I knew when your article about "wives" appeared (February 1998) that the Readers` Forum in the following months would be interesting. I`ve never written a letter to RDH before, but I just had to this month.
RDH is a great magazine. It primarily deals with issues that the hygiene professional deals with on a daily basis. I thought the article on wives was lighthearted and fun. Sure, some wives are great; others are not so great. What`s the big deal? It wasn`t meant to be a serious topic.
This type of writing provides a relief to all concerned. If you work with a mean wife, you`ve got to laugh a little and realize you`re not the only one. If you work for, or with, a great wife, that`s great. You probably let out a big sigh, and maybe it caused you to really appreciate a person who gets little appreciation.
I have never worked in a profession where everyone is so uptight. I really agree with Dr. E. J. Neiburger`s comments (Readers` Forum, May 1998 RDH). If you don`t like it, leave. All professions have a give-and-take. I suspect people who have so much trouble in dentistry also will have trouble no matter what career they choose.
Of the dental professionals I meet, many are uptight and at odds with those they work with. The hygienist provides a valuable contribution to the dental office and generally gets paid well. In return, dentists expect a little respect and not so much whining and complaining.
Good grief, is that too much to ask?
I wish dentists and hygienists could just realize they benefit each other, especially when they work together as a team. I`m so glad Dr. Neiburger did not answer in a negative or unprofessional way. I agree that hygienists need to up their professionalism a notch or two. Act like a professional and you`ll be treated as one. As I see it now, I think dentists and hygienists are going to shoot themselves in the foot and then wake up and ask, "What happened?"
If you really want something from your career, give to it. Stop complaining and make a contribution. You only get from your career what you are willing to give to it. If you do nothing but sit around and complain, you`ll receive little for your efforts. If you educate yourself and act as a professional (at all times), you`ll be suprised at how you`ll be treated. This is not really different from other careers.
Also, thanks to Dr. Neiburger for inviting hygienists and assistants to become members of the American Academy of Forensic Dentists. He offered a way to add to our education and get involved with something that could enhance our profession. Instead of complaining about my profession, I am going to contact the American Academy of Forensic Dentists and become a member. I`m sure I`ll learn something.
Laura Moss, RDH
Las Cruces, New Mexico