Carmen has been a traveling dental hygienist since 1995. She also is the current delegate for the Germany Dental Hygiene Association for the International Federation and the European Dental Hygiene Federation.
Country of Origin: Canada
Country where employed abroad: I currently live in Munich, Germany. I’ve worked here from 1995-1998 and then from 2001 on.
What did you most enjoy? Why? I am very happy at my office, I have so many chances to do new things and be part of making a unique situation and leading in the Industry.
What inspired you to move abroad? A fellow graduated from my class of hygiene (1988) went to Switzerland, and I was envious. I thought, “How cool is that?”, but I had a good job at the time. In 1992, the IFDH/ISDH was held in Den Hague and there were ads all over the place (this was way before the Internet) for Jobs in Switzerland and Germany. So, I answered one.
What practice did you work for and in which speciality? Makeup of staff, etc? My office is known for Periodontology and Implantology, with some of the best in the World. We also have a specialist in Endo and 2 General Dentists. Our Hygiene Department has 5RDHs/Dip DH, all bringing a unique perspective.
I love that we have the chance to be totally evidence-based, with some of the best equipment around. The Drs totally support us and our extra endeavours. I do freelance lecturing/workshops, and my coworker from Italy teaches part-time in Italy. But it can be hard working in another language all day long and we do have some long days.
What were the patients like? Any exceptional experiences? Good or bad? Our patients are very compliant, its a nice change, most come to us knowing that they have to comply to maintain a healthy mouth and smile. Dealing with German insurance systems can be hard. I have built a good rapport with many of the patients. I recently lost my dad and the patients have been supportive of me; also listening to me and supporting me emotionally. I prefer to think only of the good! We all have bad experience with patients, and I like to think of them as learning experiences.
How did the experience change you as a person? Professionally? Personally? I feel I have become stronger as a woman, and an independent woman….. I have accomplished everything myself! Learned a language to work in another country and fully integrated in my country of choice. I have grown professionally. I am the current delegate for the Germany Dental Hygiene Association for the International Federation and the European Dental Hygiene Federation. I am not afraid to be alone, I enjoy travelling on my own, people watching, and immersing myself in the culture.
The DDHV (our professional association) is working hard to get an Internationally recognized/European standard of care University program. It will be a 3 year, full-time Bachelors program.
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