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Change is the only constant.

CDHA CDHA Capital District Health Authority
CDHA Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
CDHA California Dental Hygienists' Association
CDHA Center for Demography of Health and Aging
CDHA Connecticut Dental Hygienists' Association

The CDHA document, Dental Hygiene dental hygiene
The practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy to prevent disease. Also called oral hygiene.
: Definition, Scope, and Practice Standards identifies one of the key responsibilities of a dental hygienist dental hygienist
A person trained and licensed to provide preventive dental services, such as cleaning the teeth, usually in conjunction with a dentist.
 as that of "assuming the role of change agent."(1) Adopting a leadership role in managing change is further described as being a catalyst, solution giver, resource link, and process helper.

Canadian dental hygienists face dynamic and challenging times. Recent amendments in legislation in some provinces have resulted in the expansion and explosion of practice possibilities. This has underlined the professional need to develop these many opportunities to provide care for underserved populations. Our profession has entered an era of significant transformation and autonomy. Anyone involved in this period of innovation and evolution must of necessity become an agent of change.

Darby and Walsh (2) define change as the process of modifying or transforming an idea, event, individual, group or community. An effective change agent must be a visionary who is capable of promoting a different way of doing things by analyzing and integrating a number of challenging environmental factors. These are some of the important qualities of successful change agents:

* Creativity and a love of innovation

* The ability to inspire and work with others

* A sense of humour Noun 1. sense of humour - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humor, humor, humour

* Common sense and the self confidence to use it

* A spirit of caring

One of the most complex responsibilities in managing change is that of identifying key stakeholders Stakeholders

All parties that have an interest, financial or otherwise, in a firm-stockholders, creditors, bondholders, employees, customers, management, the community, and the government.
, helping them understand the benefits of the change, and persuading them to "buy in".

For example, the dental hygiene entrepreneur who wishes to implement a mobile service providing care to the homebound home·bound
Restricted or confined to home, as of an invalid.
 must have knowledge of relevant legislative, housing, social and economic issues, and community health agencies and resources, as well as an understanding of the business components that support success. The benefits of a proposed change must also be communicated to other organizations and professionals in order to encourage collaboration. Dental hygienists should, therefore, be prepared to become both members and leaders of multidisciplinary mul·ti·dis·ci·pli·nar·y  
Of, relating to, or making use of several disciplines at once: a multidisciplinary approach to teaching. 
 health care teams. Being part of an interdisciplinary team interdisciplinary team,
n a group that consists of specialists from several fields combining skills and resources to present guidance and information.
, sharing common health goals, can take the dental hygiene practitioner far beyond the limitations of the traditional operatory.

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things--Niccolo Machiavelli, 15th century political philosopher.

As some resistance is an inevitable reaction to change, due consideration of the reasons for this opposition and the development of planned interventions to overcome it are critical to the change agent's role. (3) As dental hygienists know well, motivation is the key to implementing change. How often have we tried to establish an interest in improved oral health goals and practices with our clients? In order to produce a commitment to change it is necessary invoke To activate a program, routine, function or process.  both a rational and emotional response in others. Enthusiasm means that individuals will take risks and become fully committed (Law) committed to prison for trial, in distinction from being detained for examination.

See also: Fully
 to the new circumstances. Ultimately, we hope to influence attitudes and beliefs about what is possible.

Dental hygienists have few role models for implementing the emerging possibilities. It is therefore important for new entrepreneurs to look for mentors and develop expertise that will enhance their professional potential. In addition to the one-day workshops and online certificate program Independent Practice for Dental Hygienists, the CDHA plans to build a database of independent practice resources including a listing of members who have established their own practices. If you wish to be added to this list and are interested in communicating with other dental hygiene entrepreneurs contact Ann E. Wright, CDHA's Independent Practice Advisor, at

The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario has prepared a site to link and publicize pub·li·cize  
tr.v. pub·li·cized, pub·li·ciz·ing, pub·li·ciz·es
To give publicity to.

publicize or -cise

[-cizing, -cized]
 independent practice dental hygienists.

Hopefully, other provinces will follow this lead as increasing numbers of dental hygienists take advantage of emerging practice options. The evolution of the dental hygiene profession continues, with many new opportunities to provide quality oral care to the public. The role of change agent is critical for the development of these practice alternatives and to increase access to preventive oral health services health services Managed care The benefits covered under a health contract .


(1.) Canadian Dental Hygienists Association. Dental Hygiene: Definition, Scope and Practice Standards. Ottawa. 2002:3

(2.) Darby MI, Walsh MM. Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice. 2nd. ed. Saunders Saun´ders

n. 1. See Sandress.
; Toronto. 2003:13

(3.) King C, Craig B. The Role of the Dental Hygienist as Change Agent. Probe; 1997;31(3):81-83
COPYRIGHT 2008 The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:LIBRARY COLUMN
Publication:Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jul 1, 2008
Previous Article:Forensic dentistry and dental hygiene: how can the dental hygienist contribute?
Next Article:CDHA helps dental hygiene leaders "Navigate the Imagination".

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