By JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, PhD
I had the opportunity to provide a continuing education course for a local dental hygiene study club in New Jersey and was overjoyed at the chance to listen to them as they engaged in conversations with me about evidence-based topics. It was a great evening with an exchange of ideas. I am not sure these women realized how inspiring they were.
In addition, I was trolling through the calendar for July and discovered that July 15th is Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day, and that made me think of the dental hygiene colleagues I met at that study club, as well as you, the readers of RDH Magazine. How many times do we talk about our day at work, how busy we are, and how much we have to do? I see the dental hygiene listservs and Facebook pages where our colleagues lament about the issues we face every day and communicate our wish lists for making things better for our patients and, frankly, ourselves.
So I want you to use July 15th to take away the moments of negativity in your dental hygiene world. Why? Because you need to realize that others see you as a very special person. I know I do. I am so impressed with who you are and what you do, and that is not lip service. I have a true appreciation for your dedication and devotion to improving the health of your patients. When you come to continuing education courses, you are there with a desire to learn, but that interest is to make the practice in which you work better. You are champions for your patients and that practice. And, I agree with you that that side of you is not as recognized as often as it should be.
On July 15th, set aside the busyness of the day and know that every patient you encounter will see something special in you, even if they don’t say something to show how much they value your efforts to prevent oral disease. Know that you performed to the best of your ability for the practice, for your family, and your friends. There was nothing else you needed to do better, smarter, harder, or more perfectly.
Have you noticed that sometimes we hygienists have unusually high expectations for ourselves? We set the bar quite high, and we are often disappointed in what we and others in our lives achieve.
We need a day like July 15th to take the pressure off, refresh ourselves, and reset our minds. Step back, take a look at the person you are, and find the joy in discovering that you are remarkable. When was the last time you realized that you were important to so many?
I want you to use this day to take stock of yourself. Rather than the could-have and should-have moments, enjoy the sensational and spectacular moments. Think of all those patients who would not be the same without you, whose lives you touched and made better. Think of the community you have served.
I know when I was watching each person walk into that meeting room for the continuing education course, they were greeted with warmth and admiration. They were cherished. Think about that, too. When was the last time you allowed yourself to reflect on the fact that you are admired, respected, and cherished? Today is that day. Revel in those feelings. And, if this is not working for you, July 25th is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day. Go splurge! Happy summer! RDH
JOANN R. GURENLIAN, RDH, PhD, is president of Gurenlian & Associates, and provides consulting services and continuing education programs to health-care providers. She is a professor and dental hygiene graduate program director at Idaho State University, and past president of the International Federation of Dental Hygienists.