Shadiya Hasan is a recent graduate at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, and served as a Student Ambassador of THE NEXTDDS over the past two academic years. For those looking to open a practice, check out her latest blog entitled Overhead Expenses for a Dental Practice for information regarding budgeting, dental laboratory costs, administrative fees, etc. Read the below exclusive from THE NEXTDDS!
THE NEXTDDS: Let’s get started and start at the beginning--why did you choose dentistry as a career?
SH: There are several aspects of dentistry that I really admire. The most important is the connections you make with your patients. You really get to form long-term relationships with most of them, and they appreciate your care. You really get to give back in a way that’s productive. I also like working with my hands and the aesthetics of it.
THE NEXTDDS: Your first patient is always memorable. Were you nervous or excited for this milestone?
SH: I was definitely very excited to start clinic my third year. We were finally getting to use all the knowledge we’d learned the first two years of dental school but, at the same time, this was very nerve-racking also. Now there’s a real person in your chair and that’s a bit scary but you just have to get started and you’ll get the hang of it.
THE NEXTDDS: From your vantage point, what aspect of dental school is the most challenging?
SH: For the first two years, the most challenging aspect was time management as well as allocating enough time for each subject. You may need to study and prepare for 5 exams in one week. You really have to budget your time. For the third and fourth year, the most challenging aspect is patient management. You have to be your own secretary, your own assistant; you’re running a one-man show.
THE NEXTDDS: What roles do social media and educational resources play in dental education? How frequently do you access them for school-related activities?
SH: Facebook is one of the social media sites our class particularly uses to communicate. For us, it shares class-related deadlines, exam information, and any other important info and announcements. It’s a way for everyone to keep in touch. The digital aspect of dentistry is incredibly important.
THE NEXTDDS: It democratizes information, right? We see the same applications for THE NEXTDDS. Next question: How do you envision your next five years of dentistry?
SH: After graduation, I will be starting orthodontic residency in San Francisco at the University of the Pacific. My program is 27 months and, after I finish, I would like to start working as an orthodontist wherever I get the best opportunity. As a new clinician, I would like to learn and pick up as many skills as I can so I can one day open my own practice and be successful.
THE NEXTDDS: This one is going to be obvious given that last reply…but what clinical topics do you find the most intriguing?
SH: Since I will be specializing in orthodontics, I find that intriguing. However, prosthodontics is probably the most intriguing that I’ve done a lot of cases for. I think it’s really interesting. You learn it for the first two years, but it doesn’t really gel until you actually work on a patient who doesn’t have teeth. I did a denture case where we made the patient look 10 years younger. I love that aspect of it. Everything that I learned in this field will help me in the future.
THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics would be most beneficial to illustrate in some online or interactive capacity?
SH: I think all the prosthodontics procedures will be immensely helpful to see in images, videos, and articles. It was very difficult to transition to clinical work; doing a procedure hands on was very different from reading a PowerPoint or textbooks. Having step-by-step images or videos are extremely beneficial. I’ve watched videos of certain procedures on YouTube to see how it’s done before I attempt it myself.
THE NEXTDDS: We applaud the thirst for knowledge—you’ll have to keep us in the know of procedures we can add, and in a peer-reviewed scientific format. How has your experience as a Student Ambassador for THE NEXTDDS helped you network with peers?
SH: Last year when I was a D3 ambassador, the role helped me get to know my D4 classmates. When I started, I had to send out a D4 student survey so I had to get in touch with them to figure out how I can share this request with them. Being a Student Ambassador basically helps you establish connections.
THE NEXTDDS: And we appreciate all the great work you’ve done since that time. Switching gears now, what are your chief concerns of being a dental student?
SH: I think most dental students across the country view student loans as a concern. Here’s an example: Right now dentistry is a profession that requires mentorship and guidance from older dentists. I really look up to the faculty and my mentors, because they helped me succeed in school. Typically, the academic route may not be the most lucrative, so we may have the best, most-talented rising teachers that cannot pursue an academic route because of their student loan burdens. This is a concern the entire dentistry profession should have. What if we established a solution in which debt forgiveness is given to teachers because we need them as mentors?
THE NEXTDDS: That’s a great suggestion—and nicely phrased. What do you enjoy most about being a dental student, or dental school in general?
SH: I enjoyed working with the patients; you learn so much. They teach you how to be compassionate. If you can be an empathetic clinician during school, I think it’s something you’ll carry on for the rest of your life. These aren’t just teeth you’re treating, there are people behind them. Every patient I treated with severe dental anxiety was extremely grateful and appreciative afterwards--and I love that. We make a difference in their lives. When a patient comes in with no teeth and we give them dentures, they’re so grateful and there is a sense of fulfillment in that.
THE NEXTDDS: You get to change lives. That’s really quite a gift. All at THE NEXTDDS thank you for being a great Student Ambassador at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine for the 2014-2016 academic years. Congratulations, and we hope all the best for you at University of Pacific and in your future endeavors!