By Mimi Nguyen (2021)
What GP are you in? What is unique about your GP that you feel makes it better than the others? *
GP2- I think we are infamous for being a strict GP compared to others. However, that helps you learn the basics very well. You will always have to bring your A game. Our GP will definitely push you to be prepared and organized more than you realize.
If you were a D2 what advice would you have given yourself to better prepare you for clinic? *
I would want to review operative concepts, dental anatomy, and dental materials well. It makes a difference to decide on prognosis of a treatment plan. In addition, learn to use Axium and practice writing visit notes. It seems abundant but definitely will help you navigate better and declutter your to-do list.
What is a trait that you believe is crucial for success in clinic? Why? *
Resilience. Transitioning into clinic can be extremely frustrating. It's different from D1/D2 when your evaluation does not depend on your study skills alone. You would have to be prepared for situations like patient does not show up, appointments take longer, patient finances, or you don't have patients for the requirements. I know it's hard but keep pushing yourself to be open minded and be positive. Explore and utilize the school resources as much as possible. If you don't have patients, go assist D4/D3, OS, or postdoc. You always will learn something.
What was your first procedure? What went right? What went wrong? What would you have done differently? What did you learn from it? *
My first procedure was emergency core build-up. We did a quick evaluation with Xray and vital testing before proceeding. The appointment went well but it took a long time. Why? It was my first time working with "the tongue" on top of indirect vision. Retraction and angling the suction/mirror were challenging. I don't think there was anything I could change for the procedure but skill wise, I would have practiced more on indirect vision and find an angle to look at your mirror (try to get yourself comfortable)
What has been the biggest lesson you learned reflecting back on your time in clinic at UMSOD? *
Keep an open mind and do not take things personally. It's a high stress environment with so many variables, however, your attitude can change anything. I'm not saying you always have to be positive/happy, but have a curious mind and a willingness to learn will make it more enjoyable. Don't view your mistakes as a failure. It's an opportunity to learn and improve.
What would you have done differently from the time you started clinic to the time you finished clinic? Why? *
I would want to organize myself a little better such as keeping a record of what my patients need on an excel document. It's just easier for me to follow up and check on their condition instead of opening Axium 1000 times per day and look for a specific info.
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? *
The biggest hurdle for me was to get used to things not going as planned. There are certain requirements you have to fulfill for evaluation and patients don't show up. In those times, ask PCC (Patient Care Coordinator) or classmates for help if the deadlines are near. Sometimes, it's hard to control everything, so do not too fixate on certain mistakes/unexpected outcome. All faculty want to help you do well and graduate.
What has been the best piece of advice you have received while in clinic? *
Be present and ready. Do not waste your allotted clinic time even when you don't have patients. You won't have the opportunity to learn as much after you graduate.
How did you best manage the stresses of classes and clinic at the same time? How difficult was this transition for you? *
I'm not the best to answer this question because I'm on my constant "go" mode for stress. I balance it out by cooking on weekends and getting enough sleep. Classes were a little lighter compared to D1/D2 and some were relevant to what you are using in clinic.
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? *
Chairs are open 2 weeks in advance, so basically you won't know your schedule for more than 2 weeks. For D3, Tues and Thursday clinic only available from 4:30-7 and you have to go to front desks and request those chairs. So, remember to ask our front desks staff to reserve those chairs as soon as your schedule opens up. This way, you can offer your patients more options in scheduling. In addition, you can ask your patients when they prefer to come in for appointments and how far do they live from our school. That way, you can navigate your schedule a little better. Finally, you can put patients on YOUR schedule without having a chair yet. You can obtain a chair quicker that way when it's available on the clinic chair chart.
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? *
Writing visit notes. One trick a senior taught me was to write a standard visit note and save it in the notepad on Axium, then you only need to copy-paste and modify the details whenever you have to write one.
What tips worked for you in getting patients to say “yes” to your proposed treatment? *
Be their best alliance and advocate. Learn well why patients seek treatment and what they want. You need to know your treatment plan well from prognosis to finance to be able to explain to your patients. They will be more likely to say yes if you have confidence in the treatment plan as well.
What skills/techniques for certain procedures did you find particularly helpful when beginning clinic?
Working with indirect vision and posture. Practice whenever you can so it's easier for you to navigate with patients.
Who were your faculty mentor(s)? What was the best advice they gave you? why did you choose them to be your mentor?
My GP2 directors. Be present and ready! : )
Do you listen to any dental related podcasts? What are your favorite ones and why?
not in particular- but during quarantine, we utilize a lot of free resources online. One of them is Dawson occlusion course for dental students.
Were you a Diamond Scholar? If so, how did you best organize yourself for success in attaining all requirements to achieve Diamond scholar status?
Be present and ready in clinic.
Would you mind providing your e-mail/social media accounts for future students to follow/contact you if they may have any questions? Please provide that info below.
If you have any additional advice/tips you'd like to disclose please feel free to do so below and thank you so much for your participation.
Start clinic by asking PCC (Patient Care Coordinator) if they have emergency cases ahead of time. They can schedule emergency patients to you in advance. Plus, it might be a little early but try to take record/pictures for your dental portfolio. It's also a way to keep track of your progress. Time will be a challenge in clinic, so you need to plan well.