Your State of Mind

May 1, 1998
Where are you in this period of your life? Any regrets? No? So things have turned out just like you envisioned? We`d like to know your state of mind in this month`s questionaire.

Where are you in this period of your life? Any regrets? No? So things have turned out just like you envisioned? We`d like to know your state of mind in this month`s questionaire.

1. Are you currently practicing dental hygiene?

1) __ Yes

2) __ No

2. If so, in what state do you practice? ______________

3. Do you work:

1) __ Full-time (four days or more) in one dental practice

2) __ Full-time (four days or more) in dental practices

3) __ Part-time in one dental practice

4) __ Part-time in multiple dental practices

5) __ Part-time; also work part-time in non-clinical job.

4. Do you think a majority of your patients perceive you as a licensed member of the professional health-care community?

1) __ Yes. I think most patients are aware that I am a licensed professional, specializing in preventive dental care.

2) __ No. I think most patients see me as another office staff member who doesn`t necessarily possess required training to administer treatment.

3) __ No, and patients don`t seem to care.

5. Could you "retire" from dental hygiene tomorrow, if you wanted to?

1) __ Yes. I could walk away tomorrow without suffering any financial hardship.

2) __ No. I haven`t won the lottery yet, and I am financially dependent upon my career.

3) __ No. I don`t need the money, but I do need the personal fulfillment I get from my career.

6. If you read about an intriguing career alternative in the business section of tomorrow`s newspaper, how seriously would you mull it over?

1) __ I`d probably say, "Oh, that`s interesting." Then I`d turn the page. I enjoy dental hygiene too much to consider leaving.

2) __ I`d probably clip the article out and save it for a while. I could go either way.

3) __ I`d get on the phone and check out the logistics of a career change. I`m ready to leave.

7. Do advertisers promote dental hygienists through advertising of oral home care products?

1 __ I think advertising of oral home-care products generally promotes the role of the dental hygienist.

2 __ I think advertising of oral home-care products tends to promote the dentist.

3 __ I think advertising advocates messages about oral home care in a very effective manner, regardless of which member of the dental team appears to endorse it.

8. Besides other hygienists, with whom do you feel most comfortable having a pleasant lunchtime conversation?

1) __ A dentist.

2) __ A dental assistant.

3) __ Front office personnel.

4) __ No one from the office.

9. How comfortable are you in having discussions with a dentist about topics relevant to dentistry, a dental practice, and/or patient treatment plans.

1) __ I`m very comfortable in talking to dentists.

2) __ Depends on what kind of "mood" they`re in.

3) __ I`m not comfortable. The dentist doesn`t appear to value my opinions.

10. How concerned are you about suffering from an occupational injury (such as carpel tunnel syndrome) or occupational-related illness (such as being infected by a disease transmitted in the dental setting)?

1) __ I`m aware of the risks, but I believe precautions that I take are sufficient preventive measures.

2) __ I worry about getting an occupational injury but believe our infection control procedures are adequate protection against diseases.

3) __ I believe I stand a good chance of suffering from either an occupational injury or disease before I retire.

4) __ It`s too late. I already suffer from an occupational injury.

5) __ It`s too late. I have already contracted an occupational disease.

11. Do you feel that, in general, dentists are sexist, condescending, or unappreciative of the role of dental hygienists in dental care?

1) __ Yes. I think, in general, male dentists convey patriarchal or sexist attitudes toward the dental hygiene profession.

2) __ Yes. I think male dentists downplay the value of the services to American consumers provided by dental hygienists.

3) __ No. I think dentists, as a general rule, are very supportive and respectful of their hygienists, as well as strong proponents of sound preventive care programs.

4) __ No. We are cash producers who are important to their bottom line. They are aware of this fact.

12. Are you supportive of the concept of independent practice, which would allow you to practice your occupation without supervision by a dentist?

1) __ Yes, I wish there was independent practice flexibility for me personally.

2) __ Yes, I wish some of my colleagues had the option of independent practice, even though it`s unlikely I would pursue such an option for myself.

3) __ No. I am opposed to any related changes to my state`s (Colorado is the only state permitting "independent practice") dental practice act.

4) __ No, regulation is not needed. If I wanted my own business, I would hire a dentist to be my employee.

13. In Washington state, hygienists gathered signatures to force a public vote on self-regulation of the hygiene profession. In the November 1997 election, the initiative (called SHOUT) was defeated by a 53 to 47 percent margin. How did you feel about the SHOUT initiative?

1) __ I was very supportive of the effort.

2) __ I disagreed with the effort.

3) __ I did not care or know about it.

14. In Kansas, dentists pushed hard to permit dental assistants to perform certain functions previously only delegated to licensed dental hygienists or dentists. The dental association primarily asserted that a shortage of hygienists, particularly in rural areas, was the motivating factor. At press time, the state legislature had passed the bill, but the governor had not signed it. Many state dental hygiene associations expressed concern that the situation in Kansas would spread to other states` legislative agendas as part of an overall effort by organized dentistry. How do you feel about it?

1) __ I was very concerned for the sake of hygienists in Kansas.

2) __ In areas where there is a shortage of qualified hygienists, dentists need to consider alternative methods to ensure preventive care therapy in their practices.

3) __ I didn`t know about it, or I don`t care.

15. Are you a member of the American Dental Hygienists` Association?

1) __ Yes

2) __ No

16. If so, for how long have you been a member?

1) __ 1-5 years

2) __ 6-10 years

3) __ more than 10 years

17. How would you describe your ADHA membership?

1) __ I have been a proud member of the association and supportive of most of the association`s policies.

2) __ I am a member primarily so I can network with my colleagues on a state or local level.

3) __ I belong because it`s part of being a dental professional to participate in the association`s activities.

4) __ I am unhappy with the ADHA and am considering not renewing my membership.

18. If you are not a current ADHA member, what is the primary reason?

1) __ Dues are too high for what I would get out of it.

2) __ I disagree with some of the goals and policies stated by the association.

3) __ I do not believe there is a need for me to join a professional association.

19. How supportive is the American Dental Association of the dental hygiene profession?

1) __ I believe the ADA is committed to the best interests of all members of the dental team, including hygienists.

2) __ I don`t believe the ADA is committed to the best interests of hygienists, but they are for dentists and other auxiliary personnel.

3) __ I don`t believe the ADA is committed to the best interests of anyone except dentists.

20. At this point in your career, do you feel the 1998 graduates of dental hygiene schools will be practicing their careers in 2018:

1 __ in much the same way the profession serves now.

2) __ in an unrecognizable way, because of increased responsibilities given to hygienists, as well as technological advances.

3) __ as nothing more than dental assistants.

4) __ as unemployed laborers. The profession will be obsolete.

21. At this point in your career, if you have a son or daughter finishing his or her senior year of high school, would you support your child`s consideration of dental hygiene as an occupation?

1) __ Yes

2) __ No

22. At this point in your career, if you have a son or daughter finishing his or her senior year of high school, would you support your child`s consideration of dental school in preparation for a career as a dentist?

1) __ Yes

2) __ No

23. I wished my next patient looked like:

1) __ Leonardo DiCaprio

2) __ George Clooney

3) __ Tom Cruise

4) __ Brad Pitt

5) __ Harrison Ford

6) __ Mel Gibson

7) __ Denzel Washington

8) __ Sean Connery

9) __ Gotta give male hygienists a break with these RDH surveys. Kathy Ireland.

How to respond this survey:

Please darken the squares next to the answers you choose. Then return the survey to RDH by: 1.) Mail: RDH, Reader Survey, P.O. Box 3306, Tulsa, OK 74101; 2.) Fax: (918) 831-9804; 3.) or E-mail: [email protected] (Answers need to match the questions. Example: If you say yes to question #1, e-mail the answer by typing 1-1. If you work full-time in one office, your answer to question #3 would be 3-1. Don`t forget to let us know in what state you practice.)

The deadline for sharing your "state of mind" with us is June 19, 1998. Thanks for your input.