Spring is a season of joy and anticipation, marking the awakening of nature, the coming of warmer weather, and the emergence of vibrantly coloured flowers with melodious birdsong. And, just as my mother used to tell me, these are the sure signs we all should watch for of good things to come. Thus, in the spirit of these tenets, I extend this message in hope that we all can gather to commemorate Dental Assistants Recognition Week this March. It’s time to reflect upon and take immense pride in our chosen profession – as one of those good things!
During the week of March 3rd, we have the opportunity to acknowledge and honour our members and colleagues. This week serves as a moment to express our gratitude towards everyone who is dedicated to delivering the quality care our patients come to depend upon. Whether this is in the dental office, or in schools, hospitals, or otherwise --- our diverse skill set, remarkable adaptability, and commitment to teamwork truly set us apart. Therefore, by celebrating this week, we not only recognise our tireless efforts, but also foster camaraderie within our ever-evolving profession. It is an opportunity to encourage advancement through continuous professional development opportunities, mentorship to students, and support to newly graduated colleagues. Please help us all seize this moment: to reflect on our achievements, strengthen our bonds, and pave the way for a brighter future in dental assisting. Together, we can continue to make a difference in the lives of our patients and the dental community as a whole!
Recognition for our professional excellence is a long-standing tradition. According to Robinson (2024), Saint Apollonia, the ‘patroness of dentistry’, was revered by those suffering from toothaches and/or other dental issues. Today, dental professionals worldwide draw inspiration from her, for her compassion, courage, and a commitment to care. The title bestowed upon her reflects the historical significance of dentistry and respect for our profession across time. And, as dental professionals, we can look up to these values as a guiding light in our noble pursuit of excellence. Similarly, we should recall Malvina Cueria, whom according to Robinson (ibid), was the first recorded dental assistant in modern history. Respected for her support of Dr. C. Edmund Kells at his dental practice, her status as a ‘lady in attendance’ paved the way for other dental assistants to enter the profession as early as 1885. And, as a trailblazer, she also helped to change the societal norms for women early-on - setting out the dental office as a respectable place for a woman to attend without the need for a male chaperone. Cueria's legacy serves as a reminder that behind every successful dentist stands a capable and efficient dental assistant. Therefore, let us honour and celebrate each and every one of you! Please take a moment to reflect upon your own journey, and the contribution you have made to the history of our profession today!
Our professional growth, progress, and dedication are truly inspirational. That’s why the official theme for the 2024 Dental Assistants Recognition Week is "Dental Assistants: An integral part of your professional oral health care team." (CDAA). This theme highlights the vital role that dental assistants play in providing top-notch oral care. You are each invited to join us for our upcoming general meeting on March 4th, where we can come together and celebrate our achievements. And, additionally, if you happen to pass by the Calgary Peace Bridge that night, you will witness the City of Calgary's recognition of Dental Assistants through its special illumination!
In closing, I recall the words of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who said that "some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat." It is my fond wish that you let this time of beauty, rejuvenation, and recognition surround you and warm you as we move forward into this year’s spring. I am truly proud to have such wonderful members and colleagues helping to champion the ‘good’ of our noble profession: this week is for you!
Cathy Johnson, MSc, RDA
President, Calgary Dental Assistants Association