Sunday, December 28, 2008

The D-2 Experience IV

My break has been enjoyable and lazy thus far, now as I sit here on a quiet evening, I decided to start filling in my weekly planner for next semester. This is my first time using a portable scheduling device and it probably couldn’t have come at a better time. I have tallied a total of 28 opportunities to schedule my own patients. This is about twice as many chances as last semester and I intend to try harder to fill those blocks. Partly because my time won’t be AS consumed with pre-clinical lab work, and partly because I will be treating patients FULL TIME starting in the summer. So yea, a bit freaked out. I only scheduled TWO appointments last semester and one of those failed. Part of this is due to having a very poor patient pool (only 6 or so patients and most of them are VERY unlikely to come in for routine work), but I must admit, I didn’t try contacting everyone multiple times either because passing all my pre-clinical courses took precedence. So now I will have to make a much stronger effort to contact patients straight out of the gates.

As I filled in this planner, I also took a closer gander at the actual classes I will be taking. The semester looks beefier than last (no more half-days), but I refuse to believe that anything could be worse than the fall. Here we go. I will talk about last semester afterwards so skip ahead if you are still interested in that crap. Keep in mind that the semester won’t start for another week, so this is my PRE-game analysis.

Comprehensive Care II – C : 6 credits
-This is largest value comp care has carried since my first D-1 semester. I fear getting an ‘A’ will be EXTREMELY difficult as much of our grade will probably be determined by treating real patients. Unless I get a hefty boost to my current patient pool, I will DEFINITELY struggle to fill my blank schedule. It appears that there is a large implant component with this course. I am pretty sure that we are the first class where placing implants is required to graduate – so with this in mind, we are getting some good exposure to it next semester. I’m not sure if the current D-3’s had an implant course or not – I hope they did, otherwise we will be the inaugural class…and that usually equals unorganized mess. We have the implant module on Mondays. I will have my clinic sessions/rotations on Tuesday afternoons as well as all day on Fridays. While I still get a bunch of open clinic time, I will also be going on a myriad of rotations such as radiology, endo, perio, pedo, ect.

This is my last opportunity to really get used to the clinics before I become a D-3, I hope to take advantage.

Treatment Planning: 2 credits
-We meet on Monday and Thursday mornings for 2 hours. This is a lecture based class that essentially teaches how to treatment plan. I REALLY wish we had gotten this course LAST SUMMER as there have numerous occasions during several courses where knowledge in this area would have been VERY helpful – not to mention it is mandatory before doing any real work on patients. I really hope they finally explain some of the ins and outs on using the axium computer system this school utilizes.

Ortho: 2 credits
-My first experience in orthodontics begins next semester. We have 2 hours of lecture on Tuesday morning and I will be doing the lab portion on Thursday afternoons. Seeing as ortho originally got me interested in dentistry as a child, I am quite interested to see HOW it really works. I don’t see myself specializing in the field, simply because I am not a huge fan of working with kids – but we will see how it goes.

Oral Surgery Lecture: 1 credit
-Pretty much a lecture based class that meets for an hour on Wednesdays. I assume we will be talking about Oral surgery..yea? My first clinical rotation in OS begins in the summer.

Endo Lecture: 1 credit
-Yes endo continues next semester, but only in lecture format. I assume we are to continue learning about endo! Self-explanatory no?

Fixed Prosthodontics II: 4 credits
-Bleh, I really did not like this class at all last semester. I suppose it had its good moments, but the director spends no time with us in the pre-clinic – yet she grades all our practicals (really tough by the way). It would be nice if there were a correlation between what our instructors in clinic say is good, versus what the actual course director thinks is good..because believe me..there is variation. I also am just really sick of working with plastic teeth and imperfect dentechs. What is truly terrifying though is that last semester we didn’t even have to temporize for performance exams, and I still averaged a 70.5% on them. I think we have to do a three-unit bridge prep/provisional for the final… I don’t want to think about it anymore right now…moving on. We meet on Wednesdays again.

Pharmacology: 4 credits
-This is a very D-1ish like class in that it is all lecture based. We meet for 2 hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I know this will be a tough class that has the potential to really overwhelm even the best student. I intend to keep up with studying, even if there aren’t quizzes. I have proven to myself that lecture based classes are VERY manageable with proper studying – so I would be disappointed if I don’t do well. It will also be nice to finally have at least a rudimentary understanding of all the drugs people seem to be on – especially in our clinics.

Despite the feeling that things will be less stressful, I still doubt I will do much better grade-wise. The subjective nature of the clinics is not worth getting flustered over – as long as I am happy with my own growth and development, I will deal with average arbitrary scores.

So there you have it – the preview of Spring 09’ – My final test before moving on to the proverbial Xanadu that is D-3 year.

Now for the Fall 08’ memorandum.

I can’t say this enough, but the fall semester (or second D-2 semester) is the champion of tough asses in my book. Everyone seemed to struggle a bit – which made it less frustrating of course. I actually did a bit better than my pre-semester prediction. The only true surprise was that I somehow pulled out an ‘A’ in endo. If anyone has actually been keeping up with my haphazard writings, you may recall I saw NO chance of an ‘A’ in that course before we even started. So that definitely took the sting off of my failure as a prosthodontist. I fortunately locked a ‘B’ in fixed prosth despite pretty much failing both performance exams – this is why studying for written exams is ALWAYS important. However, grades aside, I know I am better at crown preps than those grades show – my practice preps were miles ahead of both exams – I just can’t keep botching up when it counts.

I’m not going to rattle off every class grade, but I ended up doing well enough for my own satisfaction. I didn’t burn any bridges in terms of specializing, which has been my goal since day one. I am proud of my work ethic during the last months and hope it carries over into the years to come, making me a better professional as a result.

While this semester was the toughest, that doesn’t make it the worst. That title still goes to the second semester of the D-1 year. At least now, we are working are asses off towards something of merit – and not biochemistry.

Ok, this post has dragged on long enough; I got some more relaxing to do.

Have a fun and safe New Year celebration!