Giving thanks for a great profession

Nov. 18, 2010
ADAA President Natalie Kaweckyi, LDA, RF, CDA, CDPMA, COA, COMSA, MADAA, BA, shares what she's thankful for this year.

November is a time in which many of us contemplate on the past, reflect on the present, and give thanks for what we have achieved. We are thankful for all that we have — family, friends, health, and happiness, to name a few. We are thankful not only for our material possessions, but for the abilities we were born with and the skills we have developed and continue to refine as we grow professionally and personally. We are thankful for our profession, educational opportunities available in dentistry, professional association, and the wonderful relationships and opportunities these provide.

With all we have to be thankful for, what do we give back — to our families, colleagues, coworkers, community, and profession? Time is precious and often escapes us when we least expect it. Often we feel as though we just can't give any more after busy work schedules, driving the kids around, social and spiritual activities. Yet there are some of us who manage to find the time to give just a little bit more.

In addition to being thankful for our friends and family, we should also be thankful for

  • Our patients, as they have a choice where they seek their dental care
  • Our colleagues, who often know when to lend an ear or a helping hand to get us through the day
  • Dental assisting students, who are the future of our profession with fresh insight and ideas that one day may make the technique more efficient
  • The dental assisting educators who instill their passion and career experiences on our impressionable future
  • Our bosses, who choose to have the very best on staff to assist them
  • The dental corporations who serve and support the profession
  • And last but not least, the dental team members in the armed services who are away from their homes and families, because without them we might not be practicing our profession the way we do today

As a licensed dental assistant, I am thankful for many things that have evolved during my dental career. I remember my first patient in school when I took that initial alginate impression and I thanked him for not gagging. I am thankful for my first boss, who was patient with my many questions and encouraged me to challenge myself professionally. I am thankful to the first dental assisting class I taught, and many of the students have become colleagues through the years. I am thankful for the legislative activities I’ve been involved with that advance the profession of dental assisting in my state, and I hope that other states have an easier time reaching the same advancements. I am also extremely grateful to the many mentors who have crossed my path through the years and offered wonderful learning experiences and opportunities for growth, all of which have shaped me into the dental assisting professional I am today.

The holiday season provides a perfect opportunity for each of us to reflect on our professional responsibility in a world that is getting smaller through technological advances. There are real opportunities to make the world a better place for others and for future members of our profession. For those of you who are not members of the ADAA, try us out through e-membership, and perhaps this time next year you will have additional opportunities to be thankful for! (Details on e-membership are available at

I wish all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving season and safe travels!

Natalie Kaweckyj, LDA, RF, CDA, CDPMA, COA, COMSA, MADAA, BA
President, American Dental Assistants Association 2010 – 2011