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An Amazing Race to the Good Life

Dec. 1, 2007
Whenever hygienists get together, one complaint can be heard consistently — time, or the lack thereof.

by Ann-Marie C. DePalma

Whenever hygienists get together, one complaint can be heard consistently — time, or the lack thereof. There is so much to do during an appointment, yet we’re not provided with adequate time to do everything that we should. However, Pat Pine, RDH, in her program, “The Amazing Race — The Race Against Time,” shows us how we can organize our day in order to customize care for each patient. Pat encourages her participants to work smarter, thus reducing stress levels. She asks participants what they accomplish in a usual one-hour appointment. Can they provide quality service, and would they want to be treated the way they treat their patients? A stress-free, quality care hygiene day does exist, and Pat empowers the audience to accomplish it.

During the program hygienists will:

  • Learn strategies to recognize stress and how to reduce it
  • Understand the tools needed to plan the day
  • Develop a stress-free hygiene day
  • Customize patient care with technology and products
Pat Pine, RDH
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Pat believes that reducing stress is an invaluable gift to oneself. The cost of the program can be weighed against the amount of money that would be spent on stress-related doctor visits and illness, and the toll stress takes on everyone. However, in order for the program to be truly effective, members of the team should attend the session together. If the office is truly a team, everyone achieves more and helps each other as a family would.

Pat has always worked toward a stress-free hygiene day. It took many years for her to learn how to create that day, and now she feels good about what she accomplishes each day. Over the years, Pat temped in many practices that were so unorganized, they drained her of the hygiene spirit and she couldn’t provide the quality care she wanted to. She is now ready to teach others how to provide quality care without stress. Pat wants hygienists to understand that no one’s day should be stressful, no matter what the situation. She wants hygienists to understand that they have full control of their day.

Organization is the key in any situation. As health-care professionals, hygienists can accomplish more once they master organization. Pat has examples of work flow sheets to help hygienists and the entire team get started. She also provides hands-on opportunities so that participants can actually see the difference organizational skills can make.

Pat provides a handout for review after her programs are over. She encourages audience participation and discussion, especially the sharing of ideas.

Pat has an associate degree from William Rainey Harper College in Illinois. While in school she had a three-year-old daughter and infant son! While her husband, Bob, was a saint, she knows her family suffered while she studied for her degree. But they managed and did it together, just like dental teams can do it together and become more organized and stress-free.

Pat feels there is much more to hygiene than clinical, especially now with the development of lasers, microscopes and digital radiography. At one time she thought she might become bored with hygiene, but has found that customizing patient care and managing a stress-free day can accomplish much to reduce boredom. Five years ago, Pat started her own company called “U”nique Dental Organizational Services to help dental teams with organizational skills, infection control, and any other issues they may be concerned about.

Pat is an ADHA member and stresses to her children that education is something that can never be taken away from you. But now preceptorship is knocking on hygiene’s door, threatening to take away hygienists’ education. The general public has no idea what hygienists do, so we need to promote public awareness to “who is cleaning your teeth?”

Pat feels that the organizational part within dentistry is useful in any part of our lives. By organizing the day with attitude and flexibility, anything is possible. She hopes that by participating in the “The Amazing Race,” participants will return with open minds, no stress and doors open to unlimited potential. As her family motto is “Life is Good,” so can hygiene be if one is open to its possibilities.

For more information on Pat and her programs, contact [email protected].

About the Author

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH, is an assistant professor at Northern Essex Community College. She 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].