Practicing as a dental hygienist demands physical stamina and we know that regularly stretching our muscles can help avoid the physiological aches and pains that come with the job. We as dental hygienists must also have the ability to regularly stretch our comfort zones. That’s the kind of stretching that will eventually help to alleviate the psychological strains we inevitably encounter in our careers. Moving beyond our comfort zones enables us to see what our capabilities are, to better establish successful partnerships with doctors, propel the future of dental hygiene forward while securing our own place within the field, and ultimately makes us better at what we do.
Like most hygienists I am concerned about job market saturation. I would find myself feeling twinges of resentment when I heard candidates planning to attend hygiene school or just entering the market. They were excited about their goals and reaching graduation – maybe I was a little jealous of the years and new opportunities available to them. Then I realized my years of experience may have something to offer these newer hygienists that could help them to create more fulfilling and prosperous careers. Adapting outside the limiting parameters of my own comfort zone gave me a new perspective on my past, present, and future role in dental hygiene and helped to renew my sense of purpose in the profession I have loved.