My holiday wish list

Dec. 1, 2001
Here's wishing you love, peace, and good health — hearts filled with joy, and bodies practicing without pain in the comfort zone.

Here's wishing you love, peace, and good health — hearts filled with joy, and bodies practicing without pain in the comfort zone.

Dear Santa,

Hi, it's Anne from Texas. Do you remember me? I'm the one who always wanted to open my presents way ahead of time. Santa, I really don't need anything this year. I am happy, healthy, and I have all the worldly goods I need. Could you please share my gifts with some of the best people in the world — other dental hygienists?

Santa, we just want to help people be happy and healthy. That's what our profession is all about. We have an incredible power to help people heal. We help people heal physically. We help people heal mentally. You know how happy people are when their smiles are terrific and their mouths are healthy. Santa, hygienists give so much all day long to so many different people, yet there are many who aren't smiling themselves. Hygienists are givers and sometimes we forget to give back to ourselves. Please help us remember that a nurturer needs time for renewal, time for reflection, and time for rest.

I meet hygienists from all over the country, and I am getting worried. There are hygienists who practice every day with their own healing hands in pain. Many suffer from chronic back, neck, or shoulder pain. Some hygienists are wounded mentally; others feel very discouraged. There are hygienists who suffer from low self-esteem or have lost their positive professional focus, and there are others who have succumbed to the devastating effects of isolation.

Yes, there are hygienists who practice pain-free, and there are hygienists who have freedom to provide the best patient care possible. I want my holiday gifts to help more hygienists find joy and peace in their professional careers.

So instead of giving me more this year, can you help me spread joy throughout the world of dental hygiene? Will you please help me help other hygienists? If you need some ideas on how to do this, I made a list for you. Twelve little ideas — just like the twelve days of Christmas. What do you think would happen if hygienists all over the world took these twelve little ideas and put them into practice?

  1. Remind hygienists of all the special and caring reasons we chose this profession.
  2. Encourage a discouraged hygienist to practice another day and get one more opportunity to feel fulfillment.
  3. Nurture professional relationships.
  4. Focus on the wonderful diversity of our colleagues and co-workers rather than small, petty jealousies.
  5. Restore professional enthusiasm to a burned-out colleague.
  6. Support each other's dreams and goals.
  7. Band hygienists together to make our profession stronger.
  8. Help hygienists refocus on the true joys of patient care.
  9. Encourage mentors to use their unique talents and skills to help other hygienists.
  10. Show hygienists how to recognize and conquer life's professional challenges.
  11. Give hygienists a strong and clear voice to express their professional needs.
  12. Let all hygienists know that it is right to expect safety in the workplace.

Santa, your spirit inspires so many to do so much good. Just imagine all the smiling hygienists lighting up the world with their hearts filled with joy and their bodies practicing without pain! I know you will do your best to help dental hygienists everywhere learn to practice and live in the comfort zone.

Thank you for taking time to listen to me again this year. Oh, by the way, if you have any spare magnification loupes, ergonomic chairs, ultrasonic scalers, or large-handled instruments leftover in your sack of goodies, I know just the hygienists who would love to find them under their tree! And if you're not too busy, do you think you could slip me another gift certificate for a massage into my stocking?

Your hygiene buddy,

Anne Nugent Guignon, RDH, MPH, practices clinical dental hygiene in Houston, Texas. She writes, speaks, and presents continuing- education courses on ergonomics and advanced ultrasonic instrumentation through her company, ErgoSonics ( She can be reached by phone at (713) 974-4540 or by e-mail at [email protected].