As most hygienists know, RDH magazine and Access magazine are great resources for learning about topics in our field. We attend live C.E. courses to stay current, and we have several options for online C.E. as well. However, have you ever thought about the importance of collaboration with other hygienists as a form of continuing education? We may not receive C.E. hours for discussing topics on a message board, but I would argue that there is a lot to be learned by sharing ideas with hygienists from all over the nation- or even the world.
I graduated from Southwestern College with my A.S.D.H. in San Diego, CA in 2003. Right away, I joined a learning community called Hygienetown. On this website, I was able to read message boards on endless topics that really helped me grow as a clinician. In the beginning, I mostly posted questions; now, I can act more as a mentor to newer hygienists. The site also offers C.E., blogs/podcasts, an online magazine (you can also choose to have a free hard-copy mailed to your home or office), a classifieds section, and events. It’s truly a great place for hygienists to collaborate, and even re-ignite your passion for hygiene if you’re going through that inevitable slump.
In addition to Hygienetown, I belong to two Facebook groups for hygienists. DentalDivas is for hygienists in San Antonio, TX. Hygienists post job openings or temping opportunities. It’s also a place to discuss anything dental-related. I found my current job as an instructor on DentalDivas. The other group I belong to is COHA Community from Colgate. This is a Facebook group for hygienists all over the U.S. We post and discuss case studies, give each other advice and encouragement, and sometimes vent 🙂
I used to belong to AmyRDH which was a wonderful community for hygienists. I loved the case studies and discussion boards. Amy decided to retire the website, but you can still e-mail her if you would like access to case studies; she will send you anything she has saved over the years.
Dental hygienists have many avenues for staying connected and sharing ideas with fellow hygienists. As a dental hygiene educator, it’s very helpful to stay connected to both dental hygiene and education communities. I belong to a community called EdWeb. It’s a place where educators can collaborate and share ideas. They offer different communities that you can join; I belong to one dental group (it’s very small) and a few communities focused on digital learning. They offer webinars, blogs, CE, and so much more.
Whether you’re a clinical dental hygienist, a researcher, public health hygienist, or educator, staying connected is key to keeping up with changes and new ideas in our field. I hope you’ll explore some communities that interest you. Try some of mine, and share the ones you enjoy!