Unprofessional Behaviour


For anyone that works with the public I feel being profession is an important part of the job. In the health care industry it is a necessity not an option! When you are working in a patient’s personal space and they are frightened and anxious, the last thing they need is an unprofessional Certified Dental Assistant.

We rate professionalism pretty high in our program since we understand its importance in our profession. Our students complete assignments on professionalism that are threaded throughout all of our courses. We also have our students do self-assessments, as well as instructor’s assessments and it is included on all of our final clinical evaluations.

I recently read this article, “Students Who Are Chronically Late to Class” by Bonnie Snyder. This article addresses an unprofessional behaviour I feel all instructors can relate to! There always seems to be that one student that cannot, and will not arrive to class on time. I have heard the list of similar excuses Snyder (2011), discusses in her article, my child care was late, I had to work, or my alarm didn’t go off. I have to agree with Snyder (2011) when she says:

Habitual lateness to class, much like when friends or family members habitually arrive late for social gatherings and usually infuriate us because of their thoughtlessness, is typically a sign of devaluation of and contempt for instructors and other students who have arrived to class punctually. Even more important, it is most likely a sign of devaluation and contempt for one’s own education, albeit unconscious, since the student’s habitual lateness will necessarily curtail his or her time in class and cause the student to forfeit important opportunities for learning.”

When you look at this behaviour, if continued during employment, it is disrespectful to your employer, as well as your patients. Patients are nervous and frightened, and the last thing they need is to have to wait for their appointment because their CDA can’t arrive on time to work. This is why I feel teaching our students professional behavior and critical thinking during our program is so important.

I found there was a great response, in the comment section of this article, from a professor, on how he deals with punctuality in his class.  He discusses the importance of punctuality at the first class of the course. He tells them that when the door is closed they are late, no excuses. He starts the class by making a few notes on the board, sets up his power points and has a small discussion with the class, leaving an extra 3 mins for his students to arrive before closing the door. I think this is a fair response and feel the need to incorporate something similar in to affect in my classroom.

With our clinical classroom there is no excuse for students to be late. Students have an extra 15 mins from when they are supposed to arrive before we have our morning meetings. During that 15 mins students are to get their uniforms on, then start to do morning jobs before we go over what is on the agenda for the day. Still we have students that show up during our meeting, interrupting our meeting to walk through to get their uniforms on.  This is reflected in their professionalism mark but I feel sometimes that isn’t always enough encouragement to change their behavior.

You can follow this link to the Bonnie Snyder’s article posted on Faculty Focus:



Snyder, B. (2011, April 29). Students Who Are Chronically Late to Class. Faculty Focus.

Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-classroom-management/students-who-are-chronically-late-to-class/

Image retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/man-bell-school-bell-ringing-swing-311695/


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