Tips for Starting Clinic (2)

You survived the first two years of dental school! Congrats! Transitioning from the didactic portion of your education to clinic can be both exciting and a little nerve-racking. Your time in clinic will fly by, so you must be strategic in how you manage your clinic time. 

This is my second (and final) blog post featuring a rock-star colleague, who is a rising D4. She will share her advice on how to succeed as you transition to clinic. This is Part 2 of “Tips for Starting Clinic.” Be sure to check out Part 1 here!

My final interview is with Janet. I was so fortunate that Janet was assigned to me as my “clinic little.” She has an amazing personality and is loved by her friends, colleagues, and patients. I was so thankful to have her as my assistant during the board exam too! She’s the best!

1. What general advice do you have for rising D3’s as they begin clinic?

After being assigned new patients, don’t spend too much reviewing each patient’s medical/dental history before you call them because, at this point, you’re not even sure if they will be coming back to the school anyway. So, just make phone calls first!

2. What was the hardest thing about starting clinic and how did you overcome it?

Getting through the medical history was very slow and tedious at first. After a lot of practice, especially in urgent care, you’ll get through the medical history much quicker. Also, for new patient exams/treatment plan work-up’s, have everything listed that you need to accomplish, and have alginate materials set up as well. PRO TIP: Use voice memo on the phone to record perio charting when there’s no one around the help perio chart.

3. How can a D3 build up their patient base/rolodex?

Pick up patients at screening! Sometimes, they’ll even refer their family members! If a patient cancels, ask if there are emergencies that need to be seen.

4. What can a D3 do if he/she has down time (e.g., no patient scheduled, patient no-show)?

I go to the ortho clinic to assist/screen. I’ve helped friends perio charting, assisted with fillings (help your classmates out!!! We get through clinic together). Go to oral surgery and see if you can help assist with extractions and learning how to extract.

SIDE NOTE: Not only is assisting a kind deed, but “what goes around, comes around!” When a classmate has completed all their perio requirements, perhaps they will give you their next perio patient because you have been so helpful. Remember, D4’s will be focusing on fulfilling specific graduation requirements and may be ready to transfer patients to you! It is important to network in clinic…doing so kindly is best. Kind deeds and networking are not mutually exclusive!

5. What procedures should a D3 focus on?

 Do lots of operative! …and perio requirements!

6. What can a D3 do to set themselves apart from their classmates in clinic?

Assist D3’s and D4’s (faculty will notice your efforts!). Help each other and learn from each other. Be prepared before coming into clinic, be set up and ready to go. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I hope you enjoyed my interview with Janet. She has some great pearls of wisdom! Be sure to check out my Previous Post, in which I interviewed rising D4, Dan!

Do you have any tips for starting clinic? Comment below!


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