Research And Job Searching

After spending countless hours weaving the web in 2012, I have some definite opinions on what internet sources enhance the profession ...

By Lory Laughter, RDH,BS

After spending countless hours weaving the web in 2012, I have some definite opinions on what internet sources enhance the profession, as well as links that are not so helpful or encouraging to the careers we pursue as health-care providers.

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PubMed remains my favorite site to begin any research-based search. As the site becomes more user friendly, even nonprofessionals can find science-based published literature to answer most dental hygiene related queries. Of course, delving into an investigation of articles on the site may also lead to more questions than definitive answers — a part of how new research begins. While the official address for PubMed is in the box at right, one can also reach the destination by simply typing www.pubmed.com or even www.pubmed.gov.

The Cochrane Collaboration is another great site for spending computer time seeking unbiased answers to health related questions. The Cochrane reviews are systematic reviews or meta-analysis reports and strive to guide us in evidence-based health-care delivery. You will not find single case studies or articles funded by companies on this site. One thing I really like about Cochrane lies in the reviewer’s ability to admit there is insufficient research to reach a conclusion rather than attempting to formulate an answer from flawed or inadequate studies.

I had an eye-opening experience at the Cochrane site recently. This link was the first to begin my questioning of systemic fluoride. In one sentence, this review drops a bombshell on what many of us were taught in college, “In the review, no conclusion could be reached about the effectiveness of fluoride supplements in preventing tooth decay in young children (less than 6 years of age) with deciduous teeth.”

Cindy Kleiman, RDH, BS, penned a column for RDH eVillage Focus deserving of reading by every dental professional treating special needs patients. We are reminded to look at the individual rather than make assumptions on what we deem as best care. In addition, learning on the job is an ongoing exercise. Once the quest for seeking lessons ends, so might our influence as health-care coaches.

The World Wide Web is an excellent resource for job searching, if one is careful of the sources used in seeking employment. Sites requiring a fee for job postings are often less packed with offers of part-time work making thousands of dollars weekly — postings worth ignoring. Success in career placement has been found on sites ranging from Monster.com to LinkedIn. The worst posting I witnessed this year came from Craigslist.org and was forwarded to me by a frustrated dental hygienist.

“Dental practice in ______ seeking motivated Hygienist. Looking for someone who can complete task at hand so that I do not have to come in and finish the Distal lingual of the lower right and distal buccal of the upper left on every single patient. Also need you to come to staff meetings with an upbeat attitude, focused on trying to find ways to connect with your patients and help keep your schedule full, rather than have a chip on your shoulder and fail to participate in any meaningful manner. Position will start as part time but with the right person can become full time. With this economy and WDS, times are terrible for practice owners. Most of us have taken 50%-75% pay cuts. The gravy days are over. Pay will start at $35 per hour. Bumping up to the high 40s of yesterday will be determined on your skill level, ability to complete tasks at hand without emotional flare up and attitude. Most importantly, you will be expected to help in keeping your schedule full rather than expecting the front desk personnel to do it all for you. If you want employment, and are willing to put in an effort, send your resume.”

It is apparent this dentist most likely based his needs on past interactions with one hygienist. Yet, this is not a great way to attract a competent, motivated and skilled dental hygienist — at least not one with any self-respect. The job offer says much about the perception of our profession. This low opinion of RDHs in general and the idea that we cannot complete a “task at hand” is almost as alarming as the fact that health care delivery or education is not addressed at all. Even more alarming, the office probably received many resumes from desperate job seekers who are unemployed or underemployed in this economy.

Not all web information comes from sites directly. The email community of AmyRDH connects those with questions to colleagues with possible solutions on a daily basis. Recent topics of cameras in operatories to “watch” employees and other blatant work place harassment keep the email group active and engaged. The one question remaining unanswered in my mind is, “How, as a professional organization, are we discussing, evaluating, and ultimately solving these work place issues?” You can join the “Listers” by visiting www.amyrdh.com and completing a simple sign-up.

I hope every reader experienced a joyful and productive 2012 on and off the internet. Please accept my sincere wishes for a happy 2013, including many blissful hours of web weaving. RDH


ADDRESSES MENTIONED IN THIS COLUMN

  1. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
  2. Cochrane Collaboration http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD007592/fluoride-supple ments-tablets-drops-lozenges-or-chewing-gums-for-preventing-tooth-decay-in-children
  3. RDH eVillage http://newsletters.pennnet.com/dentalenl/168655706.html
  4. AmyRDH.com http://www.amyrdh.com

LORY LAUGHTER, RDH, BS, practices clinically in Napa, Calif. She is owner of Dental IQ, a business responsible for the Annual Napa Dental Experience. Lory combines her love for travel with speaking nationally on a variety of topics. She can be contacted at lorylaughter@aol.com.

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