Aisha Nash is a ‘Tuition for Time’ scholarship recipient, Dental Assistant – turned – Hygienist – turned – Hygiene Coordinator, is cross trained on the front desk, has lead team OSHA meetings, and is a proud former member of the United States Air Force.
This superstar team member shared with us how her career with Carus has evolved, and the many opportunities she’s had to lead, inspire, and make a difference in the lives of her patients.
Aisha obtained her Dental Assisting license in the Air Force, and spent 5 years in service with her first duty station at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, and finishing her time at Ramstein AFB, Germany. Over the course of her career, she has taken the initiative to learn new skills and take on leadership roles that benefit both her team members, and her patients.
“I started working for Carus Dental in 2008 at the Cameron location. I was working in retail at the time, and wanted to get back into the dental field. I liked the people aspect of dentistry, so I started to look for opportunities”
In addition to building relationships with patients, Aisha was able to form lasting friendships with her colleagues.
“Joining Carus was a great experience, from stepping through the door for my interview to working in the practice. Everyone here is very close. There are times where you feel like you spend more time at work than at home, so they truly become your second family. We spend time together outside of work, sometimes for team events but also just because we’ve formed those strong friendships and genuinely want to catch up outside of work. It’s not just a Monday-Friday and ‘see-you-next-week’ type of atmosphere.”
While working as a Dental Assistant, Aisha took the initiative to take on additional duties, including cross training to support the front desk, and even becoming an OSHA safety officer for her practice. Being able to help other Carus locations with front desk support allowed her to pick up more hours when she wanted them, and being a part of the OSHA team helped her develop leadership skills by bringing valuable information back to her team on policies and best practices. Still, she felt a desire to do more.
“As an Assistant, it was rewarding to see patients come in and watch their transformation from disease to health. A lot of the procedures were very Hygiene oriented, and I admired the relationships patients had with their Hygienists. I wanted to be that person that was there for them clinically to help them along that journey”.
In 2014, Aisha was accepted to the Hygiene Program at Wharton County Junior College, and applied for the Carus Dental Tuition for Time program.
Tuition for Time is available for employees that have been working at Carus for a minimum of 5 years that want to further their education. Applicants go through multiple evaluations and need to be approved by the P.C. President. As a participant in the program, Aisha was able to have 100% of her Dental Hygiene tuition costs paid for by Carus.
In addition to ‘Tuition for Time’ scholarships for employees, Carus regularly gives back to the industry through scholarship funds and endowments to support future generations of Hygienists, Assistants, and Dentists.
After obtaining her Dental Hygiene license, Aisha continued to grow professionally and is now a Dental Hygiene Coordinator. Today, she splits her time between working with patients in the chair, while also helping mentor and coach new Hygienists as they learn.
Quality care is something all dental practices and professionals strive towards. When asked what Quality Patient Care means to her, Aisha had this to say:
“For me, quality patient care means two things. First, it’s about patient comfort. I always want my patients to feel comfortable when they are with me. A lot of times they haven’t been to the dentist in a while, and might be ashamed or embarrassed about their oral health. My goal is to make them feel welcome and right at home, so we can work together to come up with the right solutions and treatment.
Secondly, it means making sure the care I’m providing is current and up to date. The medical field is always evolving, and what was standard or best practice 5 years ago may not be the best option today. Today, there is more research showing a link between the mouth and the whole body, so it’s being able to treat the patient as a whole person. We take their blood pressure, we provide oral cancer screenings, and go beyond just what’s happening in their mouth to get a sense of their true overall health”.
The movement to a mouth-body approach to oral care is one that is catching a lot of attention, and practices like Carus Dental are leading the charge in providing comprehensive care to patients and training their Hygienists to do the same.
“This kind of approach to patient care is what makes us Carus. We believe in going above and beyond for our patients and taking care of them”.
“I’ve had a patient come in for a cleaning, and we saw this person had unusually high blood pressure. I recommended that they see a physician, and the next time I saw them, we talked about it. Their doctor had put them on a new medication as a result of their blood pressure level, and was taking additional measures to get them back on track towards better health”.
“Knowing I got to impact somebody’s life in that way – beyond just their smile, is something that’s so rewarding and fulfilling to me.”
Carus is proud to support team members at all levels with the opportunity to grow professionally, develop leadership skills, and even advance their education. As our group practice continues to expand, opportunities are being added on a regular basis in Austin, Killeen, Houston, and beyond.