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Ideas to Inspiration: Maintaining the energy that propels your dental hygiene career

June 19, 2017
Jackie Sanders, RDH, knows the challenge in a dental hygiene career is to stay energized, and she offers tips for remaining excited about your career.

By Jackie Sanders, RDH, MBA

Graduation has come and gone! The energy levels are beginning to settle down, many are beginning their first hygiene job, and some are already thinking about what comes next. RDH Graduate has provided insights of how to approach your new position and how to embrace those first clinical opportunities. Two thoughts continue to linger in my mind. How will you approach the daily challenges of “real-world” clinical hygiene, and how will you maintain the euphoric state of joy?

Words of encouragement can make the difference in one’s day and during the development of one’s career. For many of you, positive affirmations may be stuck on the bathroom mirror. Encouragement may have been provided regularly by a loved one, a colleague, or a mentor. At this moment, you may not realize how powerful these words of encouragement have been, but you will be sharing these same motivational phrases with your patients each day. At some time, a challenge may arise where someone’s voice and words of guidance will pop into your head, and those words of encouragement can return you to a place of joy!


Other columns by Jackie Sanders


My career growth has been guided by numerous mentors. Each of these individuals provided me with positive energy, words of inspiration, and ideas for direction. During challenging times, I always had someone to reach out to helping me get back on top of my game. So, where do you find these individuals in our industry? Networking at conferences, CE programs, online forums, and social media. They are only a phone call, email, or smile away.

Self-motivation is also a key element to success. Throughout my career, I attended numerous dental and dental hygiene conventions, personal growth seminars, and continue to read as many leadership, business, and self-help books as time allows. There is a desire to stay enthused and energized about our profession, and I consider myself a constant, lifelong learner.

I have been a member of CareerFusion for the past eight years. Here I met many colleagues who became close friends and provided the guidance to continue with the skill development I so eagerly sought.

I never would have completed my MBA if Pam Runge RDH, MBA, had not supported me. Tim Twigg with Bent Ericksen and Associates took the time to review my personal analysis and directed me down a path that changed my life. Todd Cohen, author of “Everyone’s in Sales,” taught me the skillset to market my strengths. Michele Prince, author of “Winning in Life Now” and founder of Book Bound, provided me with insight to the next chapter of my career. If I had not continued to seek more, not chosen to say “yes” when opportunity knocked, or turned a deaf ear to the inspiration of my colleagues, I would not have had the chance to help you find your full potential.

What is your next step? Enjoy the time you spend with patients on a daily basis. Some of my greatest stories and best feelings of knowing I truly made a difference in someone’s life occurred while working chairside. The wealth of knowledge I gained was provided from the numerous patients I was fortunate to treat. The joy I found in life returns to being a “caregiver” and embracing the responsibility of caring for another. When the time is right, you will be inspired to find your next path.

Wherever your career takes you, remember you are the one driving the car and you can speed up, change directions, or turn whenever you choose. Enjoy your travels!

Jackie Sanders is Manager of Professional Relations & Communications for SUNSTAR. She serves as a liaison responsible for communications with professional and industry associations, educational institutions and the dental professional community. She is a recognized and active opinion leader within the dental hygiene community and associated social networking programs. She serves on the ADEA Legislative Advisory Council, is a member of ADHA IOH Advisory Committee, and serves on several Editorial Advisory Boards.