Guest Column: Why Ohio EFDAs Need Infection Control Credentials, Too
Guinevere Juckett, CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA, EFDA, FADAA
I began working in dentistry over 31 years ago. I enjoy this type of work immensely and take every opportunity to learn and grow within my profession. Early in my career, I obtained my radiographer license. When coronal polish became a permissible duty in Ohio, I moved quickly and earned CP license #009.
I became an Ohio EFDA in 1997. At the time, there were only two EFDA programs in Ohio. When I went to take my entrance exam, the room was full of dental assistants trying to get a spot in the program, and they were only taking 20 students. I was nervous and so proud that I was accepted. I did well on my entrance exam because I was preparing for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification.
As Ohio EFDAs, we know the value of credentials. They help us build trust with doctors and patients, take on more responsibilities, and advance our careers. That is why I recently jumped at the opportunity to be among the first to pursue infection control education and certification through DANB, the DALE Foundation, and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP).
These three organizations have been working together for many years, and in 2019, they launched the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program. This is an online program that has two educational components and an assessment that leads to a certificate.
I benefited greatly from completing the certificate program. Our office has always followed infection control guidelines. Through the certificate program, I learned ways we can elevate what we’re doing and put more protections in place. It helped me identify policies and procedures to add to our office manual which has been especially important when hiring new or temporary staff.
Next year, OSAP and DANB will introduce two new infection control certifications. I applied to take the Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) certification before it is publicly available, which was very exciting. I took the exam in August 2021 and I am awaiting the results.
As Ohio EFDAs, we can become engrossed in the restorative process. But we do so much more – we might be working the front office, training new dental assistants, or serving as the lead dental assistant. We need to be knowledgeable in many areas, and there is a lot to keep up with. I encourage all Ohio EFDAs to continue learning and become credentialed in dental infection control. A good place to start is with the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program because it is online and available right now.
Completing the infection control certificate program and pursuing certification puts us and other oral health care providers at the forefront of what we do. It shows that we care equally about great dentistry and infection control. Performing proper infection control procedures, both chairside and behind the scenes, enhances the quality and safety of the services we provide as EFDAs.
I pursued infection control education and certification for myself, but it was also important for me to do it for my office – to protect my patients, my fellow coworkers and myself. I encourage all Ohio EFDAs to do the same.
To learn more or get started, visit dentalinfectioncontrol.org.
Guinevere Juckett started her dental career in 1990 and has had a passion for dentistry ever since. She works for a private dental practice in Middlefield, Ohio, as an EFDA and dental office manager. She holds numerous certifications with DANB including Certified Dental Assistant, Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant, and Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant certifications. She is trained in CAD/CAM dentistry and has achieved levels 1 and 2 CEREC Design Assistant certificates through the Great Lakes Education Center in Detroit, Michigan. She is also a certificate holder in dental infection prevention and control from the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention and the DALE Foundation. Ms. Juckett is a member of the Ohio EFDA Association, American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM), and The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP). She is a graduate of the EFDA program at Case Western Reserve University and is an ADAA Fellow.