Monday, March 30, 2009

The Random Bites

While the work load is definitely lighter this semester in terms of pure hours in the school, I can’t help but feel like we have taken a step backwards in terms of dental education. Last semester had me learning how to make dentures, RPDs, provisionals, crown preps, cast-post and cores, not to mention full endodontic therapy. What about this semester? Make way for the active site of COX-1 inhibitors, or how to chart audit. Granted we are learning plenty, but it feels so random and out of sorts.

The implant course has just been an absolute mess in terms of coherence. The lectures are never posted online until several days after the lecture. The problem lies in that these lectures are almost purely picture-based. So you end up with a notebook page full of random notes trying to remember what picture each note applies to once you finally can download the lecture. Don’t even get me started on the absurdity of the quizzes either. The only saving grace for this course is that the lab sessions are generally helpful…but we only have four all semester.

The clinical exposure has been good overall, but as previous posts point out – we just don’t get enough consistent time. Not to mention most of the instructors fail to realize that we are second year students with minimal experience in the clinics. Of course our rotation schedule for the summer probably won’t be finished until a week before we start – so we can’t exactly start booking chairs.

The most annoying part of this semester though is the random annoying assignments. You know, the ‘let’s write up a boring paper based on a poster you read at some meeting’ sort of assignment. I am looking at this list of papers/presentations and here are a few examples:

Patient portfolio - 10-15ish page paper pretty much describing your first complete work-up of a patient prior to treatment planning.

Business report – I have asked about 10 of my classmates, we don’t even remember what this is or when we have to do it.

Attendance papers – basically had to write two papers on random topics to prove we attended two separate functions

Communications reflection – 3 page paper reflecting about your communication skills (had to tape-record yourself talking to a patient).

Chart audit – still haven’t had this yet

Endo case presentation – present diagnostic case in front of endo faculty (power point format)

EBD paper for tx planning – 5 page paper about random EBD topic assigned to your group

EBD paper for implants – 20 minute presentation about random EBD topic assigned to your group (pp format)

There is more crap I’m sure but I can’t keep going. None of these tasks is particularly challenging or even stimulating to the brain. They just become overwhelming by sheer volume. Like a swarm of mosquitoes biting at the back of your neck.

I have spent so much time writing random papers and researching various topics that I feel like my limited clinical abilities have atrophied. Last semester was so intensive clinically-speaking that this current semester feels grossly out of place.

Then again, I must also take into account that I may just be completely tired of second year, and am itching to officially become an ‘upperclassman.’

Who knows..but you can expect one final D-2 experience post to sum up this arduous year sometime in May.