Philips Sonicare, RDH magazine launch new award
To honor many of the inspired daily services that dental hygienists provide their communities, Philips Sonicare and RDH magazine will host a yearly event called the Heart to Hands Award. The 2017 celebration of the award will occur on June 17 during the American Dental Hygienists' Association annual session in Jacksonville, Fla.
"The purpose of this award is to celebrate the passionate hearts of dental hygienists and the services provided through their caring hands," said Gail Stoops, senior manager of professional relations for Philips Sonicare. "This unique award will recognize three categories of dental hygiene brilliance-direct patient care, community involvement, and dental hygiene education-as shared through individual stories by video."
Applications for this award will be accepted in the form of 60 seconds-or-less videos submitted through RDHmag.com (the website for RDH magazine). The deadline for the 2017 Heart to Hands Award is April 7. Dental hygienists in the United States and Canada are encouraged to post their personal videos during February and March at rdhmag.com/heart-to-hands, and to check out the submissions and vote at the Facebook page for RDH magazine. Judging will be initiated after the April 7 deadline.
The three award-winning dental hygienists will receive an expenses-paid trip to the ADHA conference, and will be featured in RDH magazine. In addition, Philips will extend gifts to the recipients, and they will receive free tuition to the 2017 RDH Under One Roof conference in Chicago.
Stories of compassion in hygiene are abundant, and they are one of the themes of RDH's Under One Roof conference. In a survey sent out to attendees at the 2016 RDH Under One Roof, hygienists were asked, "Who has been an interesting patient for you to treat?" The responses from the attendees reflected a wide range of examples of how dental hygienists provide care in their home communities.
The examples below from RDH Under One Roof attendees are not entries in the Heart to Hands Award. They are shared with RDH readers to reinforce how dynamic dental hygienists are in providing care.
• A South Carolina dental hygienist wrote, "When I was a new hygienist, I had a lovely elderly lady with severe Alzheimer's that I had the pleasure of treating. At the time, my own grandma was suffering with the same disease, and I was unable to see her on a regular basis. It was very hard for this patient's family to take care of her hygiene at home. They would bring her to see me once a month for me to clean her teeth. I loved hearing her stories. I learned a lot from her. I learned how to think outside of the box with my suggestions to her family for her hygiene needs that would be effective and tolerable for her."
• A Colorado hygienist wrote, "One patient that stands out presented with some lesions on his tongue. They were not painful, and the patient had no idea they were there. Because they were bilateral and very unusual, we referred to an oral surgeon. The lesions were not an oral issue, but an indicator of HIV. The patient had been with his partner for 20 years. They had no idea. This patient was able to get on the correct protocol, and is now healthy. The patient was very thankful that his oral health visit took into account his whole body health."
• A New Jersey hygienist wrote, "I have a patient who was so fearful that, at his first appointment, he only made it to the waiting room, where my employer sat with him and did a consultation. Future appointments were accomplished with baby steps, including full mouth debridement and root planing. Now 15 years later, he walks in smiling every three months. His mouth is spotless every time I see him, and he always thanks me for helping him to get to this level of comfort."
• An Oklahoma dental hygienist wrote, "People want to be heard, and I have found that the more I listen, the more I accomplish with them. A woman in her 60s had an extreme fear of dentists. I knew by the second appointment that it wasn't anything I was doing to her that caused that fear, but it tore me up to see it. We paused for a moment to catch our collective breath. We got on the subject of her husband who had passed away. He was military. While she was gathering her emotions, I think I mentioned my dad who was also in the military back in the day and that he lived in Destin, Fla. She lit up and gasped, "I love that area. Some of my fondest memories with my husband early on were strolling that beach." I found her happy place! We started the appointment again and I was telling her stories about what Destin was like at that time. She loved it. Next time I saw her, I brought her sand from Destin, and every time she came in after that, it was story time. I literally told her stories about that area while I was cleaning her teeth."
• A New York hygienist wrote, "I recently saw a 10-year-old boy with a prognathic lower jaw. Although my office referred him to an orthodontist within the last year, his parents never took him because they wanted to wait until all of his deciduous teeth had fallen out. At his recent appointment, I noticed that his malocclusion had gotten worse. So I took my examination a step further and looked at his hard and soft palate, position of his tongue when swallowing, tonsillar area, nostrils, etc. I spent 15 minutes with his father explaining why it was important to get his son to an orthodontist sooner rather than later. After our conversation, the patient's father made an appointment with the orthodontist before he even left our office."
• A New Jersey dental hygienist wrote, "One of my favorite stories involves a young girl who came to our office when she was five. She sat in the chair, looked at me, and screamed. I calmly sat with her. After a minute or so, I told her that what we were going to do was to reschedule her appointment until after Christmas when she would be older and more ready. She screamed through the entire conversation. Her mom was mortified. I was calm and soft-spoken. Her mom called us back right after the new year started and said that Lauren looked at her on December 26th and told her that it was time to reschedule her dental appointment since she was older now. It's been smooth sailing since then, about 15 years of care."
• Another New Jersey dental hygienist wrote, "My most memorable patient was a man in his 60s who presented to our office. The patient had an abscess on the right side of his face, oozing pus as large as a tennis ball. In addition, he looked homeless with messy clothes, long dirty hair, and a foul odor. The doctor took an x-ray and tried draining the area; the patient requested a prophylaxis and I happened to have an opening. A few of my colleagues felt uncomfortable due to his unpleasant odor, but I on the other hand was too intrigued by the case to notice the patient's personal hygiene. I started with reviewing his medical history. Everything was fine, no concerns, past smoker, a full set of x-rays, and for my hygiene assessment I recommended scale and root plane appointments and reviewed proper hygiene. He wouldn't smile because of all the nicotine stain on his teeth. Oddly enough, that was his main concern rather than the abscess. The patient complied with all needed treatment. When the patient came in for his last hygiene appointment, I did not recognize him. He had cut his hair, shaved, and was wearing clean clothes." RDH