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6 questions with Jo-Anne Jones

July 1, 2018
Jo-Anne Jones answers six questions about her upcoming seminar at RDH Under One Roof.

Speaker discusses her seminar on burnout prevention at RDH Under One Roof.

Jo-Anne Jones, RDH, will lead a burnout prevention seminar on Wednesday, August 1, at the RDH Under One Roof conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

The seminar is titled, “The Perfect Ten: Strategies to Sustain Our Practice, Our Patients, and Our Lives. The mega-session is scheduled for August 1st during the three-day dental hygiene conference. The educational agenda for RDH Under One Roof is primarily based on general sessions and workshops. But the keynote session and mega-session bring all attendees together in a larger room.

In her course description, Jones wrote, “Some days I amaze myself. Other days I look for my phone while holding it! Sound familiar? We are easily influenced by those around us. We need to recognize our individuality and what works for us. The Perfect 10 will explore the signs of burnout and recognize the pathway to prevention. Strategies to accomplish this will be based upon the 10 best lifestyle choices that today’s professional woman can make.”

Jones is president of RDH Connection Inc., which specializes in continuing education programs for dental hygienists. We asked her six questions below about her upcoming seminar at RDH Under One Roof.

More information about the conference can be found at RDHUnderOneRoof.com.

RDH: During your seminar at RDH Under One Roof, you have indicated that you want to focus on lifestyle steps to prevent burnout. Before we get into that, can we briefly discuss what causes burnout.

Jones: Burnout is a lifestyle related condition brought on by a number of factors. It is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with the continual demands of a busy day. It can creep up slowly on us—literally going unnoticed until we have a major breakdown.

The medical profession is increasingly using the term burnout to refer to the collection of symptoms a patient experiences when under prolonged stress. The medical profession also realizes that prolonged stress is the precursor to illnesses such as adrenal fatigue, adrenal insufficiency, and a number of other prevalent and deadly diseases. Women, as caregivers, will often ignore their symptoms because they are fearful and wish to place the needs of their families first.

RDH: You mention the efforts of women to be a “perfect 10,” an effort to be all things to all people, including patients, colleagues, and family. How did female dental hygienists end up in this position of trying to be a perfect 10?

Jones: There are a number of common characteristics that draw us into the profession of dental hygiene. First and foremost, we have a caregiver mentality and a sincere desire to assist others. This is essentially where we derive our gratification from. What has drawn us into the profession can also become our breaking point.

We are caregivers throughout our clinical day as well as at home, possibly caring for young children and/or aging parents. We also tend to be perfectionists, always expecting the very best out of ourselves each day without realizing that our best will vary considerably depending on how we are feeling physically, how well we have slept, etc. The focus of my seminar is on strategies to sustain our practice, our patients, and, above all, our lives!

 RDH:It sounds as if the seminar offers a variety of 10 best lifestyle choices a woman can make. The best foods, best sleep habits, and even the best anti-aging secrets. And so on. You had us at anti-aging secrets. What do you think will be the most interesting anti-aging secret that dental hygienists will enjoy hearing at the seminar?

Jones: By far, the reduction of inflammation! Inflammation is at the very root of today’s most prevalent diseases and is the strongest precursor to aging. There are a number of inflammation-reducing strategies that we will explore—simple solutions and time-saving strategies that work in the busy life of a dental hygienist. Surveys continually point to time being the biggest obstacle in the life of today’s professional woman.

RDH:You state that the audience will be encouraged to self-evaluate their personal and professional lives. If someone is intimidated by this challenge, how do you suggest getting around that obstacle? 

Jones: The reflection is an aspect of my presentation and is for self-evaluation purposes only. There are days that literally knock the wind out of us and others that I like to refer to as buy-back days—those simple moments that we stop, breathe, and live in the moment. We need to seek out these moments in each day.

The purpose of self-evaluation is to determine if we are, in fact, experiencing a number of symptoms related to burnout. Knowledge and acceptance is the first step to regaining control and living a healthier, more stress-free life.

Earlier this year, I found myself in a situation with my husband where we were informed we had 15 minutes to live. We were ushered into an area of safety. In those few short moments, we communicated with all our children and held one another close.

The life lesson, after obviously surviving, was to evaluate our life. Were there situations that needed to be resolved, words that needed to be said, an overlooked opportunity to make a positive impact—what would our lives say about us if, in fact, they were lost that day? And last, but not least, human nature is such that we often compare our successes to those around us.

One of the life lessons I wish to share is that the race is against yourself. Setting goals to achieve our own personal best is so much more rewarding than continually trying to measure up to everyone around us. What works for us and brings us gratification and peace in life may be completely different than for our colleagues.

RDH: You also believe that these healthy strategies can be shared with patients too. Will you be sharing ideas on how to broach these subjects with patients? If so, what is a key factor that dental hygienists need to keep in mind?

Jones: There is always a translation of knowledge into clinical practice when we view our patient from a holistic approach. As a profession, we keenly understand that the oral cavity is not separated from the body; however, do we treat our patients this way? When we evaluate our treatment protocols, are we following current guidelines on treating inflammation? Do we understand the need to reduce inflammation in the oral cavity, so we do not inadvertently place our patient at heightened risk for systemic disease?

One of the key elements we will explore is helping our patients minimize inflammation not only orally but also systemically. As a dental hygienist, we have a continual ability to influence the quality of life of every patient we come in contact with. What a privilege! Let’s exercise it.

RDH: You are, of course, a Canadian. You’re a part of a group of our friends from the north who come to RDH Under One Roof every year, or at least very often. From your perspective, why is RDH Under One Roof so appealing to dental hygienists who arrive at the meeting from so many different places?

Jones: I can’t say enough about the value of RDH Under One Roof. This is evidenced by the number of dental hygienists who continue to come back every year. They know they will never be disappointed. The focus of the meeting encompasses all facets of a day in the life of a dental hygienist—from the clinical evidence-based science to facilitate change and growth in our practice to sustaining balance and longevity in our careers and personal lives. The cornerstone of valuable education is knowledge translation and ability to integrate new information into practice. RDH Under One Roof continues to strive for and surpass this mandate.

Passion and enthusiasm for our given profession is fueled by the commitment to lifelong learning. Every RDH who attends RDH Under One Roof leaves feeling enriched, empowered, and excited about their future. I have never left RDH Under One Roof without being inspired and possessing a renewed sense of energy. Don’t take my word for it, come see for yourself!