Becoming a dental hygienist is not a simple journey. After college, examinations, and clinical experience, it might feel that you have realized your goal, but the truth is that success is a continuous journey. Complacency or a loss of motivation leads to poor performance and will hinder your chances of advancement. To get the most out of your career, you need to keep pushing. Whether you want to find a new opportunity, move into a new field of dentistry, or simply ensure you are reaching your full potential in your current position, here are three career tips for dental hygienists looking to push their careers to the next level.
- Further your education
Just because you have graduated from college, it does not mean that your education is complete. You should be continuing to invest in your development and gaining new skills throughout your career, particularly if you want to broaden your career or take on a more senior role.
For example, many dental hygienists begin their careers by achieving an Associate Degree and license in Dental Hygiene. It is possible to advance this degree to a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene via an online dental hygiene completion program. Dental hygienists with a bachelor’s degree are often preferred by employers as they have a thorough understanding of more complex topics like managing a team of people, leadership, and healthcare in the community.
2. Work on your soft skills
The primary concern of a dental hygienist is to help patients to maintain their oral health. This obviously means that dental hygienists need to have the extensive clinical knowledge and technical skills, but this is not where their skills end. The most successful dental hygienists also possess soft skills and will prioritize patient care.
Soft skills are the interpersonal skills that you use to make a patient feel at ease, to communicate with clarity, and to sensitively provide advice and guidance. Soft skills like teamwork and conflict management may also be helpful in your interactions with colleagues. They will also come into play when you are organizing your schedule and clinic to ensure you provide an efficient and professional service.
3. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself
While many people are happy to find a secure place of employment with benefits and remain there for the majority of their career, it is not the right path for everyone and may keep you from realizing your full potential. Staying in one place and following the same routine may mean that you become complacent or demotivated in your work. In some situations, it is worth taking a risk by applying for a more senior position or moving to a new clinic. You might be able to use your skills in a different country where dental care is not widely available. Challenge yourself to move outside your comfort zone, and you may just surprise yourself with what you are capable of.
In conclusion, the more you push your career and try to fulfill your professional potential, the more rewarding your career will be and the higher your earning potential becomes.