By Dr. Susan Ziebarth
September brings with it such amazing excitement back to school, lots of sales in stores, all kinds of fun and new exciting classes that people can enroll in, and for many of this is a punctuation mark for the close of summer with its more free-form style of life. One of my September projects is conducting interviews with high achieving women for a book I am writing. I have found the stories that each of these women has shared absolutely incredible. The highs and the lows, the challenges, and the rewards each has experienced is worthy of a book in itself.
One thread I am seeing through the course of these interviews is that there is often a time in people’s lives where they look back and wonder how they made it through that particular time in their life. It is often a place where so many factors are impacting on the individual and family from external sources. They noted that the daily routine they experienced just to make it through one day to the next was tough even though they thought they were living the life they wanted. It was not until something major happened that rocked their world did they realize that their life had been running like a perpetual motion machine. I have found that September marks a time when routine external demands literally restructure peoples’ lives and they cope by building a perpetual motion machine.
The demands of the workplace are greater as the more relaxed summer is behind us, days are getting shorter, and school and recreational schedules are so complex that it takes weeks to sort out who has to be where when and how they are going to get there. This list doesn’t even cover all the associated stress with back to school shopping, homework, and social dramas. Piece by piece many people construct a perpetual motion machine with lots of tubes, chutes, curves, and spirals so that they can navigate their daily life. Perpetual motion machines make the day-to-day easier in the short run as routines are established but over time we should be looking to see whether they are helping us or hindering us. Are we existing or are we thriving?
Often times we build these perpetual motion machines to make it easier for us to do everything for everyone…except ourselves! We feel guilty if we place our priorities first. We prioritize our needs so low that they become the first to go when time doesn’t permit. If you are in the process of building your fall perpetual motion machine, take a 30 minute break to just sit and think about what you are building. Bring your thoughts about yourself as a parent, spouse, employee, or business owner all out in the open and make sure that somewhere in there you are making room for yourself.
Here are 3 Tips to Build a Better Perpetual Motion Machine.
- Make your choices conscious ones.
- For everything you think of that you hear yourself say “I have to do that” - ask yourself “Who says I have to do it?” If the answer is that it is you that is telling yourself “you have to” take a moment to figure out if you are doing it because it needs to be done, you’d like it to be done, or if you are trying to be an invincible super hero?
- Do you hear any shoulds in there? Shoulds usually are things we don’t want to do. Do you REALLY need to do whatever that should represents? Can you enlist help to get it done?
- Make sure your voice is heard.
- Do not place your priorities last. You are an equal partner in your universe don’t take a supporting role.
- Follow-through with what you have used your voice to say.
- Sometimes people say they want to do something for themselves but it takes some effort to protect that something. Sometimes in the moment it is easier to give in and not do your thing. “But Mom, I have to wait 15 minutes at the end of my soccer practice for you to come and get me when you go to your Zumba class and I have lots of homework to do.” Sound familiar? Stand firm or you will forfeit your choices and lose your voice.
Use these tips so you don’t get to a point where you have to tell someone someday that you don’t know how you made it through this time in your life.
Have you built your share of perpetual motion machines? Tell us below in the comments how that worked or is working for you.
By Dr. Susan Ziebarth
Ah, mid-February and the ground is covered with snow (or at least it supposed to be) and you are sitting by the fireplace trying to remember just what were those New Year’s resolutions I made in January. For some remembering is not a problem because they set the same goals/resolutions every year. For others, the goals/resolutions are easily forgotten because by January 2nd you have already done something that goes against the goal and you might feel, “well maybe next year”.
Goals are a major part of most professionals’ lives. So why is it that some goals can be met and some just do not seem to ever be attainable? Could it be we are missing the mark on goals by setting goals that are not fully under our control to reach?
For the sake of discussion, let’s list a few hypothetical goals:
- Have my client Natasha start flossing.
- Participate in one continuing education program a month from September to June.
- Lose 15 pounds.
- Have my house as clutter free as my operatory.
Would you say these are potentially all good goals? The voices in my head that represent you my dear reader are saying “yes – those might not be my goals but they are reasonable”. Those same voices in my head would be wrong because three of those four stated goals are results not goals. Some of you may now be thinking I should get those voices in my head checked into.
For us to set goals, we form the idea in our mind from a mixture of intellectual desires and felt emotions. We then take action and get a result.
- Idea and Feeling
But of those four stated goal examples above, only one is really within our span of control. For Natasha to start flossing she has to take action – are you going to floss her teeth every time for her? To lose 15 pounds you can exercise and count your calories but other factors in your metabolism, emotions, environment can have an effect on your ability to lose weight and thwart your ability to reach losing 15 pounds. Having your house as clutter free as your operatory may be a goal and reachable by you if you live alone. But if you have children or a clutter attracting room-mate or spouse reaching that goal is not totally within your control. All of these things are results that you may or may not achieve as they are outside of your span of control.
Participating in one continuing education program a month from September to June is within your control as the decision and action are within your control (Shameless promotion - DHPro does offer continuing education programs in each of these months for an amazing membership fee of only $35.00 and you can access our full library of courses for replay whenever you like).
Look back at some of your goals that are frustrating you because you have not been able to achieve the results you desire. Are you really not good at meeting your goals or are they not your goals but desired results? The goal should be the action to achieve the desired result. My goals is to, “do this and this” to reach my desired result.
This kind of thinking is very different than the goal setting treatment plans. How does this approach to thinking of your goals make you feel?
By Dr. Susan Ziebarth
No matter what your belief system and how you honor the season, there is something universal we all share - a feeling of gratitude! This holiday season I am very grateful for living in an Ontario city where the health care system and its care providers were able to diagnose and begin treatment for breast cancer in what I perceive to be a record breaking short time. I am so very grateful for the incredible support of family, dear friends, and colleagues. Through this experience, I have had many kind and caring people urging me not to worry about the outcome.
The wonderful thing I experienced was a lack of worry. For a seasoned worrier, this is an odd experience. And, for an inquisitive researcher this experience set me in motion to focus my reading on worrying.
For those worriers out there – whether your worries focus on health, money, children, work, or any other of life’s wonderful adventures – one of the best and most practical resources I found is available to you online for free. While Dale Carnegie is famous for public speaking expertise, his research on worry has proven the test of time. The basic principles are outlined on the site and in a free e-book which is available if you provide your email address.
His writing in the purchased version of the book shows the reader how worrying negatively impacts our health and he shares many stories of how the basic principles have been used by many people to overcome debilitating worry. Most public libraries carry Carnegie’s books. While the basic principles are available free, I am not sure I would have really understood how people used them if I had not read the stories in the book. The stories also help put your personal concerns into a bigger picture.
Another way to end the year on a high note is to focus on what you are thankful for. Sometimes we tend to focus on the bumps and challenges in our path and not on the wonders of our lives. This is a natural reaction for people. Think about a toothache. When our teeth are not hurting, we take them for granted but when a particular tooth begins to attract our attention, we suddenly realize how big that tooth can seem in relation to the rest of our body.
As the year winds down, why not give yourself a gratitude assignment to help attract more of those things for which you are thankful. Make a list of things you felt and lived through this year for which you are grateful. Note your accomplishments, every joy, every wonderful person who has graced you with their involvement in your life, every appreciation of beauty, to name just a few. Write them down and put stars next to the things you want to continue to draw into your life in 2012.
I am grateful to the wonderful members of DHPro for your trust in us, participation in our webinars, our fun times such as our iPad giveaway, being friends on our Facebook page, and for writing blog posts and adding your comments to them. We look forward to sharing an exciting 2012 with you. Please leave a comment below with a note of something in your life that you were grateful for this past year and if you are grateful for what we share with you, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and tell your friends about us.
May you enjoy peace, joy, and health!
This year I was able to experience an American Thanksgiving complete with turkey and Black Friday Day sales. I am not a big shopper and I am definitely not a crowd person so I was happy to hear the sale tales from my nephew.
The picture that accompanies this post is from my nephew’s experience. The sale tales started me thinking about the phenomenon that would see people lined up for hours and in some cases tenting in line to obtain a few significantly reduced prize possessions.
Marketers know that to sell something you have to either bring your client pleasure or eliminate their pain. In the case of Black Friday, the stores have a few items so drastically reduced that the clients have the pain of high prices reduced and the pleasure of things such as HD TVs to bring happiness. So how can we learn from the Black Friday experience to help with social marketing and health seeking behaviours?
Many clients will seek pain relief at a dental office when the pain can no longer be ignored. The demand for teeth whitening also speaks to the desire for pleasure with an improved appearance. For health prevention behaviours however, the relationship between the preventative action and the healthy outcome often have too long of a time span between them. Despite the uncomfortable conditions of standing in line at a store the reward of reduced cost and desired purchase is immediate.
Some behaviour change theories suggest the importance of highlighting the risk of unhealthy behaviours and the vulnerability of us as humans to these risks. The idea is to try and convince people that they are in pain and just don’t know it yet. The warnings on cigarette packages are one such attempt at such an approach and work on a segment of society as opposed to an individual approach. Speaking to a specific client about the negative indicators you are seeing in their oral cavity as a result of smoking is more likely to be heard and felt as a risk factor and the client is more apt to make changes as a result.
But how do we move people who have to prioritize their monies and payments to take preventive action and seek the services of a dental hygienist. Culturally people who have insurance are often more accustomed to the routine of attending to oral health care. From your knowledge of health seeking behaviour theories what you think best relates to the Black Friday demand. What elements of pain removal or providing pleasure could be offered to potential clients to have them desire preventive treatments?
By Dr. Susan Ziebarth
Last weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit my family. I had a fantastic conversation with my sister which I am going to extract a little story from. She sat there in front of me beaming ear to ear with her shoulders shrugged up and said “I can have 3 cats”. Our conversation continued about family rules and the underlying belief systems we develop in connection with them. Just over a year ago my sister’s 3 cats adopted she and her husband. At first they struggled with what to do with them when the little kittens arrived on their doorstep. I knew what they would do with them but it took her a while for her to discover that she had a belief system that said “you can’t have 3 cats”. Decades beyond parental rules she discovered the beliefs that she had were no longer serving her.
They made the choice to keep the kittens – now cats – and everyone enjoys them immensely. She made the choice and accepted the responsibility of caring for and loving them. Not nearly as dramatic, my counter to her cat”s belief was the belief that you couldn’t eat the chocolate chips out of the Chippits bag. It didn’t take me as many decades to realize that belief wasn’t serving me as I discovered that I could eat them unrestrained in my 20s…that said I made my choice but have since decided I don’t want the responsibility of how those chocolate chips affect my body. My current belief is that the chips in the quantity I had previously enjoyed don’t serve me well and I have accepted the responsibility of not over-indulging.
Last night DHPro had an amazing speaker on our members’ webinars. Dr. Ginette Lemire Rodger introduced her approach to political action to achieve social change. Dr. Rodger has used this strategy and facilitated others using this strategy in many ways over many years. There is an element in what she does that is key to successful social change – be clear in your beliefs, make the choice to do something about what you believe, and accept the responsibility of the challenge of the work that goes with that choice.
You don’t have to wait for bureaucratic organizations to make your priorities theirs. And you don’t have to feel beaten if they castigate you for yours. Look at the 99% Movement that started on September 17th 2011 as Occupy Wall Street. This movement has grown and is taking place around the world. The movement highlights how an idea from a small group of people who do not have what we perceive as the lion’s share of resources can make a difference. The movement shows just how out of sync the people are with bureaucratic organizations that have their own interests at the forefront.
Yesterday I learned of a dental assistant who was being bullied to sign a contract in one of her workplaces. A dental hygienist who is another of her employers mentored the dental assistant and provided her with a phone number for employment lawyer Melynda Layton* and reminded her that she had a choice. The dental assistant could allow herself to be bullied and live with the responsibility of the accompanying consequences or she could call the lawyer to find out what rights she had and to decide what path she wanted to pursue. The dental assistant did not realize she had a choice to find out her rights or to choose how to respond to the significant pressure being applied to her. Sometimes we can’t see the choices and it is wonderful to have others such as this mentoring dental hygienist to help us see.
You can choose how you respond to people who bully you, hurt you, rewrite history to exclude you or diminish your accomplishments. There are many resources that speak to choice and responsibility**. I am highlighting Joe Vitale’s books The Attractor Factor Second Edition and Zero Limits because they are current and provide numerous examples of how even in the darkest of days you can choose how to look at life’s events. Although many of his examples refer to wealth the lessons reach far beyond. His conversational style is supported by research and he shows how you can enhance your life through your choices and acceptance of responsibility.
Dr. Rodger was a mentor for me. She helped me see my choices when I had a smoldering desire to do my doctorate many years ago. She helped me see what I perceived as barriers were those that I chose to see as barriers. I made my choices, accepted the responsibility of the work that went with my choice and did achieve my dream.
Let’s look at another dental hygienist example. Currently there are approximately 300 dental hygienists in Ontario who have their own clients and many would like to offer x-rays to make a difference for their clients. There are more than 12,000 dental hygienists in Ontario. Is this desire to offer x-rays of import to all of these dental hygienists? Likely not today. Will the issue be a priority for a larger organization? Perhaps somewhere on the list. Will it be at the top? Likely not today. Perhaps for a smaller more focused organization like DHPO *** a specialized group who represent dental hygienist business owners in Ontario it could be at the top of the list. But what if it isn’t and it is important to you? It only takes a handful of people around a kitchen table to create a common goal and establish a strategy if they choose to do it and accept the responsibility.
Are your current beliefs serving you? Are you waiting for others to have the same priorities you do? Do you have a passion? Do you think that you do not have a choice? You have a choice. The real question is - Do you want the responsibility that comes from making that choice?
Wishing you the sight of choices and the ability to accept responsibility.
* Melynda Layton was a webinar speaker for DHPro earlier this year. DHPro members have access to her recorded presentation with CDHO registrar Fran Richardson in our archives.
** I would be happy to provide many more references if you would like – reach me though our contact us page.
*** DHPO’s website is being rebuilt as I write this but the information on the site is still valid.
P.S. This paragraph is an unabashed reminder that DHPro does offer Canadian Dental Hygienists the choice to purchase membership and/or professional liability insurance. CDHBC, CDHO, and CDHM have taken the time to review our Trisura Guarantee policy and confirmed that it meets their requirements for coverage.
By Dr. Susan Ziebarth
We have all heard the Location, Location, Location saying when we talk about what is important in real estate. In managing your professional risk, the phrase is Documentation, Documentation, Documentation. Aside from recording findings in the dental hygiene process of care, why are your records so important? Because in a worst case scenario of a law suit against you, all of your files may be admissible as evidence or subject to discovery (where the opposing lawyer is allowed to see your files) prior to going to trial.
“Going to trial,” you ask. Okay let us back up a bit. Over the past few decades the role and numbers of professionals has expanded. Traditionally Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Architects, and Engineers were held to meet a certain standard of care in the competent performance of their work. Now many other workers, including dental hygienists, have identified that they possess special skills and expertise and are publicly held accountable for meeting standards defined by their regulatory bodies.
Lawsuits against dental hygienists can arise from liability in Contract (if a contract defines the scope of services), in Tort (negligence), and in Statute (standards of care defined by law). Often, the majority of claims settle, rarely going to court – documentation, documentation, documentation!
What are the red flags you should watch for? First, pay attention to both the words and body language of the client. Are they unhappy? If they seem to be then document all work done for the client including all the details regarding the issues they identified and wanted addressed. These notes will assist you in mounting a defence if the client alleges that you did something wrong.
Note the word alleged. A wrongful act is not necessarily something that you did or did not do. A wrongful act is an alleged act, error or omission, misstatement, or misleading statement committed solely by the Insured in the performance of Professional Services for others. In many countries, professional liability insurance or as it is also known as malpractice insurance or errors and omissions insurance is available.
In Canada, DHPro offers an affordable professional liability insurance policy for dental hygienists offered through a Canadian owned specialty insurer – Trisura. Trisura is backed by a select group of international reinsurers with A+ or A ratings. The intent of the policy is to protect dental hygienists in their professional capacity in the event they are sued for something they did or did not do (performed wrong or failure to perform a service).
So what should you do if you receive a notice from a client of their intent to sue? Regardless of the allegations, advise the Insurer and/or your Insurance Broker A.S.A.P. Why? You do not want to get into a situation where you may prejudice yourself by not acting on Notice that is received. By having the Insurer get involved right away, it may dispense some of the hostility directed at you by having a third party involved. The insurer (Trisura) may then:
- “Deny the allegations of the claimant based on the facts once investigated (if it is deemed that they are to be without merit)
- Defend the Dental Hygienist if the claim continues
- Propose a settlement
- Seek Arbitration or Mediation
- Take up the charge to let you focus on business” (Roger Hacala, Vice President, Corporate Risk Trisura DHPro webinar 2011)
We are pleased to tell you that the Colleges of Dental Hygienists in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario have all reviewed our policy and have confirmed that the policy meets their regulatory requirements. DHPro’s membership and information page provides more details on the policy and we also have some Frequently Asked Questions on insurance starting at question 18.
DHPro is pleased to offer Canadian Dental Hygienists a quality, affordable option to manage your professional risk.
by Dr. Susan Ziebarth
In pondering leadership and the current conditions of our world, I am brought face- to-face with the political realities existing within our neighbours the Unites States. The U.S. economy hangs in the balance of un-comprisable ideologies of elected legislatures and U.S. executive branch. John Dickerson in this article http://www.slate.com/id/2299128/?from=rss suggests “In the spirit of reducing waste, fraud and abuse in Washington, I suggest a drastic cut in the number of words used by any leader in Washington calling on any other leader in Washington to show leadership. Instead of endless vague generalities, they should just say: Give me what I want.”
At stake is the financial health of the U.S. economy and as most economists state, the entire global economy. It has become a matter of us versus them and not how can we work together and solve this crisis. The Republican side is afraid of the Tea Party or other ultra conservative groups that would campaign against them in upcoming elections. The democrats equally are concerned with their base that is reliant on Medicare and Social Security. Yet in the end, if the U.S. defaults on their debt and the U.S. and the world go into an economic meltdown, where will these supposed leaders be (or should be)?
Is this leadership rhetoric not what we also see within the oral health community as scopes of practice form territorial boundaries all in the name of the safety of the public without any evidence-based reason to believe the public is at risk? What about the territoriality of professional organizations who seek to retain practices when their resources could be collectively used to better advantage for their members? As someone who has a doctorate in management with a focus on leadership it deeply saddens me when the organizations’ or parties’ survival becomes more important than those of their members and constituents.
To be honest it makes me yearn for leaders like Pierre Elliot Trudeau who say fuddle duddle to all of this territorial pandering (for those unfamiliar with the euphemism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuddle_duddle ) or Harry S. Truman who is perhaps best known for his quote “The buck stops here” but also said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”.
Simple wisdom which has been with us from almost the beginning of time tells us rarely is anyone 100% right and equally so is any one 100% wrong. It is time for our leaders to step back from the edge and lead with their constituents interests at heart not organizational survival.
In 2008 a process began to establish a new base upon which to build entry to practice standards for dental hygienists. Much collaboration and deliberation has occurred over these many years with many dental hygiene stakeholders. The result is that the Entry to Practice Competencies and Standards for Canadian Dental Hygienists has been accepted by the Federation of Dental Hygiene Regulatory Authorities (FDHRA) who have instructed both the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada and the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board to revise their requirements to meet these standards. In recognition of the new standards this series of blog posts addresses issues drawn from the standards. If you have an interest in contributing a blog post to this series please contact us.
Entry to Practice Competencies and Standards for Canadian Dental Hygienists
Standard E9. Protect the environment by responsible use of consumables and disposal of waste products including biohazardous wastes.
Protecting the Environment by Responsible Use of Consumables and Disposal of Waste Products
Never has caring for our environment been more popular than it is now in today’s culture. Reducing wastes, conserving resources and properly following infection control protocols at the same time can require some strategic planning for the dental hygiene and dental office.
Consider getting away from disposable items, which have permanent counterparts that can be sterilized or disinfected. Such as air/water syringe tips, disposable impression trays and dapping dishes. There will always be some items which must be thrown away, but remain aware of which you are using just for convenience sake.
Not only can this save in waste, but it also saves space in the operatories and lab areas. This also means less ordering of products since things are being reused. The overall result is an improvement on the office’s overhead expenses as well as less consumables entering into our landfills.
Another area to monitor is biohazardous waste. Re-examine guidelines for what specifically states biohazardous waste is. For example in my jurisdiction, if something such as gauze is blood-soaked, it needs to go into the biohazardous container. However, if it is simply tainted with blood, it may be disposed of with regular waste. By not filling up your biohazardous waste containers so quickly, your office will be able to have less frequent specialty pickup services.
Traditional radiographic films should have the lead foil in them recycled. This helps protect the lead from saturating into the environment where traditional waste is disposed of. It can be costly as well. An even better option is to consider going ahead and making the leap into digital radiography.
Speaking of technology, some offices are making the transition into going paperless.
In the Theoretical Thursdays Blog it our objective to bring dental hygienists current peer-reviewed articles that you may find of interest. While we cannot post the article we will provide the citation, describe it to you and tell you where on the internet you can find it if it is an open access article, email it to you for personal use if allowed by the publisher, or if a librarian is not available we will help you locate the article. Please contact us with the journal title for assistance.
Amin, M.S. (2010). Utilization of dental services by children in low-income families in Alberta. J Can Dent Assoc; 77:b57
This article is available online at http://www.jcda.ca/uploads/b57/b57.pdf
This article reports the results of a telephone survey questionnaire with 820 randomly chosen client families who have access to the Alberta Child Health Benefit and the Alberta Adult Health Benefit programs to assess utilization. Response rates were high and clients agreed that the programs were beneficial however only 54.8% of the adults and 57.4% of families with children access services. Among the conclusions is the consideration that making people aware of funding is not sufficient for them to access the services.
The article is well written with many tables to easily see the breakdown of data and a thorough discussion.
By Dr. Susan Ziebarth
For most people Wednesday is the middle of the work week and somewhat of a tipping point. To help brighten-up what some people call “hump-day” I have pulled together some fun sites for the non-professional side of dental hygienists. I do not review them in depth nor do I have any affiliate status or stand to gain in anyway if you choose to take a peek. They are provided just for fun. As always feedback and suggestions are welcome.
This is an incredibly helpful article if you are experiencing modern-day breakup yourself or if your kids are. My daughter was upset one day at something someone had done in Facebook after a breakup. I didn’t see as a social faux pas at all. I thought then that I needed a rule book…this article is that rule book.
Ever drive yourself crazy looking for the correct version of a phrase? This is the site for you. Just type in * for the part you can’t remember and poof! Suggestions are provided.
This site offers people the opportunity to wish for something and to draw upon crowdsourcing efforts to reach out across the internet to see if someone can grant a wish. You can sort by type of wish or by geography. You can post your own wishes or grant a wish.