Monday, September 29, 2008

Making the Transition While Returning to Kindergarten

I have finally reached the point where the arbitrary letter grade assigned to me at the end of the semester takes a backseat to actually learning and growing as a student. Freaking out about missing one question on a quiz is completely unnecessary and holds no outcome on my professional future. I am also thoroughly convinced that if I simply relax a little, and try to learn rather than memorize – my grades probably won’t change all that much.

There is just too much going on to fret over everything. Far too many projects, with very subjective grading coupled with the actual need to KNOW most of this stuff. I’ve also been assigned my first batch of patients and I have to call and make appointments with them. All while taking endo, fixed, complete dentures, RPD, oral path, restorative, and perio. C’mon now. Granted, we aren’t getting our ‘own’ fresh patients. These are all from the ‘recall’ pool and all we need to do is give them their ‘periodic oral evaluation’ (poe). Still, the stress of entering the unknown world of the clinics is not a welcome addition to this semester. Not to mention how difficult it will be to convince any patient to come in for a simple exam. The demographic we serve is not the type to come see the dentist unless they are in pain or want something done.

I have also decided that this semester blows away all previous semesters in terms of stress and work. Five weeks in, and I have contemplated hurling myself from the school’s roof on several occasions. With that said, I enjoy what I am doing for the most part. Endo has actually become one of my favorite classes despite all the annoying busy work. We had our first performance exam last friday– access/working length on both an anterior tooth and a premolar as well as an access only on a molar. I was pretty stressed out about this exam simply because I really had nothing to practice with. Not to mention the workload was pretty hefty for 2hrs and 45 mins. So essentially, I just jumped in with the little experience I garnered in class. Thankfully, no major disasters occurred. Many of my classmates had issues with their teeth popping out of the mounting stone. A few had burs break off in the canals, and there were also many perforations – so I feel very fortunate to have had a little luck. This exam is weighted 70% self-evaluation and 30% product. So you really can butcher the hell out of the teeth and still do pretty well. I ended up doing ok, nothing to write home about, but no remediation means it was good enough to work in a real person – and that is the real goal nowadays.

Last Friday was a bit of an anomaly. We had the performance exam until 12:15, and we were next expected to attend a dentures lecture during our lunch break. I mean, that is a TERRIBLE idea. We are all drained and stressed from hauling through a long PE, and are now forced to miss the one break we get during the entire day? Poor choice. It was a good lecture too, but our focus was non-existent. After this lecture, we were all piled into the wet lab and expected to mount our anterior denture teeth. Needless to say, I left at this point – with no guilt either (a rarity for someone who goes to essentially every class).

So now for today’s fun news:

This morning we had our RPD lecture interrupted by one of the head honcho’s of our school. He proceeded to scold the entire class about how filthy we have been leaving the pre-clinic. After he leaves, all the professors started acting pretty snotty towards us as well and essentially treating us like little kids. We all go down to help clean up, and another ‘power’ enters the room screaming at us that THIS CLINIC IS CLOSED!!! Somebody explained that we were told to enter and clean and he quickly replied with “oh, OK!”

Let me preface this gripe with a simple statement: I completely agree with the administration that the pre-clinic is disgusting. Yes, it shouldn’t have gotten that bad – but NO, chewing out the entire class is the wrong approach. The mess is created by probably 25% of the class – the people who didn’t have mother’s that taught them the values of ‘cleaning up after yourself.’ Also, they are telling us how patients won’t stand for this mess. They are right, but this is NOT a clinic. The pre-clinic at this school is an architectural nightmare. The room is crammed, has only one real entrance, and 2 trash cans located in the same spot. What the hell do they expect?

I hope to be a sterile-friendly student in the real clinics. I try my best in the mess they call a pre-clinic – but I don’t need to be talked down to because other individuals can’t clean their own crap. How difficult would it be for instructors to take notes on who actually cleans their units after a class? It is pretty easy to narrow down the resident pigpens. No, it is much easier to blame everyone and alienate the people that actually follow your rules.

But hey, they did what they needed to do to get the room clean. Hopefully it will stay that way because I still have another 8 months of crap to do in there.

I’m not really that churned up either, I just found it a ‘different’ experience and was truly reminded of being in grade school again. I know several friends in other schools that have had similar experiences. I guess it is just part of the process.

The white sox have now forced a one game tie-breaker with Minnesota. I will not be studying tomorrow night..that’s for sure.

Out I go.