By Jamaad Abdi (2021)
What GP are you in? What is unique about your GP that you feel makes it better than the others? *
You’re put into an environment where you have to work hard. Your GP directors notice very early on who has been in clinic often and who hasn’t so everyone usually shows up which translates into getting requirements fulfilled earlier
If you were a D2 what advice would you have given yourself to better prepare you for clinic? *
Don’t be scared of the D4s! Ask us any and everything. Consider us as your big brothers and sisters. Closed mouths don’t get fed
What is a trait that you believe is crucial for success in clinic? Why? *
Resilience. You have to be okay with criticism. People will tell you that your work could’ve been better. You will forget things. You will mess up. You have to be okay with that. Most importantly, you will succeed because you failed.
What was your first procedure? What went right? What went wrong? What would you have done differently? What did you learn from it? *
Operative. I was scared to do my first local infiltration because honestly there’s really no way to practice giving injections besides just doing them. I did it with a D4 standing right next to me which made me feel more relaxed. It went smoothly because I had the support that I needed. I learned that it’s okay to ask for help. Don’t ever feel like you’re bothering us. The worst we could say is no (because we’re busy) and even then, we’d try and find someone nearby to help
What has been the biggest lesson you learned reflecting back on your time in clinic at UMSOD? *
You have to do it all and do it all relentlessly. Someone said you pay $150 per day to be here. Wouldn’t you want to make the most out of it? If your patient cancels, assist someone. Enjoy endo or perio? Go up to the 4th floor and ask residents if they need help. This is a learning environment. Make the most out of it
What would you have done differently from the time you started clinic to the time you finished clinic? Why? *
Understand how to translate things into layman’s terms. Patients are curious and they will ask questions. Be prepared to answer questions in a way that they can understand
What has been the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome in clinic? How did you overcome it and what did you learn from it? *
Learning to accept criticism constantly. I felt like I wasn’t good enough at a certain point and I was trying very hard. You have to understand that your directors are all very different and you might not connect with everyone but that’s okay. They’re here to make you into the best clinician possible before you graduate and that’s the main goal. Think of it like hazing and leave your emotions outside before you start the clinic session. Always put a smile on and know that we went through it too.
What has been the best piece of advice you have received while in clinic? *
It’s okay to feel lost and frustrated. Baby steps are key. As long as you learn from your mistakes, write down what you learned that day and keep a log of things to work on you will succeed. You are your only competition and as long as you’re doing better than you were yesterday, you’re going to succeed.
How did you best manage the stresses of classes and clinic at the same time? How difficult was this transition for you? *
I kept in close contact with my friends back home. They keep me laughing and know the real me. They really kept me sane.
Do you have any insight on how to best have access to chairs and make appointments? If you do, what advice would you give people who are seeking the most efficient way to obtain chairs? *
Know what days your patients can come so you don’t have to waste time asking them repeatedly
What aspect of clinic did you find to be the most time consuming and how would you recommend a student go about being more efficient? *
Dentures. Make sure you do a Prosth consult at the TXP appointment to see if the patient needs an alveoplasty in addition to extractions
What resources did you use to prepare you for Boards Part II? *
What tips worked for you in getting patients to say “yes” to your proposed treatment? *
Keep it real. They like honesty
What skills/techniques for certain procedures did you find particularly helpful when beginning clinic?
For deep caries, start with high speed for enamel and when you break through to dentin, getting closer to pulp switch to slow to speed (5 rpm) with no water. Use light paintbrush strokes & you won’t hit the pulp. Not all dark dentin is carious. If it’s not catching on the explorer it’s most likely sclerotic dentin
Did you attend a clerkship? If so, which one and what has been the biggest benefit you had from being a part of it?
Peds. Exposure to more info about pediatric dentistry
What was something that you did differently from your peers that you feel benefited you in clinic and that you will be able to carry on in private practice/residency?
Figured out a way to bring them in whenever they needed to come in. When there’s a will, there’s a way. Take risks sometimes. People always cancel chairs last minute and chairs are left for emergencies
Would you mind providing your e-mail/social media accounts for future students to follow/contact you if they may have any questions?