The following information is gathered from the best sources available: hygienist students who have gone before you. Take what you like and use it to your best advantage. In time, you’ll be adding your own observations to this list.

  1. Know that you are providing a valuable service to your community by making a difference in the lives of others when their overall health improves.
  1. Your fellow students present an excellent resource for you as you move forward in your studies and career because they will understand your questions and concerns from your perspective. Staying in touch following graduation will provide you with a network of colleagues to call on.
  1. Study hard to be the best you can be. Aim for “rock star” quality in your work and your future patients and employer will value your efforts.
  1. Enjoy every aspect of being a student now. You’re working very hard to be a success in your new career; try working just as hard at relaxing when time permits. Pace yourself – it’s not a competition.
  1. The program might seem daunting at first but the time will go quickly. The smaller class sizes at a private college like Aplus Dental Hygienist Institute enable a special camaraderie and a spirit of “we’re all in this together.” The study groups and partnerships you can form will be amazing in their effectiveness.
  1. Reach out to hygienists in your community, whether that’s in dental offices or in public health. The more you grow your network of colleagues, the more you’ll grow as a professional. Between semesters, why not volunteer in a dental office? You won’t be performing hygienist work but you can help them with more mundane tasks, get a feel for the “action” in a busy dental office and set yourself up with a prospective future employer.
  1. Keep your own physical health in mind. Hours spent scaling in the clinic, with your back slightly bent and arms in an elevated position can cause musculoskeletal problems. To keep you “fit for life” as a career dental hygienist, implement correct exercise and stretching procedures as soon as you learn about them in school. If need be, consult with professionals such as physical therapists or pamper yourself a bit by getting a massage on occasion. Don’t wait for incorrect posture and stance to turn into a career-ending injury.
  1. You will always have patients who are unwilling to take your advice. This isn’t a reflection on you as you are doing your job to the best of your ability and, you’ll notice, these same patients will keep coming back anyway because they’ll continue to have problems. Eventually, they’ll see the light. In the meantime, don’t take their stresses home with you.
  1. Board exams can make anyone nervous but don’t freak out over them. Trust that instructors have done all they can to prepare you for these important tests and that you have upheld your responsibility to them, and more importantly, to yourself and your future patients, by being the best you can be.
  1. Few of us can perform to perfection 100 per cent of the time. Use the feedback you receive from instructors, not just as a measurement of your performance but as a way to move forward. Constructive criticism is NEVER a put-down; it’s a learning tool. Remember, Aplus Institute is just as vested in your future success as you are!

Early days in your new career may seem daunting but here’s a great quote from a practising registered dental hygienist to keep in mind: “Remember, you know what you are doing – otherwise, you’d be in the other chair.”