Career Corner: Meet Elizabeth Nies

Oct. 10, 2012
Elizabeth Nies, RDH-EA, AS has been a clinical hygienist for 28 years. As evidence of her commitment and passion to her profession, Liz is a past president of the New Jersey and the Idaho Dental Hygiene Associations.

Elizabeth Nies, RDH-EA, AS has been a clinical hygienist for 28 years. As evidence of her commitment and passion to her profession, Liz is a past president of the New Jersey and the Idaho Dental Hygiene Associations.

She is the author of articles in RDH magazine and internationally in the UK dental professional journal DH&T. Topics include implementing assisted hygiene protocols and systems, and comparing improvisation and effectiveness in hygiene appointments.

Liz is the recipient of the professional achievement award from IDHA because of her tenacity, commitment to doing the job right, and to exceeding expectations. Due to the recognition of her ability to effectively communicate with oral health professionals, Liz currently serves on the advisory panel for DentaQuest in Idaho. Liz's knowledge, expertise and ability to teach, coach and mentor as a HygieneFusion consultant is further evidenced by her nomination for Philips Sonicare/RDH Mentor of the Year.

Career Corner Questions

RDH eVillage: What is your success secret?

Elizabeth Nies: I have never stopped learning. I get excited about new technologies and I am willing to buy things myself if it’s something I want to try. I am still passionate about being a dental hygienist and I love sharing that passion with others.

RDH eVillage: What strengths or qualities have helped you excel?

Nies: I work past being uncomfortable when speaking with my employer. I deliver on my promises and work hard and do more than is expected. The buck always stops with me.

RDH eVillage: What’s the biggest issue hygienists face today?

Nies: Finding work is a big one. I believe that if you know your passion, there is an office that will hire you. Play to your strengths and advertise it. If you are a great communicator with your coworkers, then stress that. Dentists hate drama as much as anyone, and if you are baggage-free it just might be what they are looking for.

RDH eVillage: What is the best career advice you have ever received?

Nies: I will never forget the day that I totally realized that not everyone thinks the same way I do and how it opened a whole new world of communication. It not only helped me talk with my employer on a different level, it gave me insight on how to communicate better with my patients.

RDH eVillage: When did you get the entrepreneur itch?

Nies: I moved to Idaho in 2004 and landed a job in a dental office that wanted to begin doing assisted hygiene. Together, my employer and I created the protocols and implemented the program. I realized that, after 20 years of traditional hygiene, I would not want to work without an assistant. I decided that I wanted to help other offices implement assisted hygiene the right way, allowing hygienists to work smarter, not harder.

RDH eVillage: In service to the profession, please tell us about your products and services.

Nies: I have my own company — EAN Solutions — and I am also a HygieneFusion coach. EAN Solutions primarily works with offices to implement assisted hygiene programs. I also help teams find a great hygiene assistant since it is a new staff member. HygieneFusion allows me to work either alone or with a full practice consultant. The work is done side by side with clinicians, implementing verbal skills that uncover what the patient wants and combining that with what they need, allowing the patient to move forward with dental therapies. The dentist plays a big role in the success of HygieneFusion and usually has the best time when their case acceptance grows, especially on bigger cases! The entire staff is included, thus the name HygieneFusion! In addition, we help implement new technologies and teach hygienists how to understand their numbers, making them a more productive provider within the dental team.

RDH eVillage: What are your best work-life balance tips?

Nies: Balance is an understatement. I make sure that I do something just for me at least once a week and spend as much time with my family on the weekends as I can. I spend a lot of evenings on the computer while I sit on the couch and watch TV with my husband, and he knows that, right now, that is the best I can do with working clinical full time and consulting part time.

RDH eVillage: What is one thing most people do not know about you?

Nies: That I am insecure about myself and always have butterflies when I am in front of people. I just take a deep breath and hope that people will like me and learn something from what I say.

RDH eVillage: What do you do to relax and feel rejuvenated?

Nies: Quilting is one of those things that just gets my creative ideas going. I love cutting material apart and sewing different prints together to make something beautiful. Fly fishing gives me the quiet and peacefulness that I need to get away from the noise that I’m around every day.

RDH eVillage: Do you have a favorite quote?

Nies: My favorite quote in life comes from my husband. “Positive thoughts bring positive results” and “just look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are going to have a great day and decide to have one.”

RDH eVillage: How do you define success?

Nies: Success, to me, is not financial (although that is definitely a plus) – it is being surrounded by people who not only like you, but empower you to be more than you ever thought you could be.