Jianna Shoopman - inspiring narratives from aspiring med pros

Submitted 2022-02-14

As a current dental assistant who is striving towards a degree in dental hygiene to become a dental hygienist, I will prepare mentally by going through each patient scheduled for the day and understanding what needs to be done for each patient. I understand each patient that walks into a dental office will have come from different backgrounds and cultures and that some people do not have proper oral health. I will mentally prepare myself for patients by looking beforehand who is coming in and if we have previous records on them, by looking through them before their appointment. I believe it is important to be prepared for who is to come into the dental office by looking into records so that I am not surprised or troubled when a patient comes in who happens to have bad oral health.

I will prepare mentally before performing life-saving techniques on patients by addressing patients’ medical history and understanding their health when they are in the dental chair. I believe it is an important step before working with them because I would understand why they are reacting the way they are if they have a poor reaction when I am cleaning their teeth. Having a proper understanding of who the patient is by viewing their medical history and adding to it since their last visit is important because every patient is different from the previous one. In doing this, I will know and understand why certain patients react differently to the same treatment versus how they react similarly to the same treatment. For example, if someone has a bad gag reflex, the dental hygienist should know this to avoid certain areas of the mouth to prevent any gagging on the patients’ behalf. The dental hygienist should be alert and aware of certain things to avoid when doing their job to prevent any situations where the patient is in danger.

I will prepare physically before working on a patient by preparing for the worst to come. If a patient happens to have a bad reaction to any numbing medicine to prepare for a deeper cleaning, I would physically prepare for that by having a first aid kit nearby that I know where to find if need be, and by having a blood pressure cuff nearby, as well. Not only these things, but I will perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation if the patient requires it and I will alert the doctor as quickly as possible. Being physically active will prepare me before performing life-saving techniques on patients because if a patient needs more help than just cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the quicker it is to get a doctor, the better it is for the patient. I believe that being physically prepared means that I am also actively alert and aware of how patients are acting just in case they need any medical assistance while I am cleaning their teeth.

Any dental hygienist needs to be mentally and physically prepared for the worst to happen because, in a dental setting, the dental hygienist is the one who takes care of the patient for most of their appointment when they come in for a cleaning. For example, if a dental hygienist is in the process of cleaning a patients’ teeth, and for some reason, the patient starts gagging uncontrollably, the dental hygienist should know what to do by sitting them upright and if they need, give the patient cardiopulmonary resuscitation. If the dental hygienist does not know what to do if a patient starts gagging or coughing uncontrollably, they should not be in their job position because it is important to help others as much as possible in the dental field.

In the healthcare field, everyone who has a career in the field, should know and understand how to handle certain patients and if any situations arise, they should know how to handle them. Not only is it important to know how to handle patients and help their needs, but it is important to also be calm with them as to prevent any further issues and to help calm the patient if the patient is anxious, especially in the dental chair. As everyone knows, the dental chair is one of the least liked chairs and a lot of people are scared of going to the dentist. As a dental hygienist, it is important to be mentally and physically prepared, alert, and aware of the patients they are caring for to help the patient feel as comfortable and happy as possible.