Do you ever feel inspired to do more in your career? Or have you found yourself thinking there has to be more to this profession? If not, that’s totally fine. But if you have, I’ve got news for you. You can create more opportunities for yourself in this profession! Hygienists are incredibly clever, and we know how to get things done.
Here’s the secret: if you want to do more, you must have drive and determination. You’re going to need to manifest your ideas, put them out into the universe, and then get to work. No one is going to show up at your operatory and tap you on the shoulder to say, “It’s your time to grow professionally, and starting tomorrow you’ll be an incredible _____ (insert whatever you want for yourself here).”
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Tips for along the way
Here are some tips that have helped me along my journey as I’ve navigated growth in areas outside my op.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. This has been my mantra. This piece of advice came from my therapist. If you don't have a therapist, I highly recommend you consider getting one. I’ve found them to be incredibly helpful.
Establish your mission. My mission has evolved through the years with me, and it seems that as I grow so does my mission.
Know your business plan. Creating a business plan will likely require a lot of research on your part. I would recommend exploring templates online and choosing one that speaks to you.
Become familiar with your tax benefits. Register your business and learn about tax write-offs. You’re a business owner now and you have a lot to learn.
Network. Network. Network. Meet other dental professionals who are also seeking growth. It's amazing to see the support hygienists have for one another. It will blow your mind when you realize there’s a huge group of dental hygienists rooting for your success.
Be kind to yourself. You’ve never done this before, so you’re not going to be perfect at it right away. I know from personal experience that hygienists take pride in their perfection; however, growth can be messy sometimes.
Invest in yourself. You and your ideas are an investment worth investing in! One way I’ve invested in myself is by attending RDH Evolution. This program comes highly recommended by past attendees. I left Evolution with aspirations, direction, and clarity on what I wanted for my future in this profession, and with a roadmap on how I was going to get there.
Being a member of the RDH Community Connections (RCC) program is an incredible opportunity to network and meet like-minded providers. RCC, which was once a spotlight for the growth of dental hygienists on social media, has now evolved into something much bigger. It's a space created for hygienists to continue their growth as future leaders in this profession. This program provides growth opportunities and a network of hygienists who support one another.
Outsource help where you can. Feeling overwhelmed? Outsourcing could potentially look like hiring a nanny, a housekeeper, or a social media manager. Whatever fits your lifestyle and helps free up some time for you to work will be worth it.
View failure as an opportunity to learn and try again. I like to recall the wise words of Aaliyah in her song, Try Again, back in 2000. “And if at first you don't succeed, then dust yourself off and try again. You can dust it off and try again, try again.”
How I grew beyond the op
Creating opportunities for myself to grow in this profession has had positive impacts on my life that I wasn’t expecting. As I grow professionally, I’m also growing on a personal level and I love this new version of myself. I am fun and fierce.
In 2021, I cofounded Hygiene Elevated, a dental hygiene consulting company. Hygiene Elevated is all about being the best version of yourself in and out of the op and is helping hygienists create value in themselves for their practices. Hygiene Elevated is centered around educating patients and allowing them to make their own choices, as well as in increasing office productivity.
In 2023, Amanda Hale, RDH, and I launched a podcast and apparel line. We cohost the podcast, called Hygiene Elevated Conversations and Innovations. Each episode is unique, and we feature various topics from incredible guests who share their passions with us. This podcast is a place where Amanda and I learn and share information in a very casual setting, which is often filled with laughter. We carefully crafted this podcast for hygienists like us.
The apparel line was started to help promote the podcast, but it has become much bigger than we expected and has unleashed a level of creativity we didn't know we had. With the positive feedback from dental hygienists, the apparel line has inspired us to keep designing.
My favorite project that has totally stolen a piece of my heart is my hygiene program tour, called Beyond Scaling. I’m incredibly grateful to my sponsors, Signature Dental Partners, who provide me with the opportunity to travel the country and present to hygiene students prior to graduation. I share insights into the real world of hygiene they’re about to embark upon. My goal is to motivate and empower these new providers. I offer free mentorship to all the hygienists I speak with, and I want them to know they always have someone to help them as they navigate through their hygiene journey.
This profession has brought me so much joy, and these are my ways of paying it forward. What’s yours?
Joffree Bunleang, BSDH, RDH
Instagram @hygiene.elevated @thecurvyscaler @joffree.b.the.rdh.coach
Hygiene Elevated Podcast Conversations and Innovations. Listen on Spotify, Google, Apple, iHeart Radio, and others.