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Playing nice in the “sand box”

April 1, 2018
Amber Auger, RDH, describes the impact of RDH Under One Roof on her dental hygiene career.
How RDH Under One Roof supports our parents’ lesson

By Amber Auger, RDH, MPH

The playground’s sandbox is a scary place for children. The sandbox is where children cultivate friendships, learn to love, trust, and depend on one another. We learn that If a child abuses the privilege of playing in the sandbox, they are removed from it to ensure the space is not tainted. Social media, has become our new “sandbox,” which should be considered a privilege to collaborate with one another.

RDH Under One Roof offers a healthy sandbox environment that promotes multigenerational collaboration.

As a millennial with an old soul, I have witnessed and experienced the effects of the negative millennial stigma society has created. The millennial generation carries an extremely negative connotation. Most people believe that millennials are lazy, impatient, and demanding. The truth is that millennials are the future. Understanding their differences will allow us to more effectively collaborate with one another. This collaboration will help expand the roles of the dental hygienists in the future.

Millennials thrive on problem solving and work to find better ways to achieve a task. If a better outcome can be achieved through with less effort, they seek that route. This does not necessarily mean they are lazy; the generation thrives on efficiency. On average, millennials spend 16 years in education being punctual, structured, organized, and reliable. Despite this long-term investment in their future, millennials continue to be accused of not working harder. Most millennials have more education than coworkers, and more responsibility with lower compensation.

I agree that some millennials expect handouts. However, it is important to understand that a few members of the generation should not form the basis of the entire age group. Understanding generational differences is essential to achieving a healthy work environment. The future of every organization depends on its ability to cultivate an effective collaborative environment. Through working together, we can prevent past mistakes, optimize current technologies, and have a greater impact.

The UOR Sandbox

I found my career sand box when I first attended RDH Under One Roof (UOR). The conference changed the way I viewed the field of dental hygiene. Each interaction left me feeling inspired, exposed me to alterative career options, and provided the mentorship that was needed to change my career. The dental hygienists at the conference are self-starters, changing legislation, pioneers in the industry, and most of all completely open to mentor.

In fact, I met a dear friend and mentor, Edie Gibson at the first show I attended. She introduced me to her contacts in the business, led me to the resources to obtain the skills needed to become a speaker, and transformed my career. Through these interactions and network, my career has transformed into one I love.

UOR was designed for the dental hygienist who is investing in furthering their career on their own. Courses are affordable. The presenters are highly educated and engaging. The hygienists who attend make the greatest impact in the profession. The environment is unlike one that I have ever been in because it is full of women lifting others up. Attending UOR each year has been the best way to reignite my passion for dental hygiene.

As a profession, we rise together. Therefore, verbally abusing someone in person or on social media only prevents all of us from thriving. Creating a negative preconception of someone due to the year they are born disservices what our profession can achieve. Embracing differences is what our nation has been built on. So let’s turn back to the lesson our parents taught us about playing nice in the (social) sandbox!

Amber Auger, RDH, MPH, is a hygienist with experience in multiple clinical settings, including facilities abroad. Amber obtained a master’s degree in public health from the University of New England and a bachelor’s in dental hygiene from the University of New Haven. She holds a part-time position at an elite dental office in Boston. Amber Auger is a key opinion leader for several dental companies, speaker and published author, and can be contacted at amberaugerrdh.com.