I had a great day in clinic yesterday and today. And its not that the days weren't stressful. I mean, I literally spent the entire day racing to and fro trying to accomplish things. And its not until I leave school, that I realize I didn't even have a moment to eat lunch. Or even contemplate my lack of lunch. And don't even get me started on how many times I go between the two clinic floors - often taking the stairs two at a time to expedite the process. Despite what I'm sure seems like my constant complaining, I know that I've had some pretty spectacular luck when it comes to clinic.
1. I have not had to pay for any of my patients' dental work. There are a lot of my classmates who have not been so fortunate. I had a moment where I thought I might need to, which was definitely a pride point I had to get over, but then things just sort of fell into place. My patients came prepared to pay and get the work I need for my requirements done.
2. My externship site was amazing. Sure, Dr. B was crazy and the office was way too full of drama for my tastes. And Dr. B kind of hated Adam and I for no reason. And yelled at us for ridiculous reasons - like the fact that we had "too many" cases (which we had zero control over getting because she assigned them to us). But I got a lot of my graduation requirements done on externship. And any requirements done away from the school are a hundred times easier than requirements achieved in school. Externship saved me. Without a doubt.
3. I only had to minimally interact with the Remo Lab lady. And for the most part she was quite nice and accommodating for me. Yes, she still would rudely mimic my speech if I said "like" and I still had to wait in her horrendous line. But with my partial denture requirements done on externship and only one team denture at school (and being the B team for said denture), I really didn't have much interaction with her.
4. Lets talk about being the B team for my team denture. At our school, since there are not enough dentures to go around, if a patient needs both an upper and lower denture and is edentulous (aka they don't have any teeth in their mouth), two students can do a Team denture. Team dentures are the best. Each student does each step and creates their own denture. But you share the responsibility of booking the patient and can help each other with the steps. But only the A team gets the real denture teeth when you're setting the teeth and their denture gets processed (while the B team destroys theirs at the end). As the B student, people seemed a lot more lenient on my work not being completely perfect. But since I still did all the steps, I still get all the credit.
5. Also, my denture patient was a dream. Literally, the sweetest woman ever. I had my doubts when we first met her - she had been a little flaky about the appointment and said she didn't know if she could afford the denture. But since that first appointment she has been the perfect patient. Some of the steps are uncomfortable. And she had to do them all twice. But she didn't bat an eye. And she never ceased to praise us for all our hard work. It was very rewarding that of any denture experience at school I could have had (and I did have another team denture patient that was less than great to put it mildly), I got an ideal patient, with an ideal mouth. It literally couldn't have gone better.
6. Except for a few minor hiccups (cough lastfinalimpressionsummative cough), I have completed all of my summatives (aka the testing of my dental skills on specific procedures) on the first go around, without a hitch and usually with some praise. I have five requirements left. And they all have appointments. That is all that stands between me and graduation. Five summatives. (And of course the sign out process which is an entire other beast).
I have worked hard to graduate on time. And the goal feels quite attainable right now.
I had a first year assisting me during my second session yesterday. And while she assisted, I tried to talk to her about what I was doing. To inform and when appropriate, let her try. I felt competent. And I had the sudden realization that I have indeed learned a lot of dentistry. I have more knowledge than when I was in first year. And being able to see the contrast in front of me, made me feel quite proud of my accomplishments. Explaining what I was doing on a very simple filling made me think that someday I might be interested in teaching at a school. Because while I may not be the best student ever, I think that clinically I am quite competent, and with practise I could be an excellent dentist. And its not everyday you get a realization like that. Especially when school has drained most of my desire to be a dentist out of me. It was nice. Even if it was short-lived.
Clinic is not perfect. School is not perfect. But I can see the end. And I'm in quite a good position right now for an on-time graduation. And that is not too shabby.