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A motto of P.R.I.D.E.

June 1, 2005
PSR has a new meaning! Most of us know that PSR is the periodontal screening and reporting system, a rapid two- to three-minute periodontal screening exam.
Harriet Ludjin
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PSR has a new meaning! Most of us know that PSR is the periodontal screening and reporting system, a rapid two- to three-minute periodontal screening exam. But for Harriet Ludjin, RDH, MAdEd, the acronym means professional self-regulation, a topic she is passionate about. Her PSR presentation addresses the age-old question, “Are we autonomous or are we automatons?” Are we, as hygienists, a profession according to the true meaning of the word, or are we quasi-professionals?

Harriet’s course includes differentiating between autonomous and automaton, recognizing the characteristics of a profession, understanding the meaning of self-regulation, and devising a personal action plan to attain individual goals. Her program helps promote and focus her efforts towards establishing dental hygiene as a self-regulated profession with a nationally recognized dental hygiene license similar to a driver’s license. She believes that, since hygienists graduate from an accredited program and pass regional and national exams, it only makes sense to have a national license. She also believes that expanded functions should be an optional choice for hygienists, and that expanded functions should be recognized in all states.

In addition to her PSR program, Harriet offers several courses dealing with medical emergencies. As oral health-care providers, we are in the unique position of tying general and oral health together and promoting the well-being of those we care for. We care for people on an intimate level because we “invade their personal space” every time we enter their mouth. This might precipitate a life-threatening emergency, depending on the individual’s health status. The good news is that 95 percent of all medical emergencies that occur in the dental office are preventable. Population demographics, complicated health profiles, and the increased use of multiple medications increase the risk for error that could result in a medical incident or even death. Harriet’s medical emergency program is designed to help practitioners maintain emergency skills and current knowledge, and help them increase a successful rescue rate.

The medical profile and its relativity to dental care are explored, and helpful techniques for documenting findings are shared. The program is based on the interaction of attendees, who are asked to share their real-life experiences.

The program also prepares the dental team to function as a team, and is a foundational program to administering nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation and/or local anesthetic. The course enables participants to identify high-risk patients and develop an action plan in the event that a medical emergency occurs. As an office, the team prepares for any possible emergencies. The team learns to work together for data collection and documentation, and how preventive/emergency techniques enhance the survival rate of patients. CPR certification, including manikin practice, can be an additional feature of Harriet’s program.

Preventing medical emergencies is a team effort. All members of the dental staff would benefit from a refresher course on first aid, CPR, and beyond. This course is most effective when staff members take it together. Participants have a chance to role play and interact with their group, and learn how to depend on each other when the going gets tough.

Safety and prevention have always been near and dear to Harriet’s heart. Since childhood she has wanted to find the safest and best way to tackle any situation. She is a multi-level American Red Cross and American Heart Association instructor on the Healthcare Provider/BLS level. She has taken the OSHA “Train the Trainer” course in order to offer the highest level of infection control and safety.

A graduate of the University of Detroit Dental School with a certificate in dental hygiene, she has continued her education and its safety focus through her bachelor’s degree from the National College of Education, and a master’s in adult education from Summit University of Louisiana.

In the early 1990s with her friend, Patti DiGangi, RDH, Harriet used her safety and health focus to bring Patti’s consulting company to the next level. Patti asked Harriet if she would be interested in doing all of the infection control and CPR/safety issues for the company. She agreed, and the two are currently working together to provide educational programs through Patti’s company, Professional Directions Conferences.

Harriet includes a handout in her programs with highlights of the program and recommendations for an office emergency kit. Since people learn best by sharing information, Harriet encourages participation and enjoys the interaction between herself and the audience. She enjoys the creativity she experiences when putting a program together or updating an older one. The sense of fulfillment a speaker gets when the audience enjoys a presentation and “gets” it is immense.

If Harriet wasn’t a hygienist, she would be involved with the outdoors and the environment, her other passions. Her motto is P.R.I.D.E. - Personal Responsibility for Individual Daily Efforts. She believes that it is only through being responsible for one’s own actions, thoughts, beliefs and directions that one can achieve anything meaningful in life.

She believes in cherishing family and friends as gifts from God, and maintaining a sense of harmony so that one is healthy to pursue one’s dreams. She believes that when people fail to dream, whether on a personal or professional level, they fail to achieve. To Harriet, success is not about money, or how high on the social ladder one climbs. Rather it is about being true to oneself and giving back to society, ecology, the universe, and the profession of dental hygiene. Life is sweet, live it with passion!

For more information on Harriet’s programs, contact her at: [email protected].

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, BS, is currently a faculty member at Mt. Ida College’s dental hygiene program after spending more than 25 years in private practice. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in education in instructional design. A member of several professional dental hygiene associations, Ann-Marie has written numerous articles and provides continuing education programs for dental hygienists and dental team members. She can be reached at [email protected].