By Kevin Henry
I love Louisiana dental assistants. Now, now, don't get in a huff and don't furrow your brow at me. Let me explain. For the past two years, I've spoken to dental assistants from the Bayou State (as well as some from surrounding states) during the New Orleans Dental Conference/Louisana Dental Association meeting in the Big Easy. I was there two weeks ago and the weather couldn't have been more perfect, the jazz music couldn't have been any better, and the food couldn't have been any more calorie-ridden. It was a great time to speak to these awesome dental assistants, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. A big thank you to Elizabeth Schmidt, president of the Louisiana Dental Assistants Association, for inviting me to speak at the NODC. She has a great passion to build up the LDAA, and I believe she will do it.
What really impressed me about the dental assistants at my course in New Orleans was their attitude about their jobs. I know (and they know) that Louisiana ranked 44th last year out of the 50 states in our annual "Best (and Worst) States To Be a Dental Assistant" ranking. The low ranking was partly because of the low pay that Louisiana dental assistants receive (they rank 46th out of the 50 states in terms of average pay), yet these dental assistants told me again and again how they love what they do and love that they can make a difference in the lives of so many patients. They are great examples of looking at dental assisting as an important profession rather than "just a job," and I give them a huge thumbs up for what they do every day.
I know there are dental assistants in every state who make a difference every day, and I know there are dental assistants in every state who are underpaid and overworked. Is that you? Do you love what you do? Or are you about ready to throw in the towel and leave dental assisting or apply to hygiene school? Give me your thoughts by answering a seven-question survey by clicking here. This survey will be used as a part of our "Best (and Worst) States To Be a Dental Assistant" for 2012, so please take about two minutes and help us out with this survey. I thank you in advance for your help.
Louisiana, keep that pride shining. You other 49 states, let me know how you're doing by answering the survey. I'll publish the results in an upcoming issue of DAD.
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By Kevin Henry