Each month, the RDH PIRA (Patient Impact & Rise Above) recognition program, sponsored by Water Pik, Inc., features a dental hygiene clinician who goes the extra mile in their job to change their patients’ lives, influence their patients’ health, and make a daily difference. This month we honor public health hygienist Anallely Bailey, RDH.
In two short years since graduation from hygiene school, Ana Bailey has worked in private practices, corporations, temp work, and finally, public health. As a military spouse, she also had to relocate from her home state of Georgia to Virginia right after graduation. Ana chose to try out different work environments “to get exposure to all the good and bad of my field.” For the past 15 months, Ana has worked for a nonprofit organization, where she has found “true love for my profession.”
Read about more PIRA honorees
As a bilingual hygienist, Ana has the opportunity to facilitate oral hygiene education for her Spanish-speaking patients. She created oral hygiene education videos for her patients in English and Spanish. These are especially helpful for those patients who lack the ability to read. Not only do these videos provide oral education in a way that the viewers can easily understand, but they also introduce patients to Ana herself.
“When patients see a familiar face when they come into the clinic, it gives them a sense of calm. This is especially true for those patients who have never been in a dental chair before or those with extreme anxiety or fear due to previous bad experiences,” she says.
About 85% of the nonprofit clinic’s patient population has moderate to severe periodontal disease. Ana enjoys seeing her scaling and root planing patients return for perio maintenance with improved oral hygiene and gums that don’t bleed. Seeing her patients happy makes Ana happy. “I have patients telling me over and over again how thankful they are because their gums don’t bleed anymore. When I see positive changes in my patients’ lives, this brings happiness to my life.”
Ana appreciates the opportunity to educate and guide her patients, and in turn she says she learns so much from her patients, colleagues, and community. “I’m most proud of my ability to connect and build relationships with my patients no matter their native languages. My patients give me the reason to go to work every day.”
Editor's note: This article appeared in the July 2023 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.