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Welcome to dental hygiene: Tips for starting and maintaining a satisfying career

July 23, 2018
You stand at the beginning of your dental hygiene career. How can you get off to the best start possible? Jasmin Haley, MSDH, RDH, CDA, has some advice, and taking care of yourself tops the list.
It is a few weeks after graduation. All the class celebrations, pinning ceremonies, commencement events, and parties are over. Right now, you may have already received your clinical board exam and national board exam results. Perhaps you have your diploma and license. You are ready to enter the workforce. So what now?

You're ready to start your career, take care of your patients, and make some money! Before your professional life gets too busy, here are a few reminders that all clinicians should remember when embarking on their new career.

Take care of yourself first

You must be physically, mentally, and spiritually aligned and healthy to keep your career fulfilling and to help others. Be mindful of the time you take to care for yourself. In a service-oriented profession, it is easy to forget this. This will help maintain your joy.

Be a lifelong learner

I know, the last thing you want to read is to learn even more! But for true career satisfaction, you should continually learn, especially in areas of personal development, leadership, and high performance. It will help you build self-confidence and may prepare you for roles you do not yet realize will be in your future path.

Never underestimate the power of your network

You need to stay connected with professional dental hygiene organizations. These associations will provide you with a group of like-minded professionals who can support you in your career, provide mentorship and guidance, or help you maintain your passion for the profession. Consider joining the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, National Dental Hygienists’ Association, or the American Academy of Dental Hygiene. You may even want to consider other associations. Regardless of your selection, staying connected is necessary for your career satisfaction.

Remember that being a health-care provider can be one of the most rewarding careers in your life. In your day-to-day hygiene career, you will serve your patients and oftentimes return home to care for your family. As a “momgienist,” I know this routine well. Regardless of your circumstances, take care of yourself first, be a life-long learner, and never underestimate the power of your network. Congratulations!

Jasmin Haley, MSDH, RDH, CDA, is the founder of Beyond the Prophy and cofounder of MOMgienists. She is the executive producer/cocreator of the MOMgienists podcast and the executive producer/creator of the Beyond the Prophy podcast. Jasmin helps the hygiene community to think beyond the prophy by inspiring and empowering professionals through speaking, podcasting, and hosting continuing education events. Jasmin is one of the 2018 Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction recipients. She can be contacted through her website,
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