Friday, October 9, 2009

Hospital Dentistry

Back after another long sabbatical I know, but typing these things eats up a lot of time as one might imagine. Excuses aside, I did have an experience that inspired me enough to cement it for all time in the annals of the internet. As I have explained in prior posts, as D-3 students, we go on a variety of rotations (most of them in-house). For example, we rotate through radiology, urgent care, screening, and oral surgery to name a few. Now as D-4 students, we still go on rotations; however these are OFF-campus and should be interesting to say the least. I will go into those more as my time draws closer. Yesterday I went on a very unique rotation which sent me off to Masonic – a hospital found a ways north of the school. We had an entire day for this rotation so it felt in essence like an old-school field-trip. This, along with a geriatric rotation are the only outside experiences we get as D-3s.

The day did start at the college as I had to plow through a 15 question radiology final which was thankfully easy. Afterwards, one of my peers also on rotation offered me a ride and we decided to skip the now defunct practice management course – which has been quite useless up to this point. The director of the course took a job at the up-and-coming Midwestern College of dentistry and consequently left us high and dry for this course since it is pretty hard to manage a class when the guy who was in charge of everything jumps ship the same week the class starts. Honestly though, I doubt it would have been useful even if he was still here – the material is geared at stuff I need to know after graduation. Unfortunately, I am so fresh in the clinics and so far from graduating that I honestly cannot process this information at all right now – nor do I really want to. Let me figure out how to do some dentistry before I start learning office politics. Is it important? Of course. Am I learning anything? No.

But I digress; we left around 9:15, ate some disgusting McDonald’s breakfast, and arrived at the dentistry building affiliated with Masonic around 10:30. After taking care of a bunch of hospital paper work and getting I.D. badges, we finally get to see some dentistry. Now I have mentioned being interested in a GPR several times, and I still am. This was my first actual experience SEEING a GPR in action and getting to talk to the residents. Let’s just say I am even more set on doing a post-grad residency at this point. Granted, Masonic is probably one of the better GPRs in Chicago, but it just seemed quite beneficial. They do IV sedation for special needs patients every Thursday, so we got to see some cool cases and really learn what this particular GPR is all about. The bottom line is that you get to experience a TON of different things all the while improving your technique and skill. It isn’t like another year of dental school because you don’t have instructors breathing down your back. HOWEVER, if you need that extra bit of help or advice – you have experienced attendings to fall back on as necessary. To put things bluntly, you also get another year to screw up and not lose your license or get sued. Not to mention you can defer your loans and get paid for a change. So I would make 30-50k which is peanuts compared to an associate position, but you also must consider that getting a job straight out of school isn’t all that easy – especially getting a good one. Having a year of residency on the ol’ resume really beefs things up and puts you ahead of anyone that just graduated.

Now unfortunately we only spent about an hour and a half in the actual dental clinic. After lunch we spent our time in the main hospital. Three of us go to radiology and one goes to the E.R. I ended up in radiology which I was actually interested in. However, once we sat down in this dark room with one of the radiologists, I quickly realized how boring this was going to be. The guy didn’t really talk to us that much, we just sat around him as he dictated a few cases, took some phone calls, and bull-shitted with the other radiologists. We saw ZERO maxillo-facial cases. It was just one brain CT/MRI after another. That was the LONGEST hour and a half of my life.

We returned to the dental clinic and discussed how to analyze blood reports which was pretty useful as I don’t know what I’m looking at when I see these things. At this point it was 4:30 and we were done for the day. I really wish we could have hung out in the dental clinic the whole day instead of wasting time in the main hospital. I know that GPRs send you on hospital rotations as well, but you will never be reading brain scans in a radiology room…EVER.

So my resolve to keep the grades afloat has been refilled. GPRs in general are not super-competitive in comparison to other post-grad residencies, but if you want to have choice and go to a specific location, you can’t be a total schmuck. I figure I’m probably in the top 30-40% or so which is reasonable and my board scores are ‘ok.’ So I just need to keep doing my best and see how things land.

I definitely see myself in a GPR though; it just feels like the right move for me.

In other news, the clinic life is going smoothly. I finally got an endo case and the patient has paid for half of it and showed up for both appointments so far. Single canal on a pre-molar, hope to finish next appointment but I am really struggling with the x-rays. I had the instructor take WL pics for me last time because I missed them on my first try. HE even missed the apex so I felt better despite having to retake them AGAIN.

I am chugging along with most things. I feel like I have gotten a good deal of operative work in – but am definitely lacking in the fixed department. However, I have THREE crown preps coming up in the next two weeks so things are progressing.

Basically I love the D-3 year in comparison to the first two. It still is dental school and it still has its ridiculous moments – but all in all, I can safely state that this is the best year of dental school BY FAR. The fourth year will just be too stressful with all the licensure crap so I can already rule it out.

And with that, I’m off to enjoy the rainy weekend.