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Crystal Schaeffer Testimonial

Interview with FreSH Study Practitioner, Crystal Schaeffer, RDH

Crystal Schaeffer, RDH, from the Midwestern region, joined the FreSH study to enhance her understanding of tobacco use. She shares her experiences addressing tobacco use with patients, her team’s recruitment strategies for the study, and the valuable training she received from the PBRN. Crystal says being in the FreSH study has made her eager to continue helping people quit smoking even after the study concludes.

Tell me about your practice and the patients you serve.

I work in Somerset, Wisconsin for a general dentist. Our patient population spans the age spectrum, with patients being predominantly White.

What made you want to join the FreSH study?

I joined the FreSH study when the dentist I work for informed me of the opportunity. I looked at it as a challenge to expand my knowledge base in the area of tobacco use and trends. I also hoped it would increase my comfort level talking with current tobacco users.

What have you learned so far about addressing tobacco with your patients?

In addressing tobacco use with patients, I have noticed a large range in the way people view their own tobacco use. Some patients feel shame and a desire to quit smoking if they can find something that will help them. Others know the risks and say they don’t care. It was interesting talking with a few younger patients who feel they have their smoking under control and intend to quit in the near future.

What are some recruitment tips you can share with other practitioners? 

I don’t know that I have a lot of tips to share with other practitioners. I believe my 15 years working with many of these same patients has been the biggest contributor to my recruitment. We have had many years of bonding and time to build trust.

I do come equipped with a plan. I go through all my patient charts at least a day in advance and put a star on the patients who have indicated tobacco use at previous appointments. When I am setting up the room before their arrival, I have the FreSH swag bag on the counter. I also have the iPad and brochure out ready to go. It looks professional and the bag looks enticing, in my opinion. Who doesn’t like a free gift? When the patient arrives, I do an intake which leads to a question about tobacco use. If they are still smoking, I efficiently go through the entire brochure with them at the beginning of the appointment to make sure we fit it in. I emphasize not needing to quit to participate and earning up to $180. Patients have been concerned about the time commitment, but I have had several patient participants return for operative appointments and they have reported the surveys are brief. I am able to reassure them of this.

Is there anything else you want to share about the study or the PBRN?

As a practitioner in Wisconsin, I was instructed to have training with Susan Lundsten from WI Quitline before recruiting participants into the study. She presented a 90-minute provider referral training course. I found it valuable and gained confidence in talking with patients about quitting their tobacco use. I made them aware of the many government available resources they have. I am now a practitioner set up in their system to send referrals and will be notified of a patient’s progress. I will be able to continue this work even after the FreSH study is complete. I am pleased I said yes to this opportunity and look forward to the prospective role I can play in helping people to quit smoking.

Interested in Becoming a Member?

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