Day in the Life of Christie Daye

Dental hygiene coach and part-time dental hygiene clinical instructor

01 May 2020

When did you graduate from the U of A?
I graduated from the Dental Hygiene Program in 2008 and received my Bachelor of Science Specialization in Dental Hygiene in 2009.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
After eight years solely in clinical practice, I branched out into dental hygiene coaching. As a dental hygiene coach, I collaborated chair-side with many dental-health professionals and dental teams, designed and facilitated hygiene and treatment planning workshops and streamlined dental office systems to improve practice standards and efficiency. It has been rewarding and enlightening to work alongside those in the dental field who remain committed to a high standard of care and who value their patients and the contributions of all talented individuals who make up their team. In my opinion, their office culture makes them the 'dental heroes' of our community.

In January 2019, I started as a part-time dental hygiene clinical instructor in the Dental Hygiene Program at the University of Alberta. Almost instantaneously, it became a role that provided me with a high level of job satisfaction. The students are enthusiastic, engaged and resilient. Their energy and passion for the profession reignite my desire to improve as both a clinician and an educator. I have grown both professionally and personally through my clinical teaching, reinforcing Aristotle's claim that 'teaching is the highest form of understanding.'

I always had an interest in dentistry and entertained the idea of education during the early years of my post-secondary study. I get the best of both worlds being a clinical instructor, and it prompted me to apply for a Masters in Health Sciences Education. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge and skills beginning in September 2020.

What has this crazy time been like for you?
This time of social distancing has been easier for me than for others, as I am an introvert. I usually have a packed daily agenda, but I have embraced this time to rest and reset. This has been the most decompressed I have been, possibly ever. I have been streaming online yoga and barre and doing interval training on the treadmill. I am hopeful this effort is balancing my increased indulgence of homemade cinnamon buns, muffins and candied pecans. My fur baby Molly is enjoying my time at home, although I am clearly upsetting her routine. She is missing her daily interaction with her furry friends at the dog park, but I keep her busy with frequent walks in our neighbourhood. My hygiene girlfriends arrange a weekly Houseparty hangout to enjoy a drink together virtually. For some, this isolation has increased the frequency with which we visit with each other, as life is usually too busy. Friends also have booked game nights where we use Zoom to play Remote Insensitivity, which is always good for a belly laugh.

Still, there are others, in particular my 91-year-old grandmother, who lives in an assisted living facility, who are struggling in these times. The restrictions placed on her facility have impacted her quality of life. Her family usually visits her frequently, but we have been limited to waving to her from the parking lot while she stands at her window and talks to us on the telephone. It has brought tears to my eyes, especially knowing she had to spend the Easter holiday and family birthdays alone in her suite.

For 25 years, I have been a committed Girl Guide member. I have transitioned my weekly Spark meetings to virtual sessions focusing on completing the program for the girls. With the warmer weather, we are focusing on trail signs, litter pick up, rock painting and planting flower seeds. Unfortunately, there will be no virtual 'Amazing Race' themed camp to replace their cancelled weekend camp in June. However, I hope to maintain contact, teach the girls some outdoor skills, facilitate activities and create memories through the virtual sessions. I cannot imagine how confusing these times are for 5- and 6-year-old girls. A significant hurdle for all Girl Guides is selling the delicious classic sandwich cookies this spring. Many stores across the country have agreed to help us with sales, for which we are grateful. You should be able to find them on your next trip out for essentials (wink, wink!).

With the recent announcement from Dr. Hinshaw concerning large gatherings for the summer, the board of directors and myself had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 6th annual golf tournament for The Shane Daye and Keith Nash Memorial Foundation. The golf event is the primary fundraiser for my brother's memorial foundation, making four scholarships available for post-secondary study or participation in sport academy programs for youth residing in my hometown of Fort McMurray.

I was looking forward to celebrating with the 2020 dental hygiene program graduates at the Dental Hygiene Alumni Chapter brunch following their convocation ceremony in June. These events, among many others to celebrate the milestone achievement of the graduates, have sadly been cancelled. However, the directors and executives of the Dental Hygiene Alumni Chapter have been discussing alternatives to provide University of Alberta Dental Hygiene program graduates with support and to welcome them all to the profession as colleagues and alumni.

Any advice?
These times are uncertain and can create significant anxiety for those who rely on dentistry for their livelihood. I try to remain focused on the Five x Five Rule to Happiness. I am confident that we are all resourceful, strong and capable of handling the challenges we are facing in light of the pandemic, and I am hopeful we all come out more grateful and informed about what is paramount to living a fulfilled and meaningful life.

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