Professional, autonomous attire

I am writing in response to the `white tradition` Commentary by Heidi Jones (March 1996). I found it hard to make sense of the article, which addressed wearing white in dentistry, until I got to the part of the quest for autonomy. Finally, the point: our dress makes us less professional. The concern is the public perception of hygienists since all of the auxiliaries dress alike. It`s another reason for self-regulation and independent practice.

Dear RDH:

I am writing in response to the `white tradition` Commentary by Heidi Jones (March 1996). I found it hard to make sense of the article, which addressed wearing white in dentistry, until I got to the part of the quest for autonomy. Finally, the point: our dress makes us less professional. The concern is the public perception of hygienists since all of the auxiliaries dress alike. It`s another reason for self-regulation and independent practice.

In my view professionalism comes from within, not what we are wearing at the time or who we are co-practicing with. Every time I gather data, blood pressure, perio probe, inform and educate patients, and practice my best clinical skills, I feel professional. The people I serve know that I am a professional and understand that my skills are different than the other professionals in my practice.

And it is my view that dental hygienists will never achieve the autonomy some are seeking until they view themselves as a professional.

Deana S. Standley, RDH

Great Falls, Montana

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