ASDA alumni on the benefits of attending NLC

Every year, ASDA’s National Leadership Conference brings together students who are eager to set their foundation as successful dental practitioners, health care leaders and future business owners. With educational programming on career planning, leadership fundamentals, personal development and wellness, chapter management and advocacy, students at every level of their dental school career are sure to leave the event with action items as well as long-term goals for success. ASDA alumni help plan the event through participation on the NLC Planning Committee. Here’s what 2018 alumni committee members are looking forward to most this year.

Opioid use: Reframing how we think about pain management

Imagine it is 2 a.m., and you are cramming for your pharmacology exam. You flip through the hundreds of flashcards you created to memorize the properties of the medications and corresponding treatment protocol. You come across analgesics, specifically opioids, and remember they are used to alleviate pain. In school, we learn about the properties and proper dosages of the drugs we will one day prescribe, as well as how to address potential concerns of usage with our patients, but in order to enhance our own patient care mentality, we should reframe how we think about pain management overall.

Dental education at a crossroads

Dentists have proven themselves time and time again to be dynamic innovators in the medical field. From Dr. Horace Wells, the pioneer of anesthesia, to Dr. William Rollins, who revolutionized radiation protection, there is a rich history of dentists on the cutting edge. The artisanship inherent in dentistry pushes modernization. All of this is driven by the ideal of comprehensive patient-centered care. However, in a field entrenched in tradition, new technologies can seem disruptive. Often we are slow to integrate them, especially in an educational setting. Though there are countless factors in evolving face of dentistry, one consistent challenge remains.

Seeking education after school hours

Extracurricular learning can give students an edge. I started dental school in 2013. Classes started at 8:30 a.m. sharp and continued until 4:00 p.m. I was pretty excited with class work, but unfortunately my curriculum didn’t have any patient interaction in the first year. I decided to go in search of a medical & dental clinic where I could observe. At first I had trouble finding the right fit, since I was just a freshman in dental school and still had a long way to go to complete my studies. Then I found a hospital that allowed me to observe in the general, emergency and surgery departments. I went to the hospital for four hours every day after school. I would study late into the evening. My day typically began at 5:30 a.m. and went until 12:00 or 1:00 a.m. It was very hectic, but the learning opportunities I found were amazing.

A small act of advocacy

social media advocacyOne of the pillars, at all levels of organized dentistry, is advocacy. As members of the American Student Dental Association, advocacy is not something to be viewed as an entity that is merely provided to us. Advocacy is a personal task that should be actively engaged in so that we can serve as a voice to our colleagues, law-makers and the general population.

For today’s dental student, the utilization of social media is at times used to vent about a rigorous week at school, post pictures of your latest sim clinic work-of-art, or even share that infamous “stab lab” photo op. The ‘likes’ and comments these posts generate can be astronomical and are comprised of other dental students, family members and friends. It is easily apparent that through our postings we have the ability to reach a variety of different individuals.