Adjust your attitude

Sept. 1, 2009
If you love what you do, you'll be successful. But if you just go through the motions, your life will become tedious and boring.

by Ann–Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MeD, FAADH
[email protected]

If you love what you do, you'll be successful. But if you just go through the motions, your life will become tedious and boring. Finding satisfaction depends on your attitude. It means becoming motivated and inspired. Are you inspired by dental hygiene, or are you just “going through the motions”? Throughout her program, “Adjust Your Attitude – Increase Your Latitude,” Susan Clark, RDHEF, inspires dental professionals to find their passion and motivation, which will make their professional lives rewarding and empowering.

Susan encourages participants to step outside their comfort zones and broaden their horizons, and to create vision/mission statements to set goals for their future. According to Susan, a mission statement addresses these questions:

  1. What direction do you want to take to enrich your life and career?
  2. What personal and professional goals have you set?
  3. Where do you see your dental hygiene department going?
  4. What motivates you to succeed?

She defines the vision statement as a philosophy about hygienists' roles, which includes commitments to themselves, their employers, and their teams. It should also contain a statement about the quality of care that will be provided to patients.

Susan incorporates the role hygienists play in the business side of the dental practice. She sees them as proactive business partners with the dentist, serving as the cornerstones of the practice. Hygienists build relationships with patients, and those relationships generate dentistry for the practice.

In another program, Susan challenges participants to envision their passion in “How to Self Publish.” She speaks from experience as she has published her own book, Exploring Dental Hygiene, Finding the Hidden Rewards. This program enlightens participants on the pros and cons of self–publishing, manuscript format, titling, art, marketing, and promotion.

With both programs, Susan's goals are to motivate hygienists toward a journey of professional success, personal happiness, and financial freedom. She began her journey as a writer and speaker in October 1995, when she was in a near–fatal auto accident. While recuperating, she had time to analyze her career and ponder her future. Susan decided that if she could not go back to work as a hygienist, she wanted to create a dental hygiene manual for the career she had loved and worked in for 10 years. That manual ended up being 70 pages long!

While still recovering in January 2006, Susan attended the annual Crown Council meeting in Dallas. During the general session, the organizer of the program, Steve Anderson, asked the audience if anyone had experienced a life–altering experience. Susan raised her hand and told her story. At a breakout session, several dentists who had heard her speak asked her where they could buy her “book.” She realized the information in the manual would be valuable to many hygienists and practices, and decided to self–publish. Thus the book and continuing education programs were born.

Susan is a dental hygiene graduate of the University of New Mexico and has a degree in humanities from Rockland Community College. She loves to travel and goes to Europe at least once a year. She is a member of ADHA and is concerned about the lack of professional credibility hygienists receive. She believes that hygienists who take advantage of continuing education have a higher career satisfaction than those who do not.

She hopes those who attend her programs and read her book visualize goals, write them down, and tape them where they can see them each day. She wants hygienists to review their goals and set a deadline for achieving them, because being accountable allows people to reach their goals. Accountability can make workdays easier and increase effectiveness and efficiency.

If hygienists are feeling bored or burned out, Susan's book and programs may be just the thing they need. She guides participants to regain the passion and enthusiasm they once felt for dental hygiene.

For more information about Susan and her programs or book contact, or e–mail [email protected].

About the Author

Ann–Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, member of ADHA and other professional associations. Ann–Marie presents continuing–education programs for hygienists and dental team members and has written numerous articles on a variety of topics. She can be reached at [email protected].