Interview with a senior dental student
Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Lauren Brubaker a senior and president of her class at Texas A&M University College of Dentistry.
CDOT: What has your dental experience been like?
Lauren: My experience has been phenomenal. I could not be more grateful for the time I have had and all that I’ve learned these last few years. Whether through forming lifelong friendships with peers, soaking in the wisdom and insight of experienced faculty and mentors, making cherished memories during involvement in community services opportunities, or experiencing personal refinement via countless leadership positions, I continually strive to become a better version of myself and believe I am a better person because of the great people in my life?
CDOT: What do you want more of?
Lauren: I hope to further my clinical skills this last year of dental school. One area that I don’t feel quite adept is, like many of my peers, in finance and practice management.
CDOT: What opportunities do you see after school?
Lauren: I hope to obtain a position in an orthodontic residency program. It is my hope to obtain an associate position in a privately owned orthodontic practice – this way I can further enhance my knowledge of the profession alongside a trusted and experienced mentor. Later on, I plan to become either a partner or open up my own office. Organized dentistry is an interest of mine and I hope to involve myself at the local level….maybe even one day at the state or national level.
CDOT: What opportunities are presenting themselves to the students?
Lauren: As part of our practice management we will have disability and malpractice insurance company representatives etc. shed light on these important topics. The DSOs have “social” events that occur outside of the classroom. We have not had any private practice dentists come to present opportunities or speak on how to find these. That would be nice though!
CDOT: Where do you see the future of the way dentistry is practiced?
Lauren: It seems that many students enter into DSO because they feel that they do not have many other options. Perhaps they can’t find a proper associate job or maybe they are just frightened by the immense load of student debt and desire to make “fast money” to alleviate a bit of the burden. DSO may appear to some to provide ample opportunity to make quick money without a huge investment in the business side of dentistry… immediate compensation, minimal commitment to patients, 8-5 hours without weekend obligation… This doesn’t appeal to me though. The reason I entered dentistry was to form lasting relationships and create opportunities to positively impact the health of my patients. I hope that the private practice model survives. I don’t like the idea of government-run, government-dictated dentistry or dental corporations. DSO and the like aside, though, I still believe there is a lot of hope for a positive future in dentistry. To name a few: the intentional nature of my classmates, their keen attention to detail and patient’s rights, their desire to make morally sound decisions, and their ultimate respect of patient autonomy and beneficent nature… not to mention incredible clinical skill and intelligence - these are the positive silver linings that I prefer to focus on.
CDOT: What are other issues that are of concern to you?
Lauren: Student loans will always be a fear that (nearly) every dental student faces. Disability, malpractice, filed-for Insurance and accounting duties are foreign topics now. I hope to further immerse myself in these vital aspects of practice management so that I can be a well-rounded and resourceful clinician. The government-run aspect of dentistry frightens me… why would I attend 11 years of post-secondary education for someone who knows nothing of teeth to dictate my daily actions?
CDOT: How can we help?
Lauren: The fact that you all reached out to our class is such a blessing. I feel as though I can ask anything of you! At this time, there is so much else on our plate - what with board exams, finishing up patient rosters in the clinic, WREB licensure, etc. I’d like to attend more meetings for NTDS this year, and perhaps networking with you all and other dental professionals (orthodontists?) would prove beneficial. Truly, most of what we learn in dental school revolves around hand-skill and patient interaction. The practice management, business-model, marketing and finance, fostering of team/community among staff - that is where I will need lots of advice and helpful hints!
THANK YOU Lauren. We wish you the best!
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