Mentorship is important in the dental hygiene profession as a mentor can provide much-needed guidance to dental hygiene students. Plus, mentors are there to lend an ear after graduation if or when a new dental hygienist has questions about job transition, pursuing higher education, or changing ops. Here are some ways to find a mentor.
1. DENTAL HYGIENE EDUCATORS
Sometimes the mentor you are looking for is right in front of you! Dental hygiene instructors serve as wonderful advisors who can offer both support and advice. Consider asking one of your instructors if he or she would mind being your mentor, and share why you appreciate him or her. Maybe he or she is direct and to the point when you ask for advice, or perhaps it’s his or her ability to find the positive in a tough situation that helps keep you motivated.
2. DENTAL HYGIENISTS IN YOUR OP
Look at your coworkers and consider the qualities you love about them. Do they offer unbiased advice? Are they a calming presence? Do they have experience in an area you’d like to learn more about? Take the time to nourish these relationships.
Do you have a fellow dental hygiene student who has slightly more experience than you, or has a way of lifting you up while providing excellent advice? Do not ride off a peer simply because you are in the same program or at the same experience level. Effective mentorship comes in all different experience levels.
If you run into trouble finding a mentor, joining groups online or in your state may be the way to go. Social media, LinkedIn, and dental hygiene groups on Facebook are some places to find potential mentors. Volunteer events may also provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals who you look up to. Have the confidence to reach out to others and build those important connections, whether it be in person or online.
5. MULTIPLE MENTORS
It’s fine to have more than one mentor to call when you need some guidance. In fact, having access to more than one opinion on a difficult topic may be helpful when you’re seeking different viewpoints. Consider mentors with varying levels of experience or knowledge in different areas of the profession to help provide a well-rounded view of dental hygiene.