Date ArticleType
11/19/2018 Insights

The Gift Of Presence: What My Patients Have Taught Me

The Gift Of Presence: What My Patients Have Taught Me
by Amber Auger, MPH, RDH

When I chose the dental hygiene profession, I did so to serve people. I thought that providing patients with skills to prevent diseases, giving them brighter smiles, and increasing access to care would be the greatest job of all. I was right! On my journey to serve people, my patients have also served me. Their stories have changed me and continue to reignite my passion for dental hygiene. Taking the time to stay present in every patient interaction has allowed me to view patient care in a unique way.

Here are some of my favorite "gift of presence" experiences.

I will never forget the moment that my boss asked me to cut my lunch break short. I was working in pediatrics and we had an 8-year-old new patient who was adopted from Romania a few months prior to his initial visit. This patient had lost an arm in the orphanage and could barely understand English, let alone speak it. His new mom was nervous, hoping he did not have a mouth full of tooth decay. I took one look at the patient and greeted him with a huge smile. "Buna ziua," I said as he mirrored my smile. I had learned many phrases and oral hygiene instructions for a program in school that allowed me to travel to Romania to provide dental hygiene services. He told me about his new house, school, and pets, all while his mother stood over me with tears streaming down her cheeks. Never did I think that a trip to Romania would allow me to impact this newly adopted child in my backyard.

Read full article on Dentistry iQ.