Hygiene Cruising

Aug. 1, 2008
Imagine sipping strawberry daiquiris by the pool on a warm autumn day, or relaxing on a beautiful beach with turquoise blue waters surrounding you, or a sumptuous dinner buffet served by white-gloved waiters.

by Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH

Imagine sipping strawberry daiquiris by the pool on a warm autumn day, or relaxing on a beautiful beach with turquoise blue waters surrounding you, or a sumptuous dinner buffet served by white-gloved waiters. Imagine all of this after you have experienced an exciting day of continuing education programs. That's too good to be true, you say? With Elaine Siebers, RDH, BS, and Noel Kelsch, RDH, RDHAP, "Cruise and Learn" programs can be your reality. They have contracted with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to provide hygienists, team members, and families with an exciting program of education and relaxation. Annually, the cruises are held the first weekend in October. This year, October 3-6, 2008, the Cruise and Learn program runs during the Mexico Baja Cruise from Los Angeles. Elaine and Noel have strived to keep their courses reasonable, and October has the best weather and least expensive cruise time. So bon voyage, all ...

Ten years ago, when Noel and Elaine met, they discussed how they had spent many a continuing education hour and dollar on the same boring lectures, in the same types of settings, eating the same rubber chicken for lunch. They wanted to try something new and exciting. Making a combination destination and adventure continuing education experience excited them both. Elaine had been on many cruises, and Noel was beginning her writing, speaking, and cartooning. Both had practiced clinically for a number of years. It was time for something new.

Their foremost goals and objectives for the Cruise and Learn programs are to have a fabulous time while enjoying the company of family, friends, and co-workers. Royal Caribbean provides the perfect atmosphere for fun, adventure, relaxation, and the opportunity to fulfill continuing education requirements. They offer traditional courses on infection control, dental practice acts, and CPR, plus cutting-edge courses on the new and innovative treatments dealing with the infectious nature of dental disease. Their programs include handouts and vital resource lists. The courses are given in a variety of mediums, including game show formats, PowerPoint lectures and discussions, treasure hunts, and other group activities. Each course has a major prize and raffle giveaway open to all who attend. Not only is there cutting-edge information, there is also a lot of laughter and learning. Every dental professional deserves a break from the office and the typical conference settings. These programs offer a perfect opportunity for a class reunion, office get-away, or even a romantic weekend. The Cruise and Learn can be an office bonding experience or retreat to improve team building and relieve the ho-hum drudgery of the day-to-day clinical practice. Everyone can find the perfect fit for the programs.

Noel usually presents the programs while Elaine coordinates all of the details, from working with the travel agent arranging everyone's schedule to actual meeting logistics. Terri Vosper, RDH, BA, teaches the CPR programs. California"s and several other states practice acts require conitnuing education courses every two years for licensees in the state practice act, infection control, and CPR.

Elaine received her dental hygiene associate degree from West Los Angeles College and a bachelor's degree in health arts from the University of St. Francis. She currently practices hygiene two days per week in the office of Dr. John Graeser and two days a week is an instructor in the dental hygiene program at Oxnard College. Noel is a freelance cartoonist (her cartoons have appeared in RDH), clinical hygienist, speaker, and infection control columnist for RDH. Noel is passionate about her husband, family, achieving access to care for all, and enlightening and educating her audiences with information that can change lives. Elaine is passionate about her career and mentoring and helping others succeed. She has been an ADHA member for 25 years. Noel acknowledges that she must become the change that she wants to see. She has begun to share the responsiblities of being a professional association member by serving as current president of the California Dental Hygienists' Association.

With apologies to Paul Williams and Charles Fox, the lyricists of the 1970s/80s TV series The Love Boat theme, here's a new version fit for the Cruise and Learn programs:

CE, exciting and new
Come aboard, we're expecting you.
Love, life's sweetest reward
Let it flow, it floats back to you.
CE Boat soon will be making another run
CE Boat promises something for everyone
Set a COURSE for adventure
Your mind on a new romance...
It's an open smile on a friendly shore...
Welcome aboard ... its CE Boat...

For more information about the Cruise and Learn program, contact: [email protected] or [email protected].

About the Author

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, and a 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].