Thoughts on the profession “then and now” from, Ginny Cathcart BCDHA President 1994-2003

Ginny March 16 2012As part of Dental Hygiene Week, BCDHA has the pleasure of featuring some thoughts on the profession from our past-presidents. 

1. What was different about dental hygiene (techniques, practice etc.) during the decade in which you were President?

  • We were perfecting and implementing a full process of care based on scientific research as introduced by scholars like Michele Darby, Margaret Walsh and Irene Woodall. It was a very exciting time in oral microbiology, genetics, and other biomedical and behavioral sciences and technologies.
  • We were measuring and recording periodontal status, doing oral cancer exams, using diagnostic tests, chemotherapeutics, lasers, photodynamic disinfection and advanced power debridement techniques among others.
  •  Instead of just teaching brushing and flossing, we were promoting self-care using highly regarded motivational techniques from the behavioral sciences.
  •  Registered Dental Hygienists measured the outcomes of their therapies and shared their findings with patients.
  • Many of us tried new techniques and therapies we never imagined when we graduated.

2. What do you wish had changed between then and now that has not? 

BCDHA was going through many changes in its way of governing when I was president in 1998. Dental Hygiene was newly self-regulating with the College of Dental Hygienists of BC (CDHBC.)There was still fear in many of our members that the employer groups would delegate more of our scope of practice down to other support staff in the dental office.

  • I wish that dental hygiene employer groups limited their input to “employability skills” not dental hygiene scope of practice;
  • I wish that our entry to practice education was a baccalaureate degree to better support our complex practice;
  • I wish the public had long overdue direct primary access to dental hygiene care;
  • I wish that our scope of practice included services and therapies supported by research, education and oral health needs of the public rather than employer needs;
  • I wish that BCDHA members determined dental hygiene fees for service, delivery methods and scope of practice.