By Anne-Marie C. DePalma
As a columnist for RDH, Dianne Glasscoe, RDH, BS, addresses practice management problems and issues that face hygienists from across the country. As CEO of Professional Dental Management Company, she strives to provide dental practices with the building blocks to a more successful practice. Dianne maintains that successful dental practices are built on caring, motivation, exceptional patient services, and sound management principles practiced by doctor(s) and staff. By providing the hygienist with a dose of enthusiasm and motivation, Dianne stimulates her programs and writings with empowerment to practice success. But it wasn't always that way!
Dianne began working in dentistry fresh from high school in 1972. She was employed in a small dental office in Thomasville, N.C., with one doctor, one assistant, one hygienist, and herself. But one day things changed; the assistant went to lunch and never returned! Naturally, it happened on a day when the doctor was scheduled with two crown preps in the afternoon and the hygienist had a solid day. Thus, Dianne was thrown into the assisting realm through a "baptism by fire."
Fortunately, Dr. Jim McGhee was a good teacher, and Dianne found she loved clinical assisting. From there, she decided to move on to dental hygiene school and graduated in 1978 from Guilford Technical Community College, and also passed the CDA exam for assisting. She returned to school in 1991 and graduated in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree from Indiana Institute of Technology in human resource management. Dianne also has been an adjunct clinical instructor at Guilford Technical Community College and has taught practice management to dental hygiene students.
When asked how she became involved in lecturing, Dianne says, "Speaking, consulting, and writing are all intertwined." After several of her articles were published in dental hygiene and dental journals, Dianne began developing programs centered on staffing issues and clinical hygiene. Her favorite and most popular is, "My Love Affair with Periodontal Disease." Dianne uses that title because periodontal treatment is something she loves to do.
"It is gratifying to take a patient from a state of disease to a state of good oral health," she says. "Huge advances have been achieved over the last 10 years and our knowledge about periodontal disease keeps growing." The program discusses the latest treatment protocols, intra-pocket therapies, adjunctive treatments, the systemic link, and clinical excellence. She says that clinical excellence involves being a continual learner and that it takes more than just good clinical skills to be an excellent hygienist. "Loving your patients, co-workers and boss unconditionally, and to see each new day as a fresh opportunity to be a blessing to those who cross your path" is why we strive to be clinically excellent.
Another popular seminar she presents is, "Creating Communication Excellence." This program covers one-on-one communication, barriers to communication, strategies for dealing with objectionable patients, and assisted hygiene. Dianne says she likes to package both topics in an all-day program and calls it, "The Consummate Dental Hygienist," because it takes equal parts of excellent communication skills and clinical skills to be a complete hygienist.
Since she speaks about being a consummate dental hygienist, one thing that Dianne believes in is being an ADHA member. She feels it is her professional responsibility to support the profession that has given so much to her. One of her concerns is the low membership enrollment and lack of interest in our professional organization. How can one be a consummate hygienist, if the profession of dental hygiene is not supported?
Dianne is not only passionate about dental hygiene, but also about her family and church. Since Dianne's husband, David, passed away suddenly last year, her life has changed drastically. She has come to realize life is a precious gift and that even the mundane things in life are blessings. Dianne has learned that God's grace is sufficient to carry you through anything you have to face.
Dianne loves the feeling that she has helped her attendees expand their knowledge base and make their work life better. Her most difficult challenge is staying on schedule during a program.
The furthest she has traveled so far is Mammoth, Calif., for a "ski and learn" seminar. Her funniest moment occurred recently when she got a terrible cramp in her foot right in the middle of a program. To continue, she had to take her shoes off and walk around flat footed. The audience thought it was hysterical when she said, "Whew, this lecture is a real pain!"
She recently read "Spiritual Issues and Choices in Dentistry" by William Forbes, DDS, and Richard Topazian, DDS. Other favorite books are anything written by John Grisham, and Dianne also loves music. She often listens to contemporary Christian musicians such as Andrae Crouch. Her hobbies — when not speaking, writing, or traveling — include bike riding, fishing on the coast, and singing in an a cappella group!
Dianne describes herself as a fun-loving, hard-working, and thankful person. I met Dianne last year at the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists' Association annual session. She impressed me as being a consummate hygienist, even though I had not even known about her program at the time. I am looking forward to hearing her speak again at the Yankee Dental Congress.
And another RDH columnist, Anne Guignon, RDH, agrees. Anne says, "Dianne is a the consummate mentor. When I was the new kid on the block at RDH, she was always willing to extend a guiding hand, proving that 'Dear Dianne' extends to her fellow writers and speakers, as well as her readers."
Dianne Glasscoe's upcoming programs are:
• Yankee Dental Congress, Boston, Jan. 30-Feb. 2
• RDH magazine's Under One Roof conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 6-7
• UMKC Alumni Meeting, March 14-15
• Concord Dental Seminars, various locations and times throughout the United States
Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, BS is a practicing hygienist in a periodontal-implant practice.She is a graduate of the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists, is active in the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists' Association, and is a Fellow of the Association of Dental Implant Auxilliaries and Practice Management.Ann-Marie has written articles and presents programs on dental implants, TMD, and developmental delays and can be reached at [email protected].