Editor's Note: Don’t be afraid to stand your ground

May 22, 2017
Edie Gibson, editor of RDH Graduate, reminds dental hygiene graduate to not be afraid to stand their ground when conflicted by ethical considerations.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Editor Edie Gibson, RDH, MS

Congratulations! You did it! The boards are behind you, and it’s time to head out into the work force. Terrifying and exciting—all at the same time. Your new reality can only be created by you. Set your course and go for it! This issue is packed full of tips and advice from seasoned pros in our profession who have seen most everything hygiene can throw at you! I am honored to call them friends.

My tip for you as you enter your new work world: Own your profession! I preach from the podium in all my programs: You are the gatekeeper of your license. If you are put in a situation in clinical practice that feels wrong in your gut or it compromises your ethics, speak up and step away! I have been in that situation and stood my ground.

In my first job out of school, back in the dinosaur ages as my daughter says, I worked in a large capitation clinic. We would line up at the sterilization room to collect our trays and disposable supplies. We were told that gloves were only for patients that “were high risk” and not to be worn for every patient. I was at the front of the line, followed by 14 hygienists.

I took a breath and said, no, we needed gloves for every patient and would not work unless that request was met. We waited for the director to arrive, causing a 30-minute delay in scheduling. In the end, the “rule” was changed and I quit soon after!

Years passed, and I opened my private dental hygiene practice—prompted by another situation that compromised my ethics. When the doctor I was working with informed my client that she needed a three-unit bridge instead of the implant we had discussed so “she could have her teeth in three weeks instead of six months,” I knew it was time to leave. I stood my ground and discussed the science behind implants and was told “I didn’t have my facts straight.” I smiled and moved on.

We at RDH Graduate newsletter have been where you are, we understand your concerns, issues, and joys! If you would like answers to questions or want to write an article sharing your experiences, please reach out to me, [email protected].

My wish for you is to enjoy the journey and make the most of your new dental hygiene career. As Dr. Seuss said, “You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way.” Cherish that thought and…

Go out and make it a great day!

Edie Gibson, RDH, MS

[email protected]