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Here's to your health ... and dental assistants recognition week.

Early this fall, a study of Pennsylvania hospitals revealed a very interesting fact: surgery patient's death rates were nearly twice as high when the percentage of nurses with bachelor's degrees was low, U of Pa. researchers said.

Low levels of education coupled with low nurse staffing levels could translate to thousands of preventable deaths nationwide each year, the researchers concluded. "Better educated nurses tend to be more proficient in critical thinking," said the lead author Linda Aiken, a U of Pa. nursing and sociology professor.

Well, I guess the jury is in and we can conclude that educated healthcare personnel can positively affect the health of their patients. Wouldn't you say this is probably true for dental care as well?

The ADAA has always put education first in its mission to serve the profession and the dental health public. We have always maintained that dental assistants need to be educated and licensed and registered, and that these steps would be in the public's best interest. We think that the study in Pennsylvania bears this out. Everyone knows the old saying "knowledge is power" and apparently knowledge is also powerfully related to the healing arts and saving life.

While the Pennsylvania study dwelt on bachelor's degrees, the ADAA has never been adamant on a specific degree program, only on experience and education to achieve a licensed professional level that would assure the dental patient of a knowledgeable person assisting the dentist. How nice to have our philosophy supported by a study that knows that education equals excellence when it comes to patient care.

So as we approach yet another Dental Assistants Recognition Week, we need to keep up the efforts to be recognized and be appreciated.

* Recognized in the dental office where assistants must be considered professionals and not "the girls."

* Recognized in the payroll, where salaries are competitive and benefits are realistic.

* Recognized in the state legislature where licensing laws are considered and enacted.

* Recognized in the healthcare community as fellow professionals.

As in nursing where a shortage prevails, we must recognize that dental assistants are in demand everywhere. Please recognize your value to the practice and to the arena of public health. In many states, expanded functions are being approved for dental assistants, recognizing the shortage of dentists and the fact that assistants will be doing more in the future. The future is yours to enjoy if you earn its respect through education and you demand the recognition that an educated professional deserves.

Dental Assistants Recognition Week provides an excellent opportunity to start asking for that recognition and realizing that you deserve it. The newly adopted theme is "Delivering Excellence Throughout the World." Isn't it time you got the recognition you deserve in your own corner of the world?


Each year we encourage everyone in dental assisting to create and participate in activities that call attention to the profession during Dental Assistants Recognition Week.

March 7-13, 2004

All ADAA state and local presidents will receive a kit of DARW materials during January, and anyone may request a kit by writing to ADAA, Suite 1730, 35 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago IL 60601 (or fax 312-541-1496 or e-mail No phone calls, please.


Contact Name-- Position--

Business Name--

Business Street Address--

City-- State-- Zip--

Business Phone (--).

Category (You must choose one):

* Dental Assistants Association

* Dental Assisting School

* Dental Office

* Other Organizations (i.e., Dental Associations, Military, etc.)

Please provide 100 words or less that describe the activities and success of your 2004 Dental Assistants Recognition Week observance. Where possible, include photos or samples of any materials used. Activities must have been implemented between the periods of March 1 and 23, 2004. All entries must be postmarked by April 5, 2004, and submitted to the office of this publication. All entries will be acknowledged by mail. Please do not submit information before the conclusion of DARW. We want to know how your activities went ... not just your plans.

If a certificate is awarded in recognition of this effort, to whom should the inscription be made? A maximum of 15 words will be accommodated. (For example--The staff of Herbert L. Jones, DDS; or--The Dental Assisting Staff of Midtown Clinic, SC)

Return this application to the American Dental Assistants Association, 35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1730, Chicago, IL 60601-2211. Note: Applications and any attendant materials will not be returned.
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Article Details
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Author:McDonough, Douglas
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2003
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