“...you can appreciate the fragile, painful condition the patient is in as he tries to bounce back from having his heart stopped and lungs deflated for a few hours. He was frequently bewildered by the assorted cramps, spasms, and episodes of incessant pain.”
I was 40-years-old when I wrote the first Editor’s Note for RDH magazine. The Editor’s Note referred to an article about heart disease in the October 1995 issue, which coincided with the reflection above regarding my father’s experience with heart surgery. The rest of it was forgettable. RDH had just moved into its new home at PennWell Corp., and we had to, for example, make sure everyone knew what the new address and phone number was.
The 1995 Editor’s Note, of course, was not my first article about dentistry. I had written about the profession numerous times during the decade before becoming the editor of the magazine. So, I was around 30-years-old when I wrote my first article about a dental subject. Was I too young? I didn’t think so, and I certainly wouldn’t think of a 30-year-old today as being too young.
Jasmin Haley, the youthful president-elect of the Maryland Dental Hygienists’ Association, recently responded to a Facebook discussion about dental publications. She posted, “I think most topics [published in dental magazines] are relevant, but I would appreciate more diversity in the authors and allowing a wider reach from the younger generation that wants to share.” Jasmin contacted us in April 2016. In her email, she said, “I have an interest in writing and would like to know the process of consideration for RDH magazine. I appreciate any assistance you can give.” We sent her the writer’s guidelines (also available at RDHmag.com), and asked a general question regarding what motivates her as a writer. “I am finding that the voice of millennials is not easily found,” she said, “and we should be talking about career advancement from a younger person’s point of view.” At the time Jasmin wrote, we were trying to shift her toward a focus on articles appearing in RDH eVillage, and she has since written several good articles for the digital publication.
I think millennial dental hygienists reap some benefits from their predecessors, most notably in the scope of dental hygiene practice, as well as tremendous advances in dental products for both the patient and the professional. But what I wonder about is: The job market was different for many millennial hygienists. Remember the many consumer publications that said dental hygiene was the “place to be for jobs, jobs, jobs”? Yet the profession wasn’t quite ready for the boom, so I think millennials have a different mindset about their careers in dental hygiene.
Should they write about it? Yes, absolutely. Share your voice and dreams about the profession with your peers, young and old. There is no age requirement to writing for RDH.
By the way, Anne Guignon shares her thoughts about the power of networking for heart surgery patients and their families on page 34. And, yes, my father is still alive, presumably waiting for me to wish him a happy Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!