December 2020 Social Commentary
Like Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s Facebook page to share your thoughts on posted questions.
DO YOU HAVE A PROFESSIONAL MENTOR? IF SO, HOW HAS HE OR SHE SUPPORTED YOU?
Lil Caperila, RDH, BSDH, MEd Dimensions Corporate Council Member
I have had two strong leaders in my professional career beginning with my dental hygiene instructors and advisors. Phyllis Dickert, RDH, MS, and Kathleen Silko Miller, RDH, MS, are still lifelong friends and former faculty instructors during my education at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Later in my quest for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, MS, PhD, AFAAOM, provided me with direction, confidence, and ongoing support in my growth as a teacher and organizational leader. These three fine women are still in my life as friends, confidents, and colleagues.
I feel we need to have mentors. My two mentors have been there to help me with hard decisions and bolster my confidence. I also think the mentee needs to bring something to the relationship.
Dalia Lai, RDH, BS Dimensions Brand Ambassador
Mentorship in this profession is so important because it keeps you grounded in best practices and connected to the legacy of continuous improvement through education. Mentorship transforms hygiene from a 9-to-5 job to a lifelong career!
Laura Kasayuli, RDH, dental prevention coordinator and dental infection control coordinator at Swinomish Native American Dental Center in LaConner, Washington, has been a mentor for me. She helped me out so much when I first moved from Florida to Washington as an unlicensed dental hygiene graduate. Over the past 10 years, she’s always there with a smile, help, and advice.
Melissa Vetter, RDH, BA Dimensions Facebook Commenter
One of my mentors, Nancy Cline, RDH, MPH, encourages me to challenge myself and step into leadership roles within our professional organization. I don’t think I would have stepped out of my comfort zone on my own, but the constant encouragement and guidance have enriched my professional development more than I could ever have imagined. Another mentor, Michelle Landrum, RDH, MEd, keeps me thinking about the next big problem to solve. Her work in public health has been so amazing that I want to use the inspiration she gives me and turn it into a tangible solution to help our underserved communities. My most recent mentor, Anne Guignon, RDH, MPH, CSP, has supported me by continually telling me I have something to offer. Her quick wit and knack for new research topics push me to think creatively, which not only benefits my career but undoubtedly benefits my patients too. I am so fortunate that these relationships evolved so organically. However, being part of my American Dental Hygienists’ Association constituent is really the only way to connect, network, and build these relationships. As a mentee, it just takes a desire to be better. As a mentor, it just takes a desire to empower and lift up others. I truly see mentorship as a chain that grows longer and stronger with every new dental hygiene graduate. As a new dental hygiene educator, I hope I can challenge and inspire other dental hygienists because it is not only rewarding for the mentee and mentor, but also for the communities they serve!
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. December 2020;18(11):14-15.