Two days into life as a third year dental student and the differences can easily be identified. First off, we don't have that much class, simple as that. I had monday morning off and I have tomorrow morning off (this means I don't have to be at school until 9:30 or 10:00 depending on if I have a patient or am on rotation). That extra 1.5 hours of sleep already kicks sooo much ass. Two of my courses this semester also end in early July, meaning I will only have early class on Thursdays and Fridays. I will break down the schedule in a week or so.
So what am I doing then? Working my ass off in the clinic trying to adjust and get used to everything. While our early clinic exposure did help during the D-2 year, it is a completely different animal when you are in there all the time, expected to be doing something, and doing that something well. One major flaw I already see in myself is lack of speed. I am far to slow and cannot adjust to changes in appointment plan fast enough. For example, I planned on getting 1/2 my initial exam done on my patient this afternoon. Instead, he spent 1.5 hours getting full mouth radiographs taken, then I essentially spent the rest of the time trying to deal with all his health problems that were clearly not under control. Blood pressure of 180/110 is NOT good. Blood glucose of 241 mg/dL is also NOT good for a 'controlled' diabetic. Had to write up a medical consult, and then before I knew it, I was already 45 minutes past the time we are supposed to be DONE!! So all my chart entries are unapproved because our instructor pretty much jetted after he signed the med consult. So now I have to hunt him down tomorrow to get all my unapproved entries swiped through.
I got home around 6pm, tired and drained. But instead of studying pharm..or reading endo...or writing a bussiness report...I opened a beer, grilled a few hot dogs and watched tv.
Now THERE is the big difference.
I know things will change. For one, I won't be able to drink a beer and do nothing every night I get home. There will be projects and lab work to do, and the few courses I have will require a bit of out-o-class time, but I know it will pale in comparison to the first two years. On the plus side too, I doubt I will be stuck in the school an hour late doing simple procedures after a few months grinding it out in the clinics. I am bound to get better by sheer repitition. I am aware of my shortcomings, which is a great step in learning to resolve them.
Everyone says D-3 year is the best. I can see this being true - especially after I adjust and get better at things that I know are simple, improve my communication with patients, and improve my general knowledge of common clinical problems such as what to prescribe for so and so or how drug X may interfere with treatment option Y...and so forth.
My only gripe is in regards to the lack of chairs. This would not normally be a problem at this school, but they decided to refurbish the pediatric and ortho clinics this summer. So those two clinics have been crammed in with the undergrad clinics and we are all shuffled around right now. That in itself isn't horrible, but what really steams me is the fact that the admissions committee cannot do simple math. They over-accepted on international students in the last cycle and they don't have enough room in the pre-clinic for the newcomers. This means that 8 of our clinic chairs are getting sucked up for pre-clinical courses. Guess what clinic they are in? Mine of course. So there are only 10 restorative chairs on tue and wed for my clinic now. Hmmm..there are 11 D-3s, 3 IDDP-2s, and 11 D-4s. This is going to work out great right? Ok ok..several of the D-4s will be out on rotation and we never ALL need restorative chairs (often need perio and sometimes endo)...but still. This is how I feel.
Well I will save further ramblings for my formal D-3 experience post. Just wanted to let all know that things have started and I am learning to adjust. I hope to be fully assimilated by the end of this summer.
Back to total relaxing and sleeping in until 9am. SWEET.