Nevadans feel economic crunch too

Jan. 1, 2013
Nevada has experienced the highest unemployment rate in the country for 31 months, reporting 11.8% in October 2012.

by Laura J. Webb, CDA, RDH, MS

Consider reading: The complete 2012 RDH eVillage salary survey for dental hygienists

Consider reading: DANB's 2012 Salary Survey: CDAs still earn more than non-CDAs

Consider reading: Have hourly rates taken a hit in your state?

A survey of Nevada dental hygienists offers insights on job trends

Nevada has experienced the highest unemployment rate in the country for 31 months, reporting 11.8% in October 2012. Also, in October, a convenience sample of 400 Nevada dental hygienists were invited to participate in a survey conducted by LJW Education Services to ascertain employment conditions in Nevada. The 12-question survey reiterated several of the issues raised in the annual RDH eVillage salary surveys of dental hygienists from across the country.

The survey was completed by 131 Nevada dental hygienists, evenly split between southern Nevada (SNV) metropolitan and northern Nevada (NNV) metropolitan and rural areas. The survey results indicated that 87% worked in general practice settings, and 51% held bachelor’s degrees or higher.

Although the majority responded that they felt the financial health of the practices they work with was good or had slowed down a bit, 70% (SNV: 63%; NNV: 87%) indicated that they felt employment opportunities were very difficult due to a large surplus of dental hygienists. Ninety percent (SNV: 87%; NNV: 94%) reported that they had not received a raise in at least the past 12 months, and several added comments that they had actually experienced salary reductions.

Many also reported that they receive no benefits or have had benefits reduced. A large number commented that they had a forced reduction of hours and 84% (SNV: 92%; NNV: 78%) remarked that they felt that economic conditions had affected their ability to earn maximum income pursued.

Over 38% (SNV: 48.5%; NNV: 29%) reported that they were either highly likely or have considered making a career change due to economic conditions. Sixty-one per cent (SNV: 51%, NNV: 71%) responded that dental hygiene continues to be their career choice and some expressed the desire to see opportunities for midlevel provider materialize in Nevada.

As Nevadans weather the economic storm, it is important that all dental hygienists continue to support each other in maintaining high standards of patient care and dental hygiene education. We must also continue to promote optimum oral health for our patients and advocate for dental hygiene and the important role the profession plays in healthcare. RDH

LAURA J. WEBB, CDA, RDH, MS, is an experienced clinician and educator who owns LJW Education Services, www.ljweduserv.com. She provides educational methodology courses and accreditation consulting services for DH/DA education programs and CE courses for dental professionals. Laura frequently speaks on the topics of local anesthesia and nonsurgical periodontal instrumentation. She is the recipient of the 2012 ADHA Alfred C. Fones Award.

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