Learn how new economic trends have changed up the dental hygienist game
The latest and probably most notable economic trend that has emerged over the past decade is the sharing economy. Essentially it is a new system of exchange whereby people share assets, skills or services to other individuals either in trade or for a fee, typically via the Internet. Think Airbnb, or Uber.
Millennials — or “Generation Y,” comprised of individuals born roughly between 1980 and 1995 — are typical purveyors of this new economy due to their distinct media, communications and digital prowess. These skills enable them to work remotely.
That being said, professions where the normal workday took place in an office during typical 9–5 business hours have moved into the mobile space, allowing employees and service providers some flexibility in where they work, who they work for, and for how long.
Interestingly, an area that has been able to prosper from the sharing economy is dentistry. The new business models that are rising in popularity are ones that turn to web-based platforms and applications, which are much less costly and way more efficient than job boards or placement agencies to provide immediate, personable, real-time interactions between practices and service professionals.
So dental professionals who are searching for employment can determine where, when, and for how long they work and thus establish themselves as a freelancer. Imagine: a freelance dental hygienist! This is a new reality for many dental hygienists who want flexibility in their profession, which bodes well for many who are seeking a healthy work-life balance and opportunity for exploration.
Certainly, mobility gives dental hygienist freelancers an edge that never existed before the onset of the sharing economy. Primarily, the most beneficial effect people experience with professional mobility is happiness — studies have shown mobility offers a positive impact on productivity and increased overall happiness and wellbeing if workers are permitted to train for new jobs, move locations or seek higher wages.
Other significant advantages of being self-employed are the freedom and flexibility to schedule service hours, determine the number of hours worked per week, decide for whom you work and in what geographic location, as well as maximize income tax deductions.
Location, location, location!
For the more adventurous types, another favorable freelance perk is the travel, and dental hygienists are no exception. With the assistance of dental platforms you can dive into the sharing economy and work your way across the US, working in the cities that offer mild climates, high culture and academia, or advancement opportunities in your career, for example. You can seek out the highest-paying areas and resettle there; if you happen to feel the need to “return home” or relocate somewhere else based on any number of personal or professional factors, you can do so.
How digital platforms work
The sharing economy is where it’s at, and it’s likely here to stay. Millennials currently make up the largest portion of the workforce at 35% as of 2017 at 56 million employable people looking for work. Also, a 2018 study showed that 70% of the population works from home one day a week, and 53% works remotely at least half the week.
As a dental hygienist, you may not be working from home — although there are instances where hygienists have set up small private practices in an office space in their own homes and using their own equipment to offer check-ups, cleanings and recommendations to dentists should the need arise.
Realistically, most hygienists work outside the home in a variety of practice environments, with the majority finding placements in private practice. However, many hygienists attest to their work becoming more part-time in nature. That being said, many people spread themselves out between two or more practices.
Digital platforms can help you find assignments in areas of your choosing — plus so much more. For example and app like Cloud Dentistry allows users to create an account where they can set up profiles that include a photo, education, certifications and credentials, work history, schedule and availability and contact information.
Because so many practices have moved to offering part-time hours only, this app’s features are especially helpful in finding enough work to make up a full workweek. Digital platforms are helpful if you’re looking to fill up your schedule between different practices in your area, or are looking at moving between different cities.
You can search for jobs that are updated in real time, practices can search for you and you can essentially be available on-demand. When you connect with a potential assignment, you can interact to work out the details with them directly — very different from a placement agency. You are the one in control.
The bottom line
When it comes to finding work and making money as a dental hygienist, a digital hiring platform is the way to go. Choosing where you work and how often allows you to create a manageable work-life balance in any location that you wish to pursue other interests - lifestyle, academic or professional.
Saying goodbye to old school hiring practices like job boards and temp agencies can give you the sense of freedom you have always dreamed of having in a profession that has never before had a place in the mobile sphere.