As I delve deeper into my last semester as a D-2 student, I feel like spurting fourth another opinionated post about the curriculum this spring. My last post on this matter pretty much outlined my schedule – now I can actually give some thoughts on the courses themselves, after about 6 weeks of exposure.
First off, compared to last semester – things feel much less hectic..in certain ways. For example, I feel like we get a lot of random time off this semester. The D-4s have their boards coming up, which also means they practice with ‘mock boards.’ This gives us a few afternoons/mornings off. The midwinter meeting is coming up which essentially grants us a 4-day weekend. Then spring break is thrown into the mix for good measure. Compare this with last semester, in which we had three days off ALL semester (including thanksgiving). Just getting those little breaks helps a lot – although one could also argue that it makes you lazier and less compelled to do school work.
However, no semester of dental school is ‘light’ or ‘easy’ and there is plenty of random crap we have to do. This semester has definitely topped the list of papers/projects required:
Endo case presentation in which we have to make a PowerPoint presentation based off of a patient we assisted with that required endo diagnostic testing/treatment planning.
Patient portfolio: minimum 10 page typed paper answering an assortment of questions in regards to our first COE patient.
Chart audits: we get to audit charts at some point this semester..fun
Clinic and research Day paper: Just a random assignment that takes up time to complete which is supposed to prove we showed up for clinic/research day.
Mid-winter meeting: same as the C/R day paper..another waste of time. I would go regardless..now this just adds another bothersome task.
Business Report: I don’t know what this is..but apparently we have to do one at some point this semester.
Communications Reflection: Tape-record yourself interviewing a patient and then write a ‘reflection’ on the experience.
Two classes also have EBD papers/presentations…sigh.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff..but this is just to give you the basic idea of all these assorted ‘extras’ we have to do. None of it is really that hard…just easy to forget about..which is not good.
Now onto the actual schedule:
Treatment Planning: This course would have been far more useful last semester..or even over the summer. It is going over stuff we have already had to teach ourselves in order to survive in the clinics. Granted it will probably be more helpful once we start tx planning mock cases..but right now it is a very dull lecture-based class.
Comp Care IIC - Implants: I was most excited about this class – but now I am less than thrilled. It is clear that this module has not been done for many years as it is rather haphazard and unorganized. I don’t like courses that rely on blackboard to post all the lecture material and then proceed to not post half the crap..or post it weeks after we had the lecture. It is really hard to take notes on a lecture that is almost all pictures with no reference material to write on. The first quiz we had was really easy; the second one was ridiculously difficult in comparison. They are also unannounced which is the biggest testament to BS. No sane person has enough time to study every course every night to prepare for pop-quizzes. You need to be able to shift focus as necessary…guess that isn’t how everyone thinks.
I think things will get better now because we have ‘all day lab sessions’ which = no lectures. Unfortunately there is no lab manual or reference material as to exactly what we are doing in these labs..so you pretty much go in blind praying you figure things out. They technically did talk about the lab sessions prior to going..but it was not done effectively..and again – not posted online.
I won’t bitch too much though, because I am managing to learn a lot – I just am not enjoying the course layout..but I guess the directors can only work with the time they get.
The other 60% of our comp care grade is decided on our clinic faculty evaluation and patient portfolio. I really have no idea how our faculty will evaluate us…. I really only have one patient willing to show up..and I hopefully will do some basic restorative on her by the end of the semester (crossing fingers).
I did get my patient in again last Monday..but she showed up late and I had to let an upperclassmen check her out for board lesions…so I didn’t manage to get through the entire perio evaluation…she is coming in again in two weeks. I hope to have a basic tx plan ready to go so I can at least give her a cleaning…then amalgam time!
We also have several P/F components (communications, rotations, ect).
Endo – We have two different endo courses this semester (although we won’t register for one of them until the summer). Basically one is clinical and the other is lectures. The clinical one involves us getting ‘endo experience’ points based on assisting upperclassmen/residents. We also have to present an endo diagnostic case scenario in front of faculty and peers. I have my case lined up..I just need to grab the file and make copies of the radiographs…then I can put the PowerPoint together.
The other course is identical to last semester without the lab component. We have the weekly reading assignments along with the weekly 10-questions T/F quiz. Getting old real fast.
Ortho - This class is giving me total nostalgic flashbacks. I had so much ortho tx done as a child, that seeing all this crap in a professional light is pretty cool. I may actually go back to my orthodontist and see if he’ll let me pull out my case file so I can see how jacked up I was (class III with posterior crossbite). Yea, I totally had the expander, face-max, Nance-appliance…not to mention braces. Ahhh those were the days. The course itself is ok…although I cannot stand some of the lab work…tracings cephs is headache inducing…and all the math/guessing involved is quickly turning me off to ortho as a potential career path. Endo still remains the only specialty of interest to me at this point.
Fixed Prosth. II – I actually like this class more than I did last semester. Mainly because we had two weeks off already (random reasons had us off on Wednesdays…it was awesome). The pacing seems more laid back and we seem to have less to do. We really are only learning how to do bridges..not much else. The performance exams have also been greatly reduced in terms of expectations compared to what the current D-3s did. They had to prepare and provisionalize a 3 unit bridge in ONE exam. We only have to prepare the teeth OR create the provisional (one per exam). This makes things much easier..although I can’t take it lightly as my performance exam average last semester was pitiful..gonna have to make a damn pretty provisional.
Oral Surgery – Not much to say..we have one 50 minute lecture each week..no quizzes..just two exams. Sort of interesting stuff…but some of those pictures are a bit too much for me at 8am.
Pharmacology - saving the best for last right? This class is like biochem all over again. Long boring lectures with little relevance to what a clinician NEEDS to know - not to mention how hard studying for this class is. At least during the D-1 year all we had to do was go home and study....now we have to manage patients, get tons of lab work done, write a bunch of papers/presentations, AND study for this horrible, horrible class.
So things seem less stressful at the moment. Fixed prosth I, dentures, and endo was such a deadly combo last semester that nothing really seems bad in comparison.
Time to get back to slacking off.