Joyce Turcotte, RDH

Oct. 1, 2003
Joyce Turcotte, RDH, MEd, has always felt that good communicators listen and understand other people's needs. This is an especially true attribute for hygienists.

By Ann-Marie C. DePalma

Background behind seminar

Joyce Turcotte, RDH, MEd, has always felt that good communicators listen and understand other people's needs. This is an especially true attribute for hygienists. Showing compassion and empathy, building trust and mutual respect, being realistic regarding patient adherence are critical to achieving success in the oral health care role that hygienists play.

Her program, "What Does It Take for Patient Adherence," expands on her own philosophy and encourages participants to think about the role of the health-care provider as a facilitator of change. Ms. Turcotte teaches that change occurs through a partnership between the client and caregiver, built upon a foundation of trust and care. Through a better understanding of a client's stages of behavioral change, the hygienist can apply strategies appropriate to a particular stage.

The audience studies various learning styles and how they relate to the educational process. They also learn that self-analysis provides the impetus to this change. Her building blocks for better patient relations focus on compliance and patient ownership. Any hygienist who has ever felt frustrated in motivating patients/clients to take medications, followup on therapy, brush/floss, reduce sugar intake, quit smoking, keep appointments, etc., would benefit from this program because tools and strategies to these and many other issues are addressed.

Speaker background

Joyce received her dental hygiene degree from the program formerly known as the New York Community College. She continued her education and received her bachelor's in dental hygiene education from the University of Bridgeport and her master's in psychoeducational processes from Temple University. Throughout her studies, she learned techniques in analyzing behavior, teaching strategies, and communication skills that she has brought to her programs. Many of Joyce's seminars focus on self-analysis, role playing, and activities. She uses a combination of audio visual equipment ranging from overhead projectors, video presentations or PowerPoint depending on the program length.

In addition to "What Does it Take for Patient Adherence," Joyce also provides dental hygiene refresher programs throughout the year in Connecticut. This 24-hour refresher program is affiliated with Tunxis Community College in Hartford, and is designed for hygienists who have taken time away from clinical work. It is an intense course and requires advanced study before the program. The program is designed to help hygienists regain their confidence and competence in providing patient care. She has found that hygienists return to dental hygiene for a number of personal reasons after hiatuses. It is amazing for Joyce to see them pick up an instrument with the correct technique because they learned it right the first time. Joyce finds being a facilitator of learning and meeting new people a few of the many rewards of presenting programs and seminars.

In addition to these professional accomplishments, Joyce is also president of Professional Learning Services, a company dedicated to providing high quality continuing education programs. A vast array of continuing education speakers have presented programs for PLS.

Personal background

Passions in Joyce's life include her family and friends. Blending teaching, private practice, and conference planning is a healthy balance in her professional career which she enjoys very much. She is also a member of ADHA and a past president of the Connecticut Dental Hygienists' Association.

Joyce is concerned about the direction hygiene is going as a profession. In her roles as Congressional District Member on the Permanent Commission of the Status of Women in Connecticut and the incoming president of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, Joyce expresses her views regarding the dental hygiene profession. Her position is that we should be broadening our profession's expertise to ensure that we become an integral part of preventive health care. With more emphasis being placed on the role periodontal health plays in overall systemic health, Joyce feels that we should be connecting with other health disciplines to be a part of the patient's total health care.

I have known Joyce for a number of years and have recently done programs for her company, PLS. Her professionalism and understanding of an audience's needs is impressive. It is a pleasure to work with her.

Upcoming seminars include several programs scheduled in the fall and the Yankee Dental Congress in Boston, January 30-31, 2004 and a Caribbean cruise and 12 CEUs April 10-17, 2004. For more information regarding her programs or other CE presenters involved with PLS, contact Joyce at [email protected] or

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, BS is a practicing hygienist in a periodontal-implant practice.She is a graduate of the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists, is active in the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists' Association, and is a Fellow of the Association of Dental Implant Auxilliaries and Practice Management.Ann-Marie has written articles and presents programs on dental implants, TMD, and developmental delays and can be reached at [email protected].