January 29, 2010
Beginning in the fall of 2009, students enrolled in the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry's Dental Hygiene Program began a rotation in San Francisco to work and study. The hygiene students, who normally study at University of the Pacific's main campus in Stockton, now spend four days each at the San Francisco campus and the Union City clinic as part of their program.
Fostering a sense of partnership between dentists and hygienists, the rotation is giving dental students and hygiene students the opportunity to learn from each other. While in San Francisco, hygiene students observe procedures in the school's many clinics and serve as teaching assistants to Integrated Clinical Science (ICS) professors. They also spend time together in the school's Union City clinic, where they experience a professional working environment similar to private practice.
"Teaching the first-year dental students how to probe was awesome," said Ashley August, dental hygiene class of 2010. "You realize how much you have learned and how far you have come when you teach someone else."
Additionally, the hygiene students are allowed to watch emergency and surgery procedures, and frequently are asked to assist. In the pediatric clinic, hygiene students are given the opportunity to treat patients and enhance their patient management skills in partnership with dental students.
The dental hygiene rotation was initiated to encourage collaboration between dentists and hygienists. Typically, dental students have minimal contact with hygiene students. This rotation reveals the capabilities of the hygiene students and promotes a solid partnership among the school's dental and hygiene graduates. During their rotation, hygiene students stay in student housing, which also allows them to socialize with dental students in a non-academic environment. Thus far, feedback about the rotation has been positive.
"I realized how far I've come in such a short time," said Katie Thode, dental hygiene class of 2010, about her time teaching in ICS. "I loved how everyone was so friendly and so appreciative of our help."
Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry's Dental Hygiene Program is the nation's first 36-month program leading to a bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene. By integrating education, experiential learning and clinical practice, students learn to work with the dentist and the dental team to treat a wide variety of patients. Details about the program are available on the dental school's web site.
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