A historic moment for dental assisting

Jan. 18, 2012
Dental Assisting Digest™ Editor Kevin Henry shares some of the preliminary results from the most important survey in the history of dental assisting — a collaboration between the American Dental Assistants Association, Dental Assisting National Board, Inside Dental Assisting, and Dental Assisting Digest™.

By Kevin Henry
Editor, DAD

When I told you in the December issue of Dental Assisting Digest that we were conducting the most important survey in the history of dental assisting, believe me when I say I wasn’t just blowing smoke or merely trying to get your attention. I meant it, and I still do. In fact, I still need YOU to participate.

For the first time ever, the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), Inside Dental Assisting (IDA), and Dental Assisting Digest (DAD) teamed up to put together a survey to see what dental assistants really think about the present state of the profession, and where it is heading in the near future. The survey took about two months to put together, and when the four entities sent it out through e-mail blasts last December, there was a collective high-five and anticipation of what we might learn from the results.

Well, the results came in ... and kept coming in ... and kept coming in. As of DAD deadline time, we have 2,013 responses ... and that is AWESOME! Thank you so much if you’ve already taken the survey and helped us out.

So, what are we learning so far? I’ll give you a look, but I will also proudly tell you that the four groups (ADAA, DANB, IDA, and DAD) are working closely together to pour through the data to see what we can all do TOGETHER to make the profession better for YOU today and tomorrow. I’m thrilled to be able to type those words because I’ve always believed that a stronger profession makes each of you better in your daily jobs.

What do you find most rewarding about your job? The total response count was 1,717 and here are the top answers ...

1. Interpersonal contact with patients (918 responses or 55% of total)
2. Respect as a healthcare professional (784 responses or 47% of total)
3. Improving the health of patients (772 responses or 47% of total)
4. Personal pride (653 responses or 39% of total)
5. Salary (628 responses or 38% of total)

What do you find least rewarding about your job? The total response count was 1,589 and here are the top answers ...

1. Politics within the dental practice (929 responses or 58% of total)
2. Dealing with a perceived hierarchy within the dental practice (dentist, then RDH, then assistant) (873 responses or 55% of total)
3. Cleaning and other "janitorial" duties (777 responses or 49% of total)
4. Perceived lack of respect (697 responses or 44% of total)
5. Salary (648 responses or 41% of total)

What you tell us matters. If you haven’t done this already, please take a few moments to fill out the survey by clicking here. I promise it won’t take more than 10 minutes of your day. Do it soon, because we are closing the survey on Feb. 15 so we can all put together our final action plan based on your thoughts and opinions.

On behalf of my friends (and I am so glad to call them my friends) at ADAA, DANB, and IDA, thank you for being the great dental assistants you are. We think the world of you, and we’re ready to work together to make your profession better.

Read on, this is your e-newsletter ...