For 31 years I have been practicing dental hygiene in a small practice setting. By small, I mean one doctor, one assistant, two hygienists, and one office manager. It was all I knew. As a shy and quiet person, a large office was out of my comfort zone. Imagine my surprise when Dr. Hirshfield announced on December 22nd that we would be merging with Dental Associates of Walpole and as of January 1st, they would be our new employers. Within hours of hearing the news, we were in our cars and headed over to Dental Associates of Walpole for a tour.
We were pleasantly greeted by Pam, our CEO, who proceeded to give us a tour. Immediately, my mind started racing. This place is huge and how will I ever find my way around without getting lost. After the tour, we gathered in one of the old waiting rooms and met with Eleanor and Ashley, our clinical supervisors, and a few of the doctors. Even though they were all so positive, I was still feeling somewhat overwhelmed. So many new masked faces. How would I ever remember everyone? The day ended and I raced home to tell my husband the news. We were both excited for my new opportunity!
Even though my official start date wasn’t until February 1st, DAW offered us many training dates to acclimate ourselves to our new surroundings and learn the new computer program. December 27th was my first training day and my nerves quickly dissipated. I was assigned to Judy. I cannot say enough about the kindness and understanding I was greeted with. Judy let me jump right in and was extremely patient with my endless questions. Aside from a coworker, she has become a friend. Throughout my training, I was also assigned to Pam and Kim. Both were wonderful and welcoming.
February 1st had arrived. My first official day. I was ready. Everyone was there to help. My first day was successful and went off without a hitch. That first week, I had the pleasure of treating Dr. Jess Kane, one of our founders of the practice. He spoke with such pride about Dental Associates of Walpole and repeatedly referred to us as a big family. It was in that moment that I knew I was in the right place. Thank you to all of Dr. Hirshfield’s patients that have followed us and thank you to all the Dental Associates of Walpole patients that have welcomed me with open arms. I have found my new forever home!
By Nicole Richard, R.D.H.