Hygiene vs. Nursing

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Terry in Toronto, Ontario

51 months ago

Nursing and dental hygienist is not my cup of tea. I don't like the look of blood, body fluids or anything like that. hospitals smells make me sick. What esle can i do?

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twinsy in Miami, Oklahoma

51 months ago

Well, seems as though you may be interested in the medical field since you're on this site but don't want to poke and prode and deal with blood so think about being a Physical Therapist or physical therapist assistant - it's a good field. As our population ages more and more people will need rehab. You won't have to deal with blood and smells (unless you decide to work in the hospital, but you don't have to.) There's always research, psychology, school counseling, and genetics, to name a few ideas.

Good luck on your search for the perfect career.

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Mary in Montreal, Quebec

48 months ago

rn2dh in Montreal, Quebec said: Well i was in Rn program at vanier. I got to surgical and its hard.. and now planning to go to dental hygienist and hope things will work out.

Hi, rn2dh! I am currently planning on pursuing nursing education in Montreal right now and was wondering - although you have changed careers - if you could give me some insight on what the curriculum and clinical training was like and the pros/cons about med/surg.

P.S. I wish you good luck in your new career path :)

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Andi in Cantonment, Florida

46 months ago

DENTAL HYGIENISTS MAKE WAY MORE MONEY THAN NURSES!!!!! TRUST ME I KNOW I HAVE BOTH MY RN DEGREE AND MY RDH DEGREE!!!! AND DENTAL HYGIENE SCHOOL IS HARDER!!!!! CHECK OUT FLACHOICES.ORG.... AND LOOK UP BOTH CAREERS AND SEE THE UP TO DATE INFO ON THE PAYSCALE FOR BOTH.

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Jessica in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

44 months ago

Hi! I need help deciding my future.... I can't decide between three things: Dental Hygiene, Nursing, or Physical Therapy. PT seems too hard for me unfortunately, so I am leaning more towards the other too. Although I have a love for going to the dentist, I do not know that dental hygiene is what I really want to go into. And as far as nursing, my sister is in her second semester in the RN program and basically makes it seem like hell. I am really unsure where to go with this. And I have to decide my final classes for my pre requistes at the junior college I am attending tomorrow. PLEASE HELP!!

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Lori in Ottawa, Ontario

44 months ago

I practiced dental hygiene for 24 years before going into the BScN program. I am working in mental health and find it more autonomous and rewarding. Dental hygiene is very physically demanding.

I just graduated with a MScN this spring. I wish I had made this change earlier in my career as I have no seniority.

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pezamber in Elwood, Indiana

44 months ago

I guess dental hygienists make a little more per hour than an RN, but not so much more that you stlll shouldn't consider nursing. Another thing to bear in mind is that you only make hygiene wages when you have a hygiene job. They are extremely scarce. Nursing offers upward mobility (if you want it) where hygiene does not. You can get your Bachelor's in hygiene, but it is completely meaningless since it won't make you more money. These comments come from an 11 year hygienist who is getting prerequ's done for nursing school.

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klacy in Beaumont, Texas

39 months ago

Jay in Buffalo, New York said: As for what is harder, all I can say is that with nursing, it's all about critical thinking. DH have a patient for an hour or so on average, and that's it. We have to care and critically think about the same patients and their conditions for our whole 12 hour shift, and a TON can happen in 12 hours, also given that you have to do this with all your patients at the same time. That's the hard part, is dealing with everyones problems at the same time and doing it in a timely manner... I'm sure DH has it's challenges, but nursing is way more stressful and hard.

No one actually knows. We had an RN in our program that almost failed many times. She said it was alot harder. And your wrong. We see our patients multiple times throughout the year. Especially the one with medical issues since the require more frequent care so we think about each alot and actually get pretty close to many of them. There are way more nurses than dental hygienist. Everyone likes to think theirs is harder.

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Jennifer in Beaumont, Texas

39 months ago

pezamber in Elwood, Indiana said: I guess dental hygienists make a little more per hour than an RN, but not so much more that you stlll shouldn't consider nursing. Another thing to bear in mind is that you only make hygiene wages when you have a hygiene job. They are extremely scarce. Nursing offers upward mobility (if you want it) where hygiene does not. You can get your Bachelor's in hygiene, but it is completely meaningless since it won't make you more money. These comments come from an 11 year hygienist who is getting prerequ's done for nursing school.

I make $350 a day plus comission. It pays very well. And I have a friend that has worked for 15 years as a hygienist and she makes $90k...not too shabby. You can clean up feces and nasty bodily fluids and walk around taking blood pressure if you want or you can clean a dirty mouth. Which is more appealing?

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brambleton in Ashburn, Virginia

39 months ago

Jennifer in Beaumont, Texas said: I make $350 a day plus comission. It pays very well. And I have a friend that has worked for 15 years as a hygienist and she makes $90k...not too shabby. You can clean up feces and nasty bodily fluids and walk around taking blood pressure if you want or you can clean a dirty mouth. Which is more appealing?

I'm an RN in a float pool which pays $55.00/hr with differentials. We have techs on every unit who do most of the clean up and take all vitals. I do sometimes clean up dirty mouthes, called 'oral care' and clean out trachs if on an ICU unit. There is much more variety and options for RNs including positions with zero patient contact. Which is more appealing?

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Anys6 in fort collins, Colorado

39 months ago

brambleton in Ashburn, Virginia said: I'm an RN in a float pool which pays $55.00/hr with differentials. We have techs on every unit who do most of the clean up and take all vitals. I do sometimes clean up dirty mouthes, called 'oral care' and clean out trachs if on an ICU unit. There is much more variety and options for RNs including positions with zero patient contact. Which is more appealing?

We all make our choices :) By the way, 'oral care' is more than sticking a moist sponge in pts mouth he he. There are certainly more options for RN. I've worked in a nursing home and hospitals and definitely prefer being an RDH. My sister in law works gastroenterology, guess what she looks at all day ? he he

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brambleton in Chantilly, Virginia

39 months ago

Anys6 in fort collins, Colorado said: We all make our choices :) By the way, 'oral care' is more than sticking a moist sponge in pts mouth he he. There are certainly more options for RN. I've worked in a nursing home and hospitals and definitely prefer being an RDH. My sister in law works gastroenterology, guess what she looks at all day ? he he

Gastroenterology is one of the cleanest units, no poop since patients are cleaned out prior to the procedure. And as to what you look at all day depends on whether you work in the procedural room or recovery. It's not what you think. There's a lot more poop and butts on other units. Your sister_in_law has it made!

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Tracy in Marietta, Georgia

39 months ago

I have been a RDH for 21 years and can say that the pay is good if you can get the hours and in a good office. But you must "PRODUCE" to get it. I am now only working 2 days a week due to being laid off twice in the past 3 years. Most openings I apply for don't even get a call back, and a lot of the openings ask for salary requirements when you apply. Having experience I believe is working against me since they think I want more money --- I just want a job in order to keep my house. I am so tired of being in a profession that pushes to make money and not care for patients -- I don't think it should be a profit generator. Many offices send you home if the schedule isn't full. So if you expect to work your 8 or 10 hour day you are SOL if people cancel -- you will go home early. OH, and most offices do not pay any vacation, holidays, health insurance, or even dental. I have thought of going into nursing for 10 years, and plan on applying soon. At least there are benefits.

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Nicole in Mandeville, Jamaica

35 months ago

I am did a few years in nursing before changing my major to Dental Hygiene. I am sure that Dental hygiene course work is much harder than nursing. With Nursing u r sure of a job but with Dental Hygiene finding a job can be sticky at times. The good thing about Dental Hygiene is that you can make a good salary without putting in as much hrs as nurses have to. Dental Hygiene pays once u find urself in the rite place.

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jacara in Shakopee, Minnesota

34 months ago

You can compare and contrast RN program and RDH program. I don;t agree that DH is easier. I've been in it and i tell you, yes, you can worry about someone dying in the chair. We use Anesthetics to numb people up and NO2. we take Medical history and conditions seriously. There are people we cannot risk to treat cause they may be an emergency about to happen. There are people we can't clean their teeth cause their teeth may be too brittle or too bad to clean, if their tooth falls out, we may be sued,etc.
I know people think just cause a patient lies in a chair, nothing can happen. Oh yes, lots of things can happen, they can move, they can choke with water. I however think though since the care a nurse does is broad cause one day u dealth with different systems of the body unlike hygiene where we deal with the oral health but it is still tied to the body.

reba in Erlanger, Kentucky said: I am a nurse and I worked 8 hours a day 5 days a week to get my degree. This left little time for work or family. The pre requisites are the exact same for my dental hygiene program I am going entering and I don't think that the clinical experiences can even be compared. They are two very different jobs. I am sure no one was coded or died during the dental hygiene clinicals. I am pretty sure you don't worry about which one of your patients could code or die at any point in your day when you are cleaning their teeth. I am almost sure that when you care plan your plan could not potentially miss something that will endanger a patient and ultimately end you up in court. I am sure that hygiene school is demanding but honestly can you truly compare it to nursing. They are two very different job types. I am for one glad to be getting out of nursing.

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Lucy in Des Plaines, Illinois

32 months ago

Jaclyn in Princeton, Missouri said: Yes DH is harder than Nursing. I am currently a Dental Hygiene student and I can tell you that for a DH degree more classes are involved..such as physical science classes..Chemistry..Biology. In Nursing the only prerequisites are A&P and Microbiology. Plus the math is different in DH with College Algebra being incorporated and with Nursing only Allied Health Math.

I am a nursing student and our prerequisities are biology, chemistry (bio and organic), A&P, Microbiology, and Pathophysiology. We have to take stats & three psych classes. I think nursing is harder than DH.

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brambleton in Chantilly, Virginia

32 months ago

Lucy in Des Plaines, Illinois said: I am a nursing student and our prerequisities are biology, chemistry (bio and organic), A&P, Microbiology, and Pathophysiology. We have to take stats & three psych classes. I think nursing is harder than DH.

I don't think that the studies are more difficult in one versus the other but I know that RNs have many more options while DHs have ONE job function. DHs can not work in all fields of medicine, research and academia. Everything that they do has to relate to "dental hygiene". As an RN, you can also be involved in dental care. I have a friend who is a dental nurse anesthetist and another who is a clinical nurse researcher at NIH, working with oral surgeons. While RNs sometimes clean up patients, that is the primary job function of the tech or nurse's aide, DHs clean almost all the time, as "hygiene" IS their primary function along with the other tasks. It is true that an emergency can occur while a patient is in the dentist's chair but that is rare. Let me say that again, IT IS RARE! I would be shocked to hear, TRAUMA WHITE, CODE BLUE, RAPID RESPONSE, or anything of that nature in the dental office. The dental office can be considered an extremely low acuity care office with no crash cart, helipad, resuscitative drugs...etc...

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avidflosser in Boston, Massachusetts

31 months ago

Thanks very much for the details. I´ve been licensed in several states due to that very problem, job security,etc. I´m currently looking for work and am considering Nursing, I found some BSRN accelerated programs for those of us who have BS degrees but my courses are more than 10 years old so I would basically have to take A&P, Micro, Chem ALL OVER again and this is tough because there is no guaranteed entry.. please advise! I still love Hyg and wish I´d been a dentist or started the comparison of fields. YOU go! varied professional life.

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avidflosser in Boston, Massachusetts

31 months ago

Does anyone know for sure if Malpractice Insurance is absolutely mandatory for Hyg with Local Anesthesia Cert but IS NOT practicing? I´ve checked the massgov. site but can´t get a clear answer.
Thanks

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RDH, BSDH in Louisville, Kentucky

31 months ago

Rachel Star in Long Beach, California said: Well lets take a look at both jobs. I was told by someone in my prerequisite classes( that is going into RN) that I have a nurses brain and that if I went into Hyg. I would be making less money and get carpal tunnel.
I am afraid of working with sick and elderly patients. Maybe babies or mental patients, but teeth and periodontal disease just are not scary to me. I want to get the world to floss.

As a registered dental hygienist, I just graduated and make 30/hr doing what I love. As for carpel tunnel, one must have proper ergonomics, or they'll pay the consequences.

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RDH, BSDH in Louisville, Kentucky

31 months ago

brambleton in Chantilly, Virginia said: I don't think that the studies are more difficult in one versus the other but I know that RNs have many more options while DHs have ONE job function. DHs can not work in all fields of medicine, research and academia. Everything that they do has to relate to "dental hygiene". As an RN, you can also be involved in dental care. I have a friend who is a dental nurse anesthetist and another who is a clinical nurse researcher at NIH, working with oral surgeons. While RNs sometimes clean up patients, that is the primary job function of the tech or nurse's aide, DHs clean almost all the time, as "hygiene" IS their primary function along with the other tasks. It is true that an emergency can occur while a patient is in the dentist's chair but that is rare. Let me say that again, IT IS RARE! I would be shocked to hear, TRAUMA WHITE, CODE BLUE, RAPID RESPONSE, or anything of that nature in the dental office. The dental office can be considered an extremely low acuity care office with no crash cart, helipad, resuscitative drugs...etc...

Yes, nursing is more stressful. That's why I became a registered dental hygienist as opposed to a nurse. With a bachelor in dental hygiene, one CAN go into research, academia, dental sales and even corporate positions. By stating that RDH have only 'ONE' job function shows that you haven't done your 'research'. I and other RDH are able to be licensed to admister anesthesia like your friend. I feel nurses are underpaid. I just graduated, love what I do and make 30/hr.

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RDH, BSDH in Louisville, Kentucky

31 months ago

brambleton in Ashburn, Virginia said: I'm an RN in a float pool which pays $55.00/hr with differentials. We have techs on every unit who do most of the clean up and take all vitals. I do sometimes clean up dirty mouthes, called 'oral care' and clean out trachs if on an ICU unit. There is much more variety and options for RNs including positions with zero patient contact. Which is more appealing?

Dental hygiene for sure. I would consider trach care, wound care and 'oral care' clean up. :). Dental hygienist can have zero patient contact as well with research, education, dental sale and corporate positions. Which is more appealing?

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RDH, BSDH in Louisville, Kentucky

31 months ago

brambleton in Ashburn, Virginia said: I'm an RN in a float pool which pays $55.00/hr with differentials. We have techs on every unit who do most of the clean up and take all vitals. I do sometimes clean up dirty mouthes, called 'oral care' and clean out trachs if on an ICU unit. There is much more variety and options for RNs including positions with zero patient contact. Which is more appealing?

Dental hygiene for sure. I would consider trach care, wound care and 'oral care' clean up. :). Dental hygienist can have zero patient contact as well with research, education, dental sale and corporate positions. Which is more appealing?

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brambleton in Chantilly, Virginia

31 months ago

For me, I don't feel that either careers are 'appealing' but I know that nursing offers more options. I love all of the DHs at my dentists' office. I can see and compare the amount of cleaning that I see them doing versus the amount that I do. DH do about 90% cleaning and 10% non-cleaning tasks. There is nothing negative about cleaning IMO and it is certainly not beneath me to clean my patient from head to toe whenever needed. I feel that nursing offers more mobility and chances in advancement, all the way to CEO of a hospital. The salary varies greatly in my area where LPNs can start in the 30Ks and nurse anesthetists start at 180K. It depends on whether you work in a LTC, hospital, community facility, Federal government, school system, state facility, and your particular area of expertise. The bottom line is that it's a matter of personal preference.That is all. I feel no need to defend nursing. It is a well established and respected profession and yes, no matter what the salary is, RNs are underpaid for the amount of responsibility required. Choose whichever path works for your life and Merry Christmas!

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brambleton in Chantilly, Virginia

31 months ago

RDH, BSDH in Louisville, Kentucky said: Yes, nursing is more stressful. That's why I became a registered dental hygienist as opposed to a nurse. With a bachelor in dental hygiene, one CAN go into research, academia, dental sales and even corporate positions. By stating that RDH have only 'ONE' job function shows that you haven't done your 'research'. I and other RDH are able to be licensed to admister anesthesia like your friend. I feel nurses are underpaid. I just graduated, love what I do and make 30/hr.

Just to clarify, you and your friends would NOT be able to administer anesthesia like CRNAs. You are limited to the dental office. You would never be able to administer anesthesia in an Operating Room for heart surgeries, brain surgeries, or even a bunion. There is no comparison between the two scopes of practice. To be a nurse anesthetist, you have to complete 72 hours of graduate work. This will change to a doctorate requirement in 2015.

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RDH, BSDH in Louisville, Kentucky

31 months ago

brambleton in Chantilly, Virginia said: Just to clarify, you and your friends would NOT be able to administer anesthesia like CRNAs. You are limited to the dental office. You would never be able to administer anesthesia in an Operating Room for heart surgeries, brain surgeries, or even a bunion. There is no comparison between the two scopes of practice. To be a nurse anesthetist, you have to complete 72 hours of graduate work. This will change to a doctorate requirement in 2015.

To clarify, this post is regarding RNs and RDHs. CRNAs have completely different job responsibilities than RNs. I am well aware that my licensing to administer local anesthesia is limited to dental practice. I replied to your post that your friend was a dental nurse anesthetist- and 'defended' my profession based on your uneducated comments. Also, what kind a reference is 'you and your friends'? It's more appropriate to refer to them as cohorts, co-workers or colleagues- not 'friends'.

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Karen in Westfield, New Jersey

30 months ago

There are nurses who can administer sedation anesthetics like propofol in the GI lab without a CRNA degree in NJ . They have been nursing over 25 years and it is done under the watch of a physician ...otehr states , situations may be different .....

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Karen in Westfield, New Jersey

30 months ago

avidflosser in Boston, Massachusetts said: Thanks very much for the details. I´ve been licensed in several states due to that very problem, job security,etc. I´m currently looking for work and am considering Nursing, I found some BSRN accelerated programs for those of us who have BS degrees but my courses are more than 10 years old so I would basically have to take A&P, Micro, Chem ALL OVER again and this is tough because there is no guaranteed entry.. please advise! I still love Hyg and wish I´d been a dentist or started the comparison of fields. YOU go! varied professional life.

DONT = the nursing field is over subscribed as it is..many nurses graduate and cant get jobs...I am an LPN but am seeking work in clerical since there is no work in NJ for new grads...even RNs are having a hard time. The schools keep poping them out - since they are getting federal money anyway to pay for the schooling....if I knew what I known now I would have signed up for another field ..I love nursing but once you hit 50 you are done...too mnay of my friends over 50 have been fired without cause or dismissed ..and new out of school twenty year old RNS hired...now even the 20 year olds arent getting hired ..

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RDHCJ in Boston, Massachusetts

30 months ago

Amanda in Moulton, Alabama said: Has anyone went to nursing school and Hygiene school? I was wondering which was more challenging?

Both are equally difficult. Nurses have more job opportunities though than hygienists. I recommend not assuming either program will be easy because neither are!

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RDHCJ in Boston, Massachusetts

30 months ago

Amy311 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma said: You can't be a NP without your RN license...so you can't just go into the NP program with any bachelors. There are some NP programs that will let you in with another bachelors other than BSN but you have to at least have an Associates RN.

Completely WRONG. There are programs if you have a BS/BA in any field you can become a NP without getting the RN degree first (you become an RN IN the NP program). UMass medical school in Worcester MA is an example. They have a BS/BA to NP program for anyone with a BS/BA who wants to become a nurse and then a nurse practitioner (masters program). It has several prereq requirements and you need letters of reference but it is a way for NON RNs to get into the field and get a higher degree if they already have a BS/BA. So your answer is lacking any real knowledge of the options out there.
Google UMass Medical school's school of nursing if you don't believe me.

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Lori in Carleton Place, Ontario

30 months ago

As a graduate of both I agree!

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RDHCJ in Boston, Massachusetts

30 months ago

avidflosser in Boston, Massachusetts said: Does anyone know for sure if Malpractice Insurance is absolutely mandatory for Hyg with Local Anesthesia Cert but IS NOT practicing? I´ve checked the massgov. site but can´t get a clear answer.
Thanks

I am a MA dental hygienist also. You do NOT have to have malpractice insurance at all, even if working. It is not a requirement. It is recommended to have though and you can purchase it through ADHA for only 66 or 77 dollars and it covers you up to several MILLIONS of dollars. It is worth it. If you aren't working then no don't buy it. If you are working then buy it! I have chosen to buy the 66 dollar coverage each year. It covers up to something like 1 or 2 million in coverage.

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RDHCJ in Boston, Massachusetts

30 months ago

Mandy Norton in Richmond Hill, Georgia said: I have looked into both RN and DH. I have a passion for both. I am closer to DH school than nursing because the DH program is an associate's degree. The nursing is a BSN. I am applying real soon for DH and they are only accepting 30 people and RN is accepting 80. I aced A&P. Micro in the process. I feel I will be okay, but I just am nervous if I do get accepted than it will be tempting to take before I know if I got accepted to nursing. Which one would I most benefit from, because I don't want to get out of DH school and not be able to get a job. I am so frustrated, can anyone help me out?

Do not go for DH! I hope you didn't go for it. I am a RDH and can't find my work after 3+ years of looking and working part time! Nursing is much better!

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RDHCJ in Boston, Massachusetts

30 months ago

Sonia in North Las Vegas, Nevada said: Hello Every one :)... Okay well let me start by telling you that im 19 Years old and just recently getting back into school since...

FYI actually RDHs were originally called "Dental nurses" that is why the two professions (RDH and RN) are compared. RDHs used to have to wear RN uniforms! The cap and the white dress with the nylons and white shoes. Both programs are equally difficult, involve clinical hands on work (as well as lectures and exams), require state and national licensing, and are difficult to get into the programs and complete. One works with focus on mouth/head/neck (and basic whole body knowledge) and the other works with the whole body with less focus on one specific area. I think RNs have much more career options than RDHs and RNs usually get benefits (like health insurance and vacation and even sick days) whereas RDHs do not get benefits.

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ESRDH in Detroit, Michigan

28 months ago

Mindy RDH in Lewisville, Texas said: I'm an RDH in Texas. What I find most frustrating about hygiene is there a lot of dentists that are hard to work with. Also, I find that some offices are way more concerned about the bottom line than the quality of patient care. I understand that the dentist has to make a profit but some places will only give 30 to 40 minutes for an adult prophy! To me that is so ridiculous! (I do a lot of temping) I have been practicing for over 2 years and I am already looking into nursing school. I want something that has benefits and time off. I currently work 2 part-time jobs and will never get any type of benefits. I love working with the patients and I want a job that makes a difference! I am hoping nursing will be the right career for me!

Mindy! thanks for the good advice! I am currenly a RDH and not happy with it so I am thinking of going for Nursing. I really appreciate your imput.

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lori in Smiths Falls, Ontario

28 months ago

I echo your comments after a 24 year career in dental Hygiene I went on to get a BScN and MScN.

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Anon in Rota, Northern Mariana Islands

28 months ago

Well, I'm an RN and I guess I'm saying the grass looks greener on the other side.

I really feel the career depends on the type of person you are.
I'm much of an introvert and not a 'multitasker'. Being RN I have about 5-6 pts average who can code. I'm not only taking care of my pts but also the family as theyre in the room asking questions (and honestly IDK the hundred diff side effects for all the meds, and not knowing makes me feel like an idiot). sometimes they say, 'the nurses dont spend enough time w/ pts', well, try having 2-3 bedridden (one who is constantly having diarrhea d/t some medication or prep bowel cleanse), one in constant pain, one who has tough family. And doctors returning my calls @ busiest. And with the 'holistic care' going on, wondering if they are being cared as a 'whole' person, discuss feelings about such n such. I mean.. I always get home and feel like I was never enough. not only that, I worry if I gave all due meds, did all the prep for whatever is scheduled for pt, or simply wonder I made no errors.

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Anon in Rota, Northern Mariana Islands

28 months ago

(continued...)

I see some nurses do just and thrive w so much potential for growth!.
For me, with all these mental/emotional stress I just cant enjoy my personal life. I guess i can put with physical demand for now since I'm young.

Some say hygienist job can be mundane, but @ this point, I would prefer that over unpredictables. That nagging feeling of unpredictable-ness drains my energy.

And with colleagues (such as Dr or dentists or other nurses), I'm guessing there are people good/bad EVERYWHERE in ANY PLACE/JOB. As well as inequality or favoritism. So, not much to say there.

Wish I could do 'technical' part, be done w a pt as hygienist do. Not worry building good relationship w pt & family since I'll be seeing them for 3-4 days for 12hours.

Again, nursing is not bad, It just doesn't seem right for ME.
So, if u like dynamics and have good interpersonal skills you may b satisfied just like many of my colleagues!
I prefer to shut my mouth & do my job:)

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ANONYMOUS in Scranton, Pennsylvania

27 months ago

Actually, you are completely wrong. I live in Pennsylvania and most of my friends ended up failing the dental hygiene program and switching to nursing. I was fourth in my graduating class with a 108 GPA before I went to college for a degree in Psychology and switched to dental and am the first to admit how intense the programs are. We know so much more than others perceive of us and I find it extremely offensive how undermined we are. We have plenty of medical emergencies and problems that arise. Did you know that most diseases are discovered in the oral cavitry first? While someone is laying in a hospital bed from leukemia, did you know it could have been a referral from a dental office? We know so much about our patients and are not spending one day or five minutes in a room with them but years of getting to know their health and overall lives. We are telling them the importance of systemic health and how much research now supports the connection of periodontal disease with hundreds of probelms in the body including heart disease, liver disease and even most low birthweight babies. Ask us a question a nurse knows and we will know the answer also. We are dedicating ourselves to help the health of others and just "cleaning" teeth is not what we are doing. My mother had a abcess and was told the specific bacteria could have soon traveled to her brain and killed her and I discovered it radiographically. So is that just cleaning them then? We took most of the same courses and both have clinicals and everyone I know says our program is still so much in depth because it is a specific type of field. We have to know the connection of oral health with the entire body so we are just as important, thank you very much. I am sure the nursing program is very difficult but do not compare yourself to us in dental.

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blackhammer71 in Duncanville, Texas

27 months ago

Jaclyn in Princeton, Missouri said: Yes DH is harder than Nursing. I am currently a Dental Hygiene student and I can tell you that for a DH degree more classes are involved..such as physical science classes..Chemistry..Biology. In Nursing the only prerequisites are A&P and Microbiology. Plus the math is different in DH with College Algebra being incorporated and with Nursing only Allied Health Math.

Whoa!!! What RN school did you attend? The only prereq's are not A&P and Micro. Chem is also a requirement in the DFW area along with College Algebra AND Statistics (what in the world is Allied Health Math?). I hope I don't find myself in Missouri and become ill.

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TrippinRN in Euless, Texas

26 months ago

Amy311 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma said: You can't be a NP without your RN license...so you can't just go into the NP program with any bachelors. There are some NP programs that will let you in with another bachelors other than BSN but you have to at least have an Associates RN.

That's not true, my mom is a NP and didn't have an RN going in, just a BS in Biology. Almost all NP schools allow you to get your MSN to be a NP with a a BS outside of nursing through the accelerated program which allows you to get a BSN while working on your masters through transition courses. It takes 3 years (2 for nursing classes, 1 for your NP specialty...usually). Why do so many people comment on things they don't know about?! Lol a quick google search for pre-reqs to any NP school will answer that in about 12 seconds lol

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Michael ST00 in Sacramento, California

26 months ago

Hi friends,

I came across this forum and it seems very interesting to me. In my opinion, a degree in both, dental hygiene or nursing, is equally important. These two professions being discussed here have totally different duties and responsibilities in their professional field. As for which one is harder in school, I think they both are equally difficult in their own aspects. I am a entering-dental hygiene student, but I have taken both prerequisites for hygiene and nursing and the preres are all the same. The only difference is that you have to take the Human Development/Life Span course to get into nursing. On the other hand, you have to take organic chemistry course (chem 306 in my college) to get into dental hygiene. Other same prerequisites are such; introduction to chemistry, human anatomy&physiology, psychology, nutrition, etc. Oh, dental hygiene requires geometry with the intermediate algebra while nursing only requires the intermediate algebra course.

As for the job opportunities/advancement part, I would say nursing has more potential in career advancement and more jobs available out there at this time of economic crisis. Plus, nursing can give you better benefits (one I consider to be great) if you get to work in a hospital.

For dental hygiene, I think it has less job opportunities/career advancement. Also, I see many negative posts here regarding job availability for dental hygienists in the current workforce from people who are dental hygienists now.
But I still don't think that there are less job availabilities for dental hygienist because the market is saturated. I think there are less opportunities is because the dentists or whoever is at the top are being greedy and want to keep all the money.

Here is my reason why I said that. For example, it takes about 2 months before you can see the dentist when you try to make an appointment. In my opinion, this tells me that they are still many people out there who need dental cares.

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Maria Roach,RN,BSN in Trumbull, Connecticut

24 months ago

Becoming an RN is the best thing I ever did for myself; its been my highest accolade so to speak. Can you further your profession as a RN and specialize?? Why Im glad you asked. With the current shortage of Primary Care Providers, nurses have stepped up to the plate in their roles as APRN's, which requires a masters in nursing, and have provided exceptional care to many patients as well as prescribe medications under an MD's oversite. In many states, APRN's can practise alone. I dont know what its like to be a hygienist, nor was it ever an interesting career that i would ever venture into. I find the thought of staring into someones mouth for more than 5 minutes boring. Nursing on the other hand,
does offer potential to further your career in many directions with great possibilities and oppurtunites.

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Maria Roach,RN,BSN in Trumbull, Connecticut

24 months ago

I am a registered nurse. I would never put down any healthcare profession. Why should I? Its not about whose schooling is more in depth or how difficult it is to get into school. The bottom line, we are serving humanity and getting paid to do so and as both of our roles are different, unique, and help humans to live a better life, respecting the differences we can bring to people to improve their quality of life is the common vein we share.So lets celebrate the differences in health care delivery and collaborate and respect more the hard work and dedication that we can each individually bring to the table.

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Teila K. Day in Richmond, Indiana

20 months ago

AshleySmith15 in Memphis, Tennessee said: I have a Bachelors degree in Dental Hygiene. Is there any where that will accept any Bachelors degree into the Nurse Practitioner programs. I want to become a nurse practitioner but wasn't sure if I have to have a Bachelors in nursing or if it could be in Dental Hygiene to be accepted into a NP program.

Basically you have to have your RN license first, before you can start your NP program which is usually a graduate school program. At some schools it doesn't matter what your degree is in (accounting, nursing, wood carving) and you enter into the Masters program as a student-with-a-unrelated-bachelors-degree.... where you basically earn the meat and potatoes of the undergrad RN program first, then continue with your masters work. In the end you usually get a MS in one of the nurse practitioner areas of concentration. :)

Research various Master Degree programs in nursing and you'll find some that allow you to enter the program as long as you have a 4 year degree (in anything)... again, don't be mislead, you will be expected to finish some sort of "bridge" course work to get you up to speed.

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Teila K. Day in Richmond, Indiana

20 months ago

Jaclyn in Princeton, Missouri said: Yes DH is harder than Nursing. I am currently a Dental Hygiene student and I can tell you that for a DH degree more classes are involved..such as physical science classes.. Chemistry .. Biology . In Nursing the only prerequisites are A&P and Microbiology. Plus the math is different in DH with College Algebra being incorporated and with Nursing only Allied Health Math.

That is not correct- the part that you're not mentioning or are totally oblivious to, is that the requirements depend on what school you're attending. Some nursing schools require general chemistry and college algebra, others don't. The same is true with DH schools. I'm surprised you don't know that because that should be basic common knowledge to any college student. Why do you think people ask "Did you go to a hard school or an easy school?"

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Annie in Shirley, New York

19 months ago

I am going back and forth between RDH and a RN.I live in NY and would love to hear advice from both sides in these careers. I know that both degrees are challenging I am looking more at job availability and pay. I am a mother of 4 and left to support us on my own so I do not want to make the wrong decision.

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Teila K. Day in Richmond, Indiana

19 months ago

Annie in Shirley, New York said: I am going back and forth between RDH and a RN.I live in NY and would love to hear advice from both sides in these careers. I know that both degrees are challenging I am looking more at job availability and pay. I am a mother of 4 and left to support us on my own so I do not want to make the wrong decision.

Forget DH if you want the most options. While a lot of nursing graduates are having trouble finding work right now, nursing offers much better life-long options compared to DH hands down., including entering the military as an officer if you get an undergrad (BSN) or graduate (MSN or MS) degree in nursing which is required for active duty military. The other types of nurses in the military ere enlisted. You'd be at $60k per annum very quickly in the mil, and make considerably more than non-mil nursing counterparts. Only CRNA nurses make generally less in as opposed to out of the military.

You will have the option to work in clinics, long term health (often considered the arm pit of nursing), hospitals, psych clinics, prisons, schools, you name it...(expect $40-65k depending on locale).

Get a masters degree and you can become a nurse practitioner and have arguably more professional options than a physician assistant (expect $45-80k depending on locale/setting/etc). You have the option to apply to CRNA school (certified registered nurse anesthetist) and have a career administering anesthesia (these nurses actually give most of the anesthesia here in the U.S.... Most people think they're physicians ;). They make $90k - about $240k on the high end in rural locals or private settings and is the predominat area of nursing considered by men as it's the closest job you can get to being a anesthesiologist, aside for the non-nursing Anesthesia Assistant career, without attending med school.

If you're looking for full time work, career options, and have a family go for RN over DH hands down.

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Teila K. Day in Richmond, Indiana

19 months ago

Andi in Cantonment, Florida said: DENTAL HYGIENISTS MAKE WAY MORE MONEY THAN NURSES!!!!! TRUST ME I KNOW I HAVE BOTH MY RN DEGREE AND MY RDH DEGREE!!!! AND DENTAL HYGIENE SCHOOL IS HARDER!!!!! CHECK OUT FLACHOICES.ORG.... AND LOOK UP BOTH CAREERS AND SEE THE UP TO DATE INFO ON THE PAYSCALE FOR BOTH.

Hmmm... Might want to retake that statistics course you took with either degree. ;)

Pay scale sites on the web are notorious for leaving out vital information, and are just as grossly inaccurate on many professions as they are correct on others. DH do not have as many options as nurses and in this present economy it's easier to find a higher paying job as a nurse. In fact, while some DH make near $100k/yr, most do not, and those that do are usually DH that have been in the biz 10-20 yrs. Nurse anesthetists fresh out of CRNA school with only 2yrs critical care experience routinely make over $115k/yr, and within a year can pick up the additional course work to become a nurse practitioner just for giggles... Meaning, the CRNA can function as a typical RN, or nurse practitioner (assuming additional course work completed) which equates to many career options that can be found in virtually every nook and cranny in the U.S..

Everyone stop with the "which school is harder" nonsense. It depends who you are. The bottom line is that "harder" doesn't always translate into better pay, more secure pay or the ability to move up and branch out. Some Engineering majors think that English is a tougher major in comparison... So what? People are different.

The bottom line is that a DH can expect to start out at 17-22/hr just like a new RN. It is widely known that many DH positions are part time. It is good advice for people to look at what dental entities are currently paying DH instead of relying on silly Internet pay reporting sites that don't go into detail about what constitutes "salary" in their estimates, etc.. "salary" isn't just money...

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Annie in Shirley, New York

19 months ago

Teila K. Day in Richmond, Indiana said: Forget DH if you want the most options. While a lot of nursing graduates are having trouble finding work right now, nursing offers much better life-long options compared to DH hands down., including entering the military as an officer if you get an undergrad (BSN) or graduate (MSN or MS) degree in nursing which is required for active duty military. The other types of nurses in the military ere enlisted. You'd be at $60k per annum very quickly in the mil, and make considerably more than non-mil nursing counterparts. Only CRNA nurses make generally less in as opposed to out of the military.

You will have the option to work in clinics, long term health (often considered the arm pit of nursing), hospitals, psych clinics, prisons, schools, you name it...(expect $40-65k depending on locale).

Get a masters degree and you can become a nurse practitioner and have arguably more professional options than a physician assistant (expect $45-80k depending on locale/setting/etc). You have the option to apply to CRNA school (certified registered nurse anesthetist) and have a career administering anesthesia (these nurses actually give most of the anesthesia here in the U.S.... Most people think they're physicians ;). They make $90k - about $240k on the high end in rural locals or private settings and is the predominat area of nursing considered by men as it's the closest job you can get to being a anesthesiologist, aside for the non-nursing Anesthesia Assistant career, without attending med school.

If you're looking for full time work, career options, and have a family go for RN over DH hands down.

Thank you for the information it was very helpful. I was interested in becoming a Nurse anesthetist but everyone keeps telling me that any kind of nursing position is horrible.

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