Your Opinion, Not Mine

Aug. 1, 2008
I don't have an opinion this month. Instead, I'm just listening intently to Margaret's opinions as she scours eBay while searching for her bargains.

by Mark Hartley

I don't have an opinion this month. Instead, I'm just listening intently to Margaret's opinions as she scours eBay while searching for her bargains.

"You'd think everything was just rosy with the economy. Look at this! The high bid for this stupid figurine is $500. $500! They say they can't afford gas. Hah!"

The only opinion I'm allowed if I want to eat again is a sympathetic tsk-tsk.

Privately, I don't care how people spend money on online shopping.

All of my opinions are private this month.

I thought we would talk about your opinion, not mine.

PennWell (publisher of RDH) has been asking dental professionals a variety of questions — primarily through surveys in e-mails or on the Internet.

The answers come through here pretty fast, so I've learned to duck. It is my private opinion that not all of these tidbits of information get published, or some fall through the cracks.

Some of the interesting ones are:

Of 620 hygienists participating in an RDH eVillage survey, 36% said they "feel there is discrimination" toward older hygienists; 31% said there is discrimination toward male hygienists. (responses collected on January 25)

An RDH eVillage survey asked if dental hygiene salaries were affected by the practice's location. 51% of 432 respondents said urban/rural locations "greatly influence" salaries. 23% said salaries were influenced by a "glut of dental hygienists in ... popular places or near dental hygiene schools." Only 14% indicated that practice location has no influence on salaries. (responses collected on June 27)

The same survey above also asked if the news about the economy affected dental hygienists' retirement plans. 53% said they were very worried "about retiring when I am ready to walk away from dental hygiene." An additional 40% said they would be worried if they were retiring in the "near future" but anticipated that the economy would recover by the time they are ready to retire. (responses collected on June 27)

289 dental assistants were asked if pay should be based on experience or "on work performed, regardless of experience." Echoing the thousands of dental hygienists who feel the same way, 58% said pay should be based on experience. (responses collected on April 28)

50% of 945 dental hygienists access the Internet for less than one hour for professional reasons each week. 93% access the Internet for personal reasons for more than one hour each week. (responses collected January 10)

47% of 945 dental hygienists said they "frequently" or "sometimes" complete a seminar online for relicensure requirements. Only 13% encountered problems with state dental boards over online CEUs. (responses collected January 10)

56% of 309 dentists and hygienists own magnification loupes — 22% own a portable headlight. (responses collected April 16)

At an RDH Event (an online dental conference), 289 dental hygienists reviewed a list of fictional headlines. They were asked which related article they would read first. For example, 20% would first read the article associated with the headline, "Local job market, salaries boom for dental professionals." Another example would be the 19% who would read the article under "Dentist sued by former employees for workplace violations." Of less interest were "Toothpaste manufacturer announces new fluoride formulation" (14%) and "Company announces price reduction for its dental products" (3%). But the winner was the 43% interested in "Periodontal disease linked to bladder control."

I'm starting to develop an opinion about that last one.

Mark Hartley
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