As a fourth-year dental student, I spent my last winter break at home in Oregon. I was thankful to get out of the chilly temperatures of Minneapolis and back to Portland for some home-cooking and catching up with friends. The break was a time for me to catch my breath amidst interviewing for GPRs and AEGDs, trying to complete competencies at dental school, and gearing up to find patients for my board exam this March. I’m sure the dentists out there really miss these days!
This past Sunday, I flew back to Minneapolis to begin my LAST semester of dental school! It’s gone so fast! I can only hope paying off all my loans will be as quick. Though my break is over, I won’t be stepping foot inside my dental school for another month. On Monday morning, I drove out to Willmar, Minn., where I will be providing care at one of the school’s outreach sites. Rice Regional Dental Clinic is associated with Rice Memorial Hospital and provides regional care for patients in 17 counties.
I am very excited for this outreach opportunity. I know it will be a real test of my clinical skills, help me pick up speed and learn to work with other members of the dental team. For those of you who have been out of school for awhile, let me remind you that we are only seeing one patient in the morning and one patient in the afternoon – for three hour appointments! I feel like I work on my social skills just as much as my clinical skills to entertain patients while waiting for start checks, prep checks and final checks. At this outreach clinic, I will likely see six or more patients a day, depending on the procedures. Any words of wisdom for how to best adjust to this patient load increase and demand for efficiency? Needless to say, I am anticipating being tired at the end of the day.
I hope to discover a groove by the end of the month and gain confidence in my skills to know that I can handle the profession that I’ve gotten myself into! And for the more seasoned dentists reading this, I hope you take a minute to reflect back on your dental school days and realize how far you’ve come since then.
As an AGD blogger,I will be bringing you news and stories as a fourth-year dental student working hard to graduate this May and then as an AEGD resident continuing to learn and develop. Let me know if you have any questions for me and I’d love to hear any feedback and/or advice from members throughout the year!
Katie Divine, Minnesota ’13