ADHA Access February_2013 : Page 26

never r boring and is always busy. “ Dental hygiene can open many doors, and the opportunities are limitless “Working in public health means if only you apply yourself. Not all opportunities are out in the open; being able to be À exible and adapt they require a little more searching and motivation on your part. Not all to changes in opportunities come easy. Apply yourself and see where your dental hygiene your r schedule,” Nulph explained. education can take you.” “You may be in the middle of —Julynda J. Nulph, RDH, PHDHP a prophy when the front of ¿ ce staffer r walks back and asks if f you can see an emergency patient prior r to the next appointment. ulynda J. Nulph, RDH, PHDHP , works as a public health Or r it might be that the patient who is in your r chair r and was dental hygienist for r the Salvation Army Dental Center r in Oil scheduled for r a cleaning is in pain and requires an extraction. City, Pa. Nulph earned her r associate degree in dental hygiene Now you become the assistant and assist the doctor r in the from Westmoreland County Community College in Young-extraction of f the tooth.” wood, Pa. in May 2007. Nulph explained that being a dental hygienist has played Nulph’s lack k of f dental care as a child has allowed her r to ap-a huge role in helping her r to become community-oriented. proach her r patients compassionately. As one of f seven children “I always wanted to be involved with the community before in a family without dental care, Nulph and her r siblings only I was a dental hygienist, but was at a loss for r what to do went to the dentist when they were in pain. “My own parents and how to reach out. Even working in private practice, I felt lacked the knowledge to take us on a regular r basis,” ” she said. disconnected from the community,” ” she said. “Since I started “I personally know what it feels like to have a tooth ache or working in the public dental health sector, I travel to the sur-require a root canal. I want to use my education as well as my rounding schools and provide dental and nutritional education personal experiences to connect with my patients and commu-to students. I also have the opportunity to travel to Honduras nity to provide a quality service and education to them.” and provide dental care for r the impoverished people because From a young age, Nulph was fascinated with the mouth. I am a dental hygienist.” “When I was younger r I dreamed of f being an archeologist; “Dental hygiene is huge to the people and communities I digging up bones, especially teeth, and then being able to serve. Whether r it is here or r abroad, everyone needs to realize look at them and know what a person ate as well as the per-the link between oral hygiene and systemic health. There is son’s age was fascinating to me,” ” she explained. “As I grew still this huge disconnect between reality and knowledge,” up, that fascination stuck with me; so many things can be Nulph said. “I can’t tell you how many times a day I hear diagnosed by taking a trek inside the mouth and yet so many mothers tell me that their r child has tooth decay simply physicians fail to look. I want to change that.” because they have ‘soft teeth.’ ’ Or r that the reason the moth-Her r interest in anatomy and biology led her r to consider ers themselves have decay is because ‘my baby stole all the becoming a nurse; but after r spending a few years in the emer-calcium from my teeth. Before I got pregnant my teeth were gency room as a nurse’s aide, she realized nursing was not her perfect.’ ’ I feel my role is vital in helping to create a change calling.“I went back k to my love of f the mouth,” ” she said. in the way the teeth and oral cavity are viewed. One person Nulph started dental assisting school in May 2004 at age educated about decay that is caused due to nutritional habits, 25; upon completing the program, her r director r suggested she or r about the link between smoking and periodontal disease continue her r education with dental hygiene school. “Honestly, can cause a ripple effect and create a change in many lives.” I wasn’t even sure of f what a dental hygienist did. Thank Working as a public health dental hygienist also allows goodness for r Google. I started dental hygiene school in May Nulph the chance to disprove some myths about working 2005 at age 26, and haven’t looked back.” ” She plans to pur-in public health. “I want people to know that working as a sue a bachelor’s degree in the near r future. public health dental hygienist is very rewarding. Most regard After r graduating from dental hygiene school, Nulph found r a medical assistance practice where it as simply working for a position in a private dental of ¿ ce that was over an hour you get limited time and do a less than adequate job on the away from home. “While the salary, my coworkers and my patients. This is not true at all,” ” she said.“I have adequate boss were excellent, the drive was not,” ” she said. “A member time to see and serve my patients well. Working in the public of f my church knew of f my long commute and was telling me health sector r allows you to provide care that the community about this new dental center r that The Salvation Army was go-and patients so desperately require.” ing to open in a town that was only 25 miles from my home, Nulph’s passion for r public health is rooted in her r dental so I applied. Initially it was only for r two days a week, which hygiene background, one that prepares her r to provide health would eventually turn into four r days a week.” services to those without. She is able to do this work and be “The Salvation Army Dental Center r differs in that it is a successful. public health dental of ¿ ce. We serve the community as the pa-“Dental hygiene can open many doors, and the opportuni-tient. Our r goal is dental education of f the public and the control ties are limitless if f only you apply yourself,” ” she said. “Not all of f dental disease within a community. This is a different way of opportunities are out in the open; they require a little more thinking from private practice where you serve each person as searching and motivation on your r part. Not all opportunities an individual. While I loved working in private practice, I feel come easy. Apply yourself f and see where your r dental hygiene that I have truly found my niche in public health.” education can take you.” A typical work day for r Nulph starts at 7:45 a.m. with a For r more information on Nulph or r her r career, please email review of f the day’s schedule. Typically, she sees six patients her r at julesnulph@yahoo.com. before lunch and six to eight patients after r lunch. The day typically ends around 6 p.m. This can and usually does vary depending on many factors. A typical day, she explains, is This edition of f Working was prepared by Mariam Pera. ■ J 26 FEB 2013 access

Working

" Dental hygiene can open many doors, and the opportunities are limitless if only you apply yourself. Not all opportunities are out in the open; they require a little more searching and motivation on your part. Not all opportunities come easy. Apply yourself and see where your dental hygiene education can take you." -Julynda J. Nulph, RDH, PHDHP<br /> <br /> Julynda J. Nulph, RDH, PHDHP, works as a public health dental hygienist for the Salvation Army Dental Center in Oil City, Pa. Nulph earned her associate degree in dental hygiene from Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood, Pa. In May 2007.<br /> <br /> Nulph's lack of dental care as a child has allowed her to approach her patients compassionately. As one of seven children in a family without dental care, Nulph and her siblings only went to the dentist when they were in pain. "My own parents lacked the knowledge to take us on a regular basis," she said. "I personally know what it feels like to have a tooth ache or require a root canal. I want to use my education as well as my personal experiences to connect with my patients and community to provide a quality service and education to them."<br /> <br /> From a young age, Nulph was fascinated with the mouth. "When I was younger I dreamed of being an archeologist; digging up bones, especially teeth, and then being able to look at them and know what a person ate as well as the person's age was fascinating to me," she explained. "As I grew up, that fascination stuck with me; so many things can be diagnosed by taking a trek inside the mouth and yet so many physicians fail to look. I want to change that."<br /> <br /> Her interest in anatomy and biology led her to consider becoming a nurse; but after spending a few years in the emergency room as a nurse's aide, she realized nursing was not her calling. "I went back to my love of the mouth," she said.<br /> <br /> Nulph started dental assisting school in May 2004 at age 25; upon completing the program, her director suggested she continue her education with dental hygiene school. "Honestly, I wasn't even sure of what a dental hygienist did. Thank goodness for Google. I started dental hygiene school in May 2005 at age 26, and haven't looked back." She plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in the near future.<br /> <br /> After graduating from dental hygiene school, Nulph found a position in a private dental office that was over an hour away from home. "While the salary, my coworkers and my boss were excellent, the drive was not," she said. "A member of my church knew of my long commute and was telling me about this new dental center that The Salvation Army was going to open in a town that was only 25 miles from my home, so I applied. Initially it was only for two days a week, which would eventually turn into four days a week."<br /> <br /> "The Salvation Army Dental Center differs in that it is a public health dental office. We serve the community as the patient. Our goal is dental education of the public and the control of dental disease within a community. This is a different way of thinking from private practice where you serve each person as an individual. While I loved working in private practice, I feel that I have truly found my niche in public health."<br /> <br /> A typical work day for Nulph starts at 7:45 a.m. with a review of the day's schedule. Typically, she sees six patients before lunch and six to eight patients after lunch. The day typically ends around 6 p.m. This can and usually does vary depending on many factors. A typical day, she explains, is Never boring and is always busy. "Working in public health means being able to be flexible and adapt to changes in your schedule," Nulph explained. "You may be in the middle of a prophy when the front office staffer walks back and asks if you can see an emergency patient prior to the next appointment. Or it might be that the patient who is in your chair and was scheduled for a cleaning is in pain and requires an extraction. Now you become the assistant and assist the doctor in the extraction of the tooth."<br /> <br /> Nulph explained that being a dental hygienist has played a huge role in helping her to become community-oriented. "I always wanted to be involved with the community before I was a dental hygienist, but was at a loss for what to do and how to reach out. Even working in private practice, I felt disconnected from the community," she said. "Since I started working in the public dental health sector, I travel to the surrounding schools and provide dental and nutritional education to students. I also have the opportunity to travel to Honduras and provide dental care for the impoverished people because I am a dental hygienist."<br /> <br /> "Dental hygiene is huge to the people and communities I serve. Whether it is here or abroad, everyone needs to realize the link between oral hygiene and systemic health. There is still this huge disconnect between reality and knowledge," Nulph said. "I can't tell you how many times a day I hear mothers tell me that their child has tooth decay simply because they have 'soft teeth.' Or that the reason the mothers themselves have decay is because 'my baby stole all the calcium from my teeth. Before I got pregnant my teeth were perfect.' I feel my role is vital in helping to create a change in the way the teeth and oral cavity are viewed. One person educated about decay that is caused due to nutritional habits, or about the link between smoking and periodontal disease can cause a ripple effect and create a change in many lives."<br /> <br /> Working as a public health dental hygienist also allows Nulph the chance to disprove some myths about working in public health. "I want people to know that working as a public health dental hygienist is very rewarding. Most regard it as simply working for a medical assistance practice where you get limited time and do a less than adequate job on the patients. This is not true at all," she said. "I have adequate time to see and serve my patients well. Working in the public health sector allows you to provide care that the community and patients so desperately require."<br /> <br /> Nulph's passion for public health is rooted in her dental hygiene background, one that prepares her to provide health services to those without. She is able to do this work and be successful.<br /> <br /> "Dental hygiene can open many doors, and the opportunities are limitless if only you apply yourself," she said. "Not all opportunities are out in the open; they require a little more searching and motivation on your part. Not all opportunities come easy. Apply yourself and see where your dental hygiene education can take you."<br /> <br /> For more information on Nulph or her career, please email her at julesnulph@yahoo.com.<br /> <br /> This edition of Working was prepared by Mariam Pera.

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