Are you ready to take on the job market or residency interviews after dental school? If you still have questions, you’re not alone. Many dental students crave more information on how best to prepare for their career transitions after dental school.
As a health sciences major, I enrolled in a course called Evidence-Based Practice. Every week, we would learn new skills to apply to the ultimate objective: choose a clinical topic in our field and evaluate the literature to make a (hypothetical) treatment decision. As an undergraduate student with little exposure to clinical research papers, the assigned task seemed overwhelming. The truth is, learning how to evaluate literature is a skill that takes effort and time to develop, but doing so is critical. Evidence-based dentistry is so important, in fact, that it is listed as one of ADEA’s entry-level competencies for graduates entering into practice. Despite this, new dentists struggle to implement it into their practices. The two most frequently cited obstacles are lack of time and insufficient background knowledge to evaluate research critically. If you are unfamiliar with evidence-based dentistry, here are some things to help get you acquainted.
As we all know, getting into dental school takes a lot of time, money and hard work. We all have varying amounts of experience assisting and doing community service and research. We have to have a good GPA and DAT score. But applying as an international student or foreign-trained dentist presents its own set of challenges. Schools often look for more diversity, but sometimes it can be hard to present ourselves as effectively on paper as we can in person.
How can you stand out? Here are some tips to help make yourself more competitive.
Atenolol, Prozac, Coumadin, Fosamax, Omeprazole, Lisinopril. We all have a patient with a long list of medications that, at a glance, resemble alphabet soup. Often, these are the same patients who are battling complex medical conditions and are being seen by multiple physicians. Obtaining a comprehensive medical history is crucial. I am always glad when my patient comes prepared with a detailed log of their past surgeries and medical diagnoses. Other patients are less certain about their history. Some patients report they are “taking a bunch of pills that [so and so] organizes for me every week” (obviously an unclear picture of their current medications).
After a four hour long trip from McAllen to San Antonio, TX, we had arrived at the annual ADEA GoDental fair. My university, The University of Texas – Pan American, had a large number of predental students attend. We also stopped at the other Texas dental schools on the way.
What else was there to learn? I took the opportunity to explore outside of my comfort zone. I made an effort to speak to various dental schools that I had already researched online to find out more information. Out of the many schools I came across, one school caught my eye in particular. Dr. Young, the director of multicultural affairs, and a dental student, Matt, representing the University of Detroit Mercy – School of Dentistry had really guided me the most. They introduced me to UDM’s Summer Enrichment Program, which would teach me more about dentistry and help me to discover more about myself and my career aspirations. This enrichment program targets students who come from educational or financially disadvantaged backgrounds.