Monday, April 14, 2008

AGD Fellowship

Okay I have a dental topic I want to talk about.

Oh, before I forget my wife wants me to tell you we don't beat our kids. In the last blog I spoke of spanking our kids and smacking the attitude out of them. To all HRS and child service employees out there. It is more like gentle rebuking.

I want to talk to you about the AGD Fellowship Award.
I have always been an organized dentistry person. I have always been a big believer in continuing education.
I have always thought that the AGD was the perfect organization for me. I am a big believer in raising the bar.
I am in the AGD because they speak my language. Always in the back of my mind I have thought about the Fellowship Award they give.
As a young dentist I knew it existed but thought it might be 15 years before I got all the hours needed to qualify.
Then at an AGD annual meeting I saw a person I went to dental school with. She was in the class under me. She said she was taking the exam. Humm, I said to myself.
If she could do it, maybe I am getting close to being eligible.
I called the AGD (a person answered, what a concept) and they were able to tell me how many hours I have. I think it was something like 625. I said, "I asked how many hours do you need to be eligible for the award?"
She said, "500".
What me, a fellow? I started to get really jazzed.
I then told her I where she could send my award.
She told me I needed to take the exam and then go accept your award at an annual meeting.
WHAT?!! An exam. Whatyoutalkinaboutwillis?
I thought I was done with that. I barely passed all my exams in dental school what makes me think I can pass this one.
It took me awhile to call back but I did. I then bought the study review packet. This packet gives you a bunch of information but what it does is gives you past tests to review. It gives you the question and it breaks down the answers. Why one is right and the others are wrong.

I start to take a review test. I think I started with pathology. Big mistake. I got ALL of the questions wrong. Not all but one but ALL. I went to read the explanations and it was like I was reading a Chinese manuscript.
I took a deep breath and decided to try one that I know I am a ringer at. Operative dentistry. This is my favorite topic in all of dentistry. Of my 600+ hours of C.E. more than half are on this topic.
I don't know why I am wasting my time taking the review test because I know it all.
I got less than a 50%. WOW. What a blow to the ego. What the heck am I going to do now.
If I stink at the stuff I (think I) know then I am in real trouble when it comes to this exam.
Oh, by the way, when I signed up to get the review packet I payed to take the exam.
So I was going to take the exam the question was when.

Let the procrastinating begin.

I told myself I would study and I didn't. I didn't want to fail.
But I would say to myself, "I am too busy to study. I have to do this thing. My kids need me."
So time went by and nothing.
Then I heard from someone that just got the award that he took this review at the annual meeting and then took the test. It went great, he said.
Okay this is what I was going to do.
I signed up for the review and the test in Denver. Very nice meeting. Great city.
The review days were Thursday and Friday and the test was on a Saturday. Perfect, I thought.
I was so excited about this review that was going to get me through this test.
Oh my word.
I am trying to describe the review in words and I can't. It was a 18 hour review that if done properly could of been done in about a 100 hours.
There was so much information that there was not enough time to absorb it. At the first break my head was spinning. It was like all of the book work in dental school wrapped in a two day course.
I was out of my league.
I needed my mommy.
I tried to stay positive though. The second day came and it was so so bad. Oral path, systemic path, pharmacology, pediatric dentistry, endo, prostho, radiology and all the other topics that apparently I don't know anything about.
I went back to my hotel room and told my wife there is no way I am passing this exam.
But I had paid my money and I am hear. I might as well take the thing.
The next morning I took the test. WOW. It was very difficult. Although the review reminded me of the information that I don't use anymore (like, if you move the xray cone beem back, how does that affect the KVP?) I didn't know it enough to get a question right.
Man did I feel small. Did I mention that I was out of my league?

I blew it. That night we went to a Colorado Rockies game and that was the last time I thought about the exam (at least this is what I told myself).
6 weeks later I was sitting at my desk and a letter from the AGD came. It sat there for a couple of days. I kept telling myself that I was a good dentist. People liked me. No one is really going to know if you failed. (except for my staff. They were waiting to let me have it if I failed).

I finally opened it. I PASSED.

I don't believe it. The passing grade was a 50 (thank God for the bell curve) and I got a 51.
I am not ashamed. Passing is passing. YEAH BABY. (and I didn't have to hear it from my staff and to tell the truth they were quite proud of me).
Now let the bragging begin. I told everyone. Mom and dad. My kids, my patients, people I passed in the streets.
I kicked that test's butt. It was NO PROBLEM. Yeah, that test was easy.

In all seriousness it was hard. But I am proud.
I do like to tell people I am getting my award in Orlando this year. I stick my chest out a little (I don't tell them the 51 thing).
I am going to buy the graduation picture and I am going to put in up in my office.
It is not something that was a walk in the park, but I am so glad I did it. Things have a way of working themselves out.
I am proud to be a AGD member and I am really proud to be a Fellow in the AGD.

Have a great Monday,

And to be honest with you I am eyeing that Masters award now, but don't tell anyone.


Anonymous said...

Hi John.

As the person who will be "etched on posterity" along side of you in the graduation picture, hearty CONGRATULATIONS are in order. Your posting is especially timely for me. Next week I am off to Denver to meet, once again, with the Colorado State Board of Dentistry in the AGD's attempt to prevent this Board from implementing a regulation that would, for all intent and purpose, prohibit a Fellow and Master from announcing their credential to the public in that state. How ironic it is that you took your Fellowship exam in Denver.

I simply cannot understand why anyone would think that, by announcing this well earned credential, we are "misrepresenting ourselves to the public." Fellowship and Mastership demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and to excellence. Why should a dentist be deprived of their right to announce it? More important, why should a patient be deprived of their right to know what their dentist has accomplished.

As you may know, there will be a press release in the packet you receive when you receive your award. There is a reason for that. For any Board to challenge this makes no sense! Yet, off to the Rockies I go again. This is the second time I have been there. Last time, I even handed them a Fellowship study guide! After warning the Board members that it might be a humbling experience, I challenged them to take a whack at a few of the questions.

John, you should be very proud of your accomplishment. In Orlando, I would go for the whole enchilada, the picture, the graduation, everything! As for the AGD leadership, we have this convocation because we are proud of all of you. And, we want to show you off. See you there.

Vincent C. Mayher DMD, MAGD
President, Academy of General Dentistry

Buckeyedental said...

Dear John and Vincent

The way I understand the law her in Florida you can not announce your Fellowship in the AGD. That would be an advertisment and you can only advertis Fellowships in ADA speciality, therfore implant, laser,TMJ,AGD, esthetic dentisty, ect you can not mention it. Congratulation John or should I say Fellow John

Kim Shaw

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

Congrats on joining the Fellow club. I do not profess to be part of it (I am), because I guess I can't really say that! Geez?

Anyhow, 500 hours, 5 years membership in AGD, passing an exam and being in the 11% of GD's who have reached this level of commitment is nothing to hide from. Plaster it all over your walls and wear your Fellowship pin proudly. Other dentist will notice but you must wear it to see it.

And the best of all of this is that YOUR PATIENTS will have and do benefit the most!

Congrats again.

Michael B.
FAGD 1998 Portland AGD Annual Meeting

(Man time flies!)

evellaca said...

Dear John,

You are very funny!! You captured the exact honest feelings in this blog!! Made me chuckle! Congratulations....!

gatordmd said...

I am so glad you liked the blog.
I hope you keep reading and commenting...especially if they are as encouraging as this one.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

I am planning on taking the FAGD exam this year, any suggestion on the best way to prepare/study for the exam? Are there any repeat questions from sample tests shown in the actual exam?

Thank you,


Derek said...

Hello John,

I am planning on taking the FAGD exam this year. What is the best way to prepare for it? Would the study packets and review course help? Were there any questions from sample exams repeated in the actual exam?



gatordmd said...

I got to tell you Derek that I passed by the hair of my chinney chin chin.
As I said in the blog, I took a weekend course and did alright.
I would suggest you do the same thing. That means you should take a plane trip to San Diego for the annual meeting (it is the only place they offer it).
You will do fine...if I can do it you can too.


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