Clock watcher?

Sept. 29, 2006
Here are some tips for negotiating your benefits.

Are you in a practice setting that is less than ideal? Are you more interested in the lunch menu at the local eatery than your latest dental hygiene journal? Perhaps it's time to rethink your employment and search for a new hygiene home.

In regard to changing jobs, I have heard from many hygienists who tell me that the "evil they know" is better than the "evil they don't know." This attitude keeps them from redefining their current practice benefits or moving forward.

As licensed oral health providers, we are responsible for our own professional journeys. If you find yourself complaining more than embracing your current practice setting, consider taking action and moving your cheese!

Full/Part Time

• Are duties and responsibilities clearly defined?

• Is there a written job description?

• What are your workdays and salary?

• If you are paid hourly, when does your day begin and end?

• Do you get a regular lunch period?

• When your working hours vary, are you properly informed?

• When patient schedules change, do your working hours and pay remain the same?


• What is your starting rate per hour?

• What is your gross salary?

• Do you receive paid vacations with your full hygiene salary?

• Do you receive paid holidays? Which ones?

• Do you receive paid sick leave or "well" pay?

• Do you receive a bonus - monthly, quarterly, with or without taxes?

• Do you wear uniforms?

• Do you have a professional association membership?

• Do you have disability insurance or malpractice insurance?

• Do you have pension/401K and/or profit sharing? What is the vesting schedule? Who is vested? What happens if the practice decides to drop the pension/401K?

• Are medical or dental insurance/ benefits provided?

• Are there practice-sponsored dental services for employee, family (define family members who may benefit from a fee courtesy)?

• Is there eligibility for benefits or a waiting period for certain benefits to kick in?

Check for:

• Office manual
• Conditions of employment (i.e., can you be fired at will?)
• What is the review process? Who approached whom to schedule a review?

First Review Date

Second Review Date

Third Review Date

Reviews Thereafter Schedules

So the next time you find yourself hovering over your Timex or Fossil, consider re-negotiating, planning and making life happen.

Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, BS
Director, RDH eVillage