ADHA Access January 2013 : Page 28

Hygienists in Uniform By MSgt Sarah Drinkard, USAF, RDH H ave you ever I embrace my career, for I am part of two elite thought of seeing the world and serving your professional organizations at once, the United States country as a dental Air Force and the American Dental Hygienists’ hygienist? If you Association. I am part of two distinct subcultures, answered yes, then let me share with you both grounded by core values and lauded for high a perspective from standards. a registered dental hygienist who also —MSgt Sarah Drinkard, USAF, RDH happens to be an ac-tive duty Dental Corps Airman in the United States Air Force. without distraction or limitations. The very next day, I could Many may think of their career as simply an occupation, provide dental care for that Airman’s spouse, who is now I would call my career a way of life, for I am a part of some-charged with holding down the fort as he or she waits for the WKLQJJUHDWHUWKDQP\VHOI,DPDQ$LUPDQ¿UVW&#0f;EXWDOVRD Airman’s safe return. dental hygienist, a technical expert at my craft. When the One day, I had the privilege of providing dental care for two merge every day, I provide world-class oral health care DUHWLUHG$UP\SDWLHQW+HKDGVHUYHGLQ::,,LQWKH3DFL¿F to America’s heroes who, just like me, volunteered to serve Here I was serving a man who had served our country when the country they so dearly love. My Air Force career began in it needed him most. It was then I felt the most pressure to 1995, but my journey as an active duty dental hygienist did be the very best hygienist I could be: I owed that to him. not start for another 10 years. That day, I got to know a member of the “greatest genera-In 2004, the Air Force instituted the Dental Hygiene tion,” and I did it while also serving my country as a regis-Training Scholarship Program allowing Air Force dental as-tered dental hygienist. sistants to attend an accredited dental hygiene school. These I embrace my career, for I am part of two elite profes-$LUPHQUHFHLYHIXOOSD\DQGEHQH¿WVZKLOHDWWHQGLQJVFKRRO sional organizations at once, the United States Air Force and full-time. Once they have completed dental hygiene school the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. I am part of and successfully passed the national board, then they are two distinct subcultures, both grounded by core values and UHTXLUHGWRIXO¿OODWKUHH
\HDUVHUYLFHFRPPLWPHQWXSRQ lauded for high standards. The Air Force Dental Service’s graduating. mission is to achieve oral health to ensure readiness, achieve The two institutions the Air Force utilizes to train future best value and achieve excellence in all we do. I am a proud hygienists are Trident Technical College in South Carolina and registered dental hygienist, thankful for her opportunities. St. Petersburg College in Florida. After successful program General George S. Patton was once quoted as saying, “If completion and licensing, newly registered dental hygien-I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself .” That is ists reenter the operational Air Force. They are assigned and KRZ,IHHODERXWP\SURIHVVLRQDQGP\¿HOG,I,FRQWLQXH occasionally deployed all over the globe to deliver state-of-to sharpen my skills and never become complacent, I will the-art oral care. With a large number of registered dental always provide world-class oral health care to others who hygienists leaving their mark, the Air Force provides a con-“ take care of the rest .” sistent level of quality care identical to civilian care stateside. If anyone is interested in learning more about me or my Since obtaining my license, I have had the opportunity to ■ career, please contact sarah.drinkard@us.af.mil. live, work and play at locations such as Charleston, South Carolina; Misawa Air Base Japan and Cheyenne, Wyoming. 0\YHU\¿UVWDVVLJQPHQWDVDUHJLVWHUHGGHQWDOK\JLHQLVWZDV Misawa Air Base, Japan. “Konnichi Wa” is how one says hello in Japanese. I learned this after graduating and moving to Misawa Air Base, -DSDQ&#0f;ZKHUH,KDGP\YHU\¿UVWDVVLJQPHQWDVDUHJLVWHUHG dental hygienist. At Misawa, I led and managed the Preven-tive Dentistry Department. During my three and half years there, I trained and supervised other Air Force staff. The 35th Dental Squadron at Misawa Air Base provides dental care to 14 thousand active duty military, family members, retirees and Department of Defense civilians. It was through that patient population I achieved ultimate job satisfaction. In my dental chair, on any given day, there was an Airman preparing for deployment. My job was to guarantee his/her dental readiness so he or she could carry out the mission 28 JAN 2013 access

Working

Msgt Sarah Drinkard

Hygienists in Uniform<br /> <br /> Have you ever thought of seeing the world and serving your country as a dental hygienist? If you answered yes, then let me share with you a perspective from a registered dental hygienist who also happens to be an active duty Dental Corps Airman in the United States Air Force.<br /> <br /> Many may think of their career as simply an occupation, I would call my career a way of life, for I am a part of something greater than myself. I am an Airman first, but also a dental hygienist, a technical expert at my craft. When the two merge every day, I provide world-class oral health care to America's heroes who, just like me, volunteered to serve the country they so dearly love. My Air Force career began in 1995, but my journey as an active duty dental hygienist did not start for another 10 years.<br /> <br /> In 2004, the Air Force instituted the Dental Hygiene Training Scholarship Program allowing Air Force dental assistants to attend an accredited dental hygiene school. These Airmen receive full pay and benefits while attending school full-time. Once they have completed dental hygiene school and successfully passed the national board, then they are required to fulfill a three-year service commitment upon graduating.<br /> <br /> The two institutions the Air Force utilizes to train future hygienists are Trident Technical College in South Carolina and St. Petersburg College in Florida. After successful program completion and licensing, newly registered dental hygienists reenter the operational Air Force. They are assigned and occasionally deployed all over the globe to deliver state-of the- art oral care. With a large number of registered dental hygienists leaving their mark, the Air Force provides a consistent level of quality care identical to civilian care stateside. Since obtaining my license, I have had the opportunity to live, work and play at locations such as Charleston, South Carolina; Misawa Air Base Japan and Cheyenne, Wyoming. My very first assignment as a registered dental hygienist was Misawa Air Base, Japan.<br /> <br /> "Konnichi Wa" is how one says hello in Japanese. I learned this after graduating and moving to Misawa Air Base, Japan, where I had my very first assignment as a registered dental hygienist. At Misawa, I led and managed the Preventive Dentistry Department. During my three and half years there, I trained and supervised other Air Force staff. The 35th Dental Squadron at Misawa Air Base provides dental care to 14 thousand active duty military, family members, retirees and Department of Defense civilians. It was through that patient population I achieved ultimate job satisfaction. In my dental chair, on any given day, there was an Airman preparing for deployment. My job was to guarantee his/her dental readiness so he or she could carry out the mission without distraction or limitations. The very next day, I could provide dental care for that Airman's spouse, who is now charged with holding down the fort as he or she waits for the Airman's safe return.<br /> <br /> One day, I had the privilege of providing dental care for a retired Army patient. He had served in WWII in the Pacific. Here I was serving a man who had served our country when it needed him most. It was then I felt the most pressure to be the very best hygienist I could be: I owed that to him. That day, I got to know a member of the "greatest generation," and I did it while also serving my country as a registered dental hygienist.<br /> <br /> I embrace my career, for I am part of two elite professional organizations at once, the United States Air Force and the American Dental Hygienists' Association. I am part of two distinct subcultures, both grounded by core values and lauded for high standards. The Air Force Dental Service's mission is to achieve oral health to ensure readiness, achieve best value and achieve excellence in all we do. I am a proud registered dental hygienist, thankful for her opportunities. General George S. Patton was once quoted as saying, "If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself." That is how I feel about my profession and my field. If I continue to sharpen my skills and never become complacent, I will always provide world-class oral health care to others who "take care of the rest."<br /> <br /> If anyone is interested in learning more about me or my career, please contact sarah.drinkard@us.af.mil.<br /> <br /> I embrace my career, for I am part of two elite professional organizations at once, the United States Air Force and the American Dental Hygienists’Association. I am part of two distinct subcultures,both grounded by core values and lauded for high standards.<br /> <br /> —MSgt Sarah Drinkard, USAF, RDH

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here