Reflecting on this tumultuous year and the turmoil wrought by COVID-19, I’m so grateful for the incredible resiliency, professionalism and determination of B.C.’s dental hygienists. There have been hundreds, maybe thousands of little interactions I’ve had in the last twelve months that have demonstrated to me the enormous potential of dental hygiene and the goodness that is part and parcel of those who join this profession.
I can’t believe how much we got done in the 7,542,113 days since the pandemic hit. (Did I miscalculate there? I’m pretty sure I didn’t…) Let’s see… CERB/CEWS info, new website, new social media coordinator, hygienists can do nasopharyngeal swabbing (COVID tests), increased access to PPE, fireside chats, numerous new committees, return to work information, surveys galore, new staff members, dental hygiene immunizers!, media interviews, support for dental therapists, becoming the lead for the Coalition of BC’s 28 health professional associations, anti-stigma program, dental hygienists as contact tracers, all new updated refresher modules, webinars, webinars, webinars, collaboration and discussion on B.C.’s new health regulatory framework, ongoing outlook communications, our first virtual AGM and the list goes on.
As I write this update, we are just entering the ‘third wave’ and the future is once again a little unclear. I am so proud that BCDHA was successful in advocating for dental hygienists to take on a key role in ending this pandemic by becoming immunizers. What a difference you are and will make in our health care system! It sure felt good to reward your commitment by negotiating hygienists back into Phase 2 of the vaccine queue and we love hearing your stories of ‘your vaccine day’. It’s well-deserved.
Advocacy never sleeps, and as soon as you achieve one goal, you must turn your eyes to the next. And boy, did you tell us what the ‘next’ should be! We have heard all of your concerns about the exam portion of the Quality Assurance Program and we will take these concerns forward to the College with determination and intent. BCDHA has established a QA Committee, full of individuals you have heard speak to this issue over the past weeks and months, and together we are developing strategic, thoughtful respectful ways to strategize and influence the future of the QA program. This new BCDHA Committee will be working together to seek solutions and best practices that will help guide our discussions with the College. Please look for opportunities to contribute your thoughts to this committed group as they reach out to you for your opinions and ideas.
But mostly, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, and on behalf of the entire BCDHA Board and Staff – THANK YOU BC DENTAL HYGIENISTS! I know it has been so tough this year, professionally and personally, and you have hung in there and done amazing work despite all of the challenges. Your good humour, graciousness, respect, and enthusiasm for the work you do is incredible. I’m so proud of every single one of you.
High-five’s all around (well, when we’re allowed of course)
BCDHA Executive Director