If you’ve experienced clinic, I suspect you have had at least one difficult conversation with a patient. Having these types of talks is one of the hardest parts of our jobs and can occur every day. As dental professionals, it is our duty to report the facts about our patient’s oral health to them. Once the patient is informed, they are tasked with making a decision about the course of treatment. How can we make these conversations easier for ourselves and our patients?
As a fourth-year student approaching graduation, it can be hard to stay motivated. Over the past four years, you have worked hard, and now you feel “senioritis” looming. Although coasting to the finish line seems appealing, it may not be the best option. If you have completed your competencies, you may find yourself with a lot of free time. Use that time to expand your education. Here are some ideas to build on your educational foundation during your final semester.
It’s Monday morning. You roll over in bed and hear the alarm clock going off. At 6 a.m., there is nothing you’d rather do more than hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. We all know how this story ends because we all have likely been there: You keep hitting “snooze” and then end up running late. Starting the mornings off on the wrong foot can affect your productivity all day. Here are six ways to help you get out of bed on time.
My wife and I knew it was time for a change. We were a six months away from our wedding date and we wanted to get in shape. The lifestyle of dental school and working life had made unflattering changes to our bodies. Essentially, we wanted to get in shape before we said ‘I do.’ We joined a gym to begin our fitness journey. After a month we were seeing some results, but not as rapidly as we needed. Gym leaders discussed the opportunity to participate in an ‘elimination style’ diet. I had never heard of an elimination diet before, but we were both intrigued. Our decision to participate in the diet provided us the results we desired in time for our special day. But what is an elimination diet?
Explaining dental procedures in an understandable way to patients can be trying at times. During treatment planning appointments I often find myself talking to a patient that appears completely lost. I try to search Google to find the perfect image to depict what I am talking about. Many times I am unable to find that image. Searching the internet can be time-consuming and fruitless. Discussing treatment options with patients can be increasingly difficult for dental students entering the clinic. The difficulty lies in the details. As students, we spend years learning fancy vocabulary that oral health professionals understand. Simplifying treatment to aid in patient understanding can be challenging for even the most experienced dentists. However, there are resources available that can aid in conversations with patients about common dental procedures.
The radiographs have been taken, probing depths measured and it is time to present the plan to your patient. Behind the scenes, you have studied the patient’s case and know the ideal treatment. You’ve gotten faculty input and you are ready to discuss options with the patient. After presenting your ideas, the patient disagrees with your proposed plan and seems noticeably aggravated. How do you communicate effectively to help the patient understand the risks and benefits of treatment?
As a second year dental student at the University of Minnesota, I embraced the chance to participate in the school’s summer research fellowship without any expectations (except the promised stipend). I chose to spend my last free summer working in a research lab instead of traveling like most of my classmates. I thought I would miss out on the chance to have fun during the summer, but I failed to recognize all of the opportunities that would be available to me as a student researcher. Involvement in research has allowed me to travel across the country to present my research, which provided me networking opportunities, public speaking experience and an orientation to research within the profession.