Sviatlana Anishchuk and Linda Phelan explain how and why you should enter the poster competition at this year’s IDHA annual conference.
As a dental hygienist working in clinical practice, it can be easy to forget that we are capable of much more than scaling all day long.
The Irish Dental Hygienists’ Association (IDHA), in partnership with Oral-B, is giving you the opportunity to present your work at the IDHA annual conference. With an award in each category, there are several different categories to enter:
- Health promotion
- Case study.
We are all doing research but often without realising it’s what we are doing. As dental hygienists, we need to stay up to date with the latest oral health developments to provide the best possible care to our patients. Carrying out research is what helps us to do this.
If there is a new treatment or new equipment we are going to start using, we research it. If a patient tells us they are using a product we are unfamiliar with, we research it. If a patient attends with a rare medical condition, we research it.
Participating in research like this expands our knowledge and expertise, improves our skills, and can help increase our job satisfaction.
Health promotion is at the very core of our profession. We are already making a difference in our communities by improving individual’s oral health in our clinical practice. But maybe you have taken your passion for health promotion further.
As dental hygienists, we can contribute to advancing oral health knowledge and understanding, which can be beneficial in developing or improving existing dental treatments and enhancing overall patient care. Have you developed patient leaflets to give to your patients? Do you attend local preschools or care facilities to deliver oral health workshops? By transferring your existing work to a poster, you are sharing knowledge and inspiring and motivating your colleagues and peers.
This might be the easiest category to start with as many dental hygienists work in clinical practice. Follow a patient’s journey from the initial assessment visit, throughout treatment, to the reevaluation and beyond.
You might already have a patient who will come to mind, and you can retrospectively look back on their notes and present the case on a poster.
Did they have an unusual presentation? Did they have a rare medical condition, or maybe they are on medication that is affecting their oral health. Maybe there is a link between their oral health and general health. Maybe there was a surprising or disappointing clinical result.
Reflect on what you think was happening and why, write it down, then search online for similar cases or evidence. Read about it then create your poster.
Where to start?
Don’t overthink it – take the first step today! The IDHA has previously held webinars on how to write an abstract and how to present your work on a poster. Visit the IDHA website for the links to these webinars.
The IDHA runs study groups where you will get the opportunity to collaborate with likeminded colleagues, hear different perspectives and discuss various dental related topics.
These study groups will help give you a sense of community and support with other dental hygienists.
Presenting your work at a conference can seem daunting at the start, but it is a fantastic opportunity for professional growth and job fulfilment. Sharing your work allows colleagues and peers to learn from one another and get recognition for the hard work we are doing.
We encourage you all to take part in the IDHA poster competition, in partnership with Oral-B. By showing your passion for dental health and dental hygiene, it becomes contagious, and it will bounce back to you and keep you motivated and enthusiastic about your work. Your input has the potential to make a big difference. Remember – be active and be visible.
The 2023 IDHA annual conference takes place on 17 and 18 November at the Midlands Park Hotel in Portlaoise.
For more information, visit idha.ie.