A New Era of Temping for the Dental Hygienist

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Flexible schedules. Independence. Zero benefits. What do all these have in common? The answer: temping!

Whether you consider temping to be a regular part of your career—or whether you’ve sworn it off completely— you should know that in the last decade dental hygienists who’ve made the choice to temp have gone from being an uncommon occurrence to becoming a popular and significant part of the dental industry.

Really, though, what are the upsides to temping? What exactly is it that draws dental hygienists to consider the switch? Do the cons ever outweigh the pros? And how has temping changed? Here’s what we know:

Cons of Temping

  • Zero benefits—no insurance, no sick leave, no perks
  • Unreliable income and crossing your fingers while waiting on a paycheck
  • The ebb and flow of slow and busy seasons
  • The potential for substandard equipment and instruments in various practices
  • Patients regularly saying, “You’re not my hygienist. Are you new?”

Pros of Temping

  • Flexibility in creating your own schedule
  • The ability to say “no”
  • The feeling of independence and working for yourself
  • Expanding your professional network and the opportunities that follow
  • Branding yourself as a pillar in the local dental community

It’s important to note that each dental hygienist who chooses to temp obviously has their own personal list of pros, cons, and reasons for doing it—but in the end, those of us who choose temping as a career do so because we have built a network of reliable dental practices who trust, respect, and want us. For many, this is the icing on the temping cake.

I still remember the moment I first realized temping was an actual thing. Having moved to a new state and spending months searching for that “perfect” job, I soon came to recognize that a job search, by nature, can be extensive and a waste of valuable time. After applying to countless opportunities and undergoing too many painful interviews, I came across a listing for a dental hygiene staffing agency. Fascinated, I thus began my temping journey.

As life and its adventures began to take me from state to state, I discovered that it made more sense to eliminate the job search process altogether and officially call myself a “permanent” temp. At the time, I was the first in my professional circle to embark on this kind of a journey—no one gave me advice, no one was there to guide me, and I certainly didn’t realize how much I would rely on it in the future. But with increasing experience I began to build a network of dental practices which used me as their “go-to” temp. Astonishing as it sounds I would even be hired on the spot when handing out my resume in-person at dental practices! The result? A very busy—and content—dental hygienist. But the question remained: Was temping a viable long-term solution? Was it practical never to have the chance to receive benefits such as health insurance and 401(k)?

Times have changed—and so has temping. Take a moment and reflect on what it was like ten years ago when temping first began to take off—the stock market crashed, Barack Obama won the presidency, vampires were popular thanks to Twilight, the first iPhone was released, and Facebook had only recently opened up to anyone with a valid email address. Fast forward to today—gone are the days of the household fax machine, the “cool” flip phone, and business cards as a primary form of networking. Now we have Amazon, Uber, and an array of other new technologies which allow the world to be at our fingertips. For dental hygienists who temp, we now have onDiem!

Every so often a product or service comes around that has the ability to revolutionize an industry, and onDiem is truly doing just that for dental professionals and dental practices across the nation. Based in Portland, Oregon, onDiem is an on-demand staffing app that instantly connects clinicians to the very practices who need their services. Free to sign up and make a profile, temporary and permanent job opportunities will land in your inbox as soon as the practice posts them. Because it is in real-time, sometimes the job goes so fast that it doesn’t even register on the job board. Once you accept a position, you then use the app to check in and out of your shift, and onDiem will even take care of paying you directly! No more waiting around until the next pay period and hoping the practice remembered to add you to the payroll (let alone the follow-up headache that arises when they haven’t).

But what’s the most exciting thing about onDiem? In 2019, onDiem will offer health insurance and 401(k) benefits to dental professionals who temp an average of 16 hours per week! This fact alone has the ability to transform the lives of many hygienists who are locked into full-time, permanent positions. This alone will empower hygienists to become their own boss and perhaps begin living the lifestyle they’ve always dreamed of. This alone has the chance to revolutionize the current dental climate and promote better work environments for dental hygienists everywhere!

Gone are the days of old-school temping—no more sacrificing benefits, no more waiting on paychecks, and no more business cards.  OnDiem is helping to introduce a movement making job placement easy and efficient and at the same time empowering dental hygienists everywhere. A new era has arrived in temping, and with that comes an optimistic outlook for the future of the dental profession!

Check out onDiem today!

SEE ALSO: Tempted to Temp? 10 Ways to Prepare Yourself for the Best Day Possible

DON’T MISS: Ask Kara RDH: Inadequate Instruments when Temping

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Melissa Turner, CPDH, EFDA, BASDH
Melissa Turner, CPDH, EFDA, BASDH, is a Collaborative Practice Dental Hygienist in alternative practice settings in Minnesota. She is Director of Volunteer Operations for Operation Grace MN, a mobile dental program which provides free dental care to underserved students in schools. Melissa has practiced clinically across the country and is a key player in various projects related to oral health literacy, improving access to care, and promoting inter-professional collaboration. She is an active leader in the Minnesota Dental Hygienists’ Association and is Executive Moderator for The Dental Peeps Network. Melissa is the founder of I Heart Mobile Dentistry, an international Facebook group geared towards the networking of clinicians who practice all variations of mobile dentistry.