Get To Know: Christina Zerk

Image of Christina Zerk the Instagram expert of the DHAA

Find out more about the people making the decisions and calling the shots in the DHAA.

Every fortnight we ask various movers and shakers, in the association, a set of questions. This week we catch up with Christina Zerk, the lady that breathes life into the DHAA Instagram account.

  1. Why did you decide to become a dental hygienist/OHT?
    I grew up with very little dental awareness or exposure and was terrified of dentists until I started working as a dental assistant with the school dental van. Understanding the procedures and oral health and how things work helped overcome that fear for me and I fell into clinical assisting easily. It was when I realised my career path at that stage was headed towards management and I was going to be spending more time looking at paperwork than assisting with patients that I decided to make the jump and explore options to spend more of my time clinically. I was originally more interested in path of OHT/dental therapy but when I started studying hygiene at I really enjoyed the complexities of periodontal management more than I thought I would.

  2. What was your favourite subject during hygiene/OHT training? 

    Probably the biology subjects. I never studied biology at school so was surprised when I found I enjoyed it, and even now find myself explaining the concepts to patients often.

  3. What do you love most about being a DH/OHT?

    Being able to take a patient with very little understanding and sometimes poor oral health and being able to work with them to turn that around. Using my knowledge to educate and work with the patient so they not only understand the what and the why but also have the tools and ability to change/improve things. The best days are when not only can I see the improvement but the patient has also noticed it.

  4. Tell us about your current role with the DHAA, and why you decided to get involved. 

    I am the Instagrammer, which is actually a lot of fun. Because Instagram has a little bit more relaxed follower base it’s easier to incorporate the funny pictures and daily struggles we share in our working life, so it means a lot of time searching for funny pictures and laughing.

    I’ve been involved with the state committees since last year when Alison Taylor suggested becoming a student representative in Adelaide and I loved being a part of a team. When I moved interstate I kept this up joining my local committee but found work commitments made getting to things difficult for some time. So when the call went out for some national roles that were more in front of your computer and less face to face I jumped at the opportunity to have some fun along the way.

  5. Who is the person that most influenced you, and how?

    I’ve had a lot of really great colleagues and friends that encouraged me to take the step back to study initially. The tutors at TAFE were wonderful and I was lucky enough to spend some time observing a few in clinical practice or recently catching up at Symposium and discussing things now I have some more experience in practice and I took a lot away from both of those experiences.

    The biggest influence for me at the moment is some of the amazing people I’ve met through the DHAA. Being a recent graduate working in a small practice, having a team of people with a wealth of knowledge and so much passion to turn to is invaluable to me and the friendships creating along the way help.

  6. What are you currently reading?

    Honest answer, emails, occasional journal articles, product information and even on the odd occasion the Foundations of Periodontics for the Dental Hygienist textbook. I currently have The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss next to my bed but it’s not getting any closer to being finished at the moment I tend to spend more time lately playing computer games online than I do reading.

  7. Where do you go to escape?

    I ride a motorbike so a twisty hills ride is always a nice day out tho my biggest escape is probably the gym or some form of exercise. Whether that’s indoor rock climbing with a friend or training with heavy weights for powerlifting I love getting out and doing something social and active.  

Keep an eye out for next time, when we will get to know another proud DHAA volunteer workforce.