Do the Hustle!


Remember the dance “The Hustle” from the 1970s? Everyone knew the song and the dance steps. But if you’ve ever tried to learn a line dance or other dance routine you know that you don’t just JUMP in and get in step right away. It takes time to learn each step and the sequence of the dance.

I recently attended a Hip Hop dance exercise class for fun. The “routine” was made up of about seven or eight different dance moves each with their own name. The teacher was brilliant in her approach.

She knew that to get us all on the same page, she would have to teach each move one at a time. Then she would put move #1 and #2 together and we do that over and over. Then we’d add move #3 and do that a few times as a sequence. By the end of the hour, we were doing an intricate dance routine.

The same is true for us as hygienists. Each hygiene visit is like “dancing” with a different partner, over and over throughout the day. We’ll do the same dance but we might throw in a few different moves depending on our partner’s attitude and experience.

As a hygienist, when we add a new service or technology, it’s important to take it a step at a time. It’s like trying to perform a new dance in front of an audience without any practice. Sometimes we get frustrated and we shut down saying “I can’t learn that dance”.

Instead, wouldn’t it make sense to learn the new system one step at a time? Let’s say you’re going to take your oral cancer exams to a new level. Here are the steps you would take:

Learn about the technique and technology
Learn oral cancer stats and why it’s so important to test
Talk to patients about oral cancer
Consistently do intra-oral screening on every patient
Add extra-oral cancer exam
Add technology such as Velscope or Vizilite
Review your success and stay the course
You might start by putting #1 and #2 together. Then you could add #3 and #4 for a week. Then add the extra-oral exam and then the technology.

Building confidence with a new service or technology requires study and practice. At first, it feels a little awkward, then it feels better and before you know it, you’re an expert. Take the time to learn all the steps and put them together one by one. Then you’re ready to “dance”. Have fun!

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