Each year, the American Dental Assistants Association designates the first full week of March as Dental Assistants Recognition Week (DARW). This year, DARW is being celebrated from March 1-7, and the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the DALE Foundation, DANB's official affiliate, are supporting organizations for DARW 2020.
Recognizing the contributions and achievements of dental assistants is important to do all year, but it is especially meaningful to set aside a dedicated week to honor this significant group of oral healthcare providers. But more than just a feel-good week, the spirit of DARW can actually help to create a culture of recognition that contributes to dental assistants' job satisfaction and, ultimately, employer loyalty -- both of which can benefit the practice's success in the long term.
According to DANB's 2018-2019 Dental Assistants Salary and Satisfaction Survey, when asked about which job factors mattered most to dental assistants, they listed employer recognition as one of the top items.
Interestingly, dental assistants who hold DANB's Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification were more likely to report high or very high job satisfaction. In fact, 82% of CDA certificants reported high or very high job satisfaction, while 75% of noncertified assistants reported high or very high job satisfaction.
Although most dental assistants are generally satisfied, there is some room for improvement. Just over half of all dental assistants (both CDA-certified and noncertified assistants) who responded to the survey said that they felt valued by their employers.
The DALE Foundation's Value of Dental Assistants to the Dental Practice research showed that many dentists recognize the value that dental assistants bring to the dental practice -- and yet somehow this recognition and appreciation may not always be communicated effectively to the assistant.
That's why Dental Assistants Recognition Week is the perfect time to take stock of all the important work dental assistants do and find ways to acknowledge dental assistants during this week and beyond.
This recognition can brighten the dental assistant's day and also contribute to positive feelings of being valued and appreciated, leading to overall greater job satisfaction, increased employer loyalty, and, ultimately, better patient care.
Hanna Aronovich is the chief marketing and communications officer for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the DALE Foundation. DANB is the national certifying board for dental assistants and the DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate, offers interactive online courses and resources to advance the dental team.
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