the room, set up, review 1pm chart, get caught up on sterilization. Now it's 12:20. Go to L&L, starving. Eat as fast as you can; don't ask questions because you are late and cramming food in your face. 1pm patient shows up at 1:40pm, though appt. was 1:45pm and is in a hurry. You leave L&L with food in your teeth to see patient. This has happened to every Lunch and Learn I've attended in my four years as a DH. Usually, L&Ls are 10-15 minutes maximum of just listening, no time to interact. In my experience, "lunches" do not exist for dental hygienists in my area, because they are paid by the day, not hour. Therefore they pick up most of the work of the RDAs/DAs who are paid hourly.
  • I would have a lunch-and-learn on sterilization and require all front office staff, office manager, and dental professionals to attend. I have worked in too many offices where good sterilization techniques and reasons for them were not necessarily accepted or practiced by every assistant (and sometimes not by every hygienist or doctor) and seldom known or understood by nonprofessional dental staff.
  • Latest products in the dental hygiene field
  • Talk about products that are clinically proven instead of all these companies that make claims with poor studies (if any) and none done on humans. The reason is I have sat through some by some well-known companies lately that like to bash the competition but they show nothing as it relates to human clinicals with their products.
  • Pre-medication protocol
  • i would love to see the topic of the different oral cancer screening tools available.
  • I am not paid for the hour I have scheduled for lunch. I use that time to run errands, tend to personal business, and eat lunch in peace. I have never been compensated for "working on my personal time" and resent it. If the presentation is so important and the doctor feels the information is of value to the practice it should be scheduled during office hours.
  • Ultrasonics, infection control, patient education, sales on tooth whitening
  • Social media for the dental office, soft tissue management, remineralization
  • I love them, and I am always interested in any topic that has to do with new products. It is a very important part of our education so we can bring the best to our patients.
  • Our lunch-n-learns are always representative of a product. I have had two poor L-n-L's conducted by a gentleman who told us outright that he was a senior marketing specialist that this company sought out to hire and he had little scientific/practical knowledge of the product from a clinical perspective (seriously? I don't want to be "marketed to...I'm a scientific person!). Also, we had a rep who I had personally asked that she answer three specific questions for me at the L&L. I gave her a month. She wasn't ready when she came. Her presentation was poor. I had more knowledge of her product than she did ... really!