I grew up with the impression that dentists were the only people that ever worked with oral procedures. Until recently, my friend, who is currently attending dental school, suggested that I try going into the dental hygiene profession, knowing that I aspired to work in the dental field. He explained to me that being a dental hygienist is a great career to pursue that deals with oral preventive care. I never knew what the tasks and responsibilities of a dental hygienist entailed until I went to West Coast University's dental hygiene clinic and observed the soon-to-be dental hygienists working on patients. .
When I arrived to the clinic I was asked to wear scrubs, a hair net, and a facemask. I walked into the clinic as the students were preparing their area before the patients arrived. The clinic was as spotless as can be; clear plastic bags were covering the keyboards, mouse, chairs, and trays, basically anything that the students were going to touch was covered. To prevent contamination, I saw that the sanity of the environment was very important to a clinic. A dental hygiene professor gave me some tips on when meeting a patient. She told me that the most crucial thing to do in this profession is to communicate, and always make the patient feel comfortable. I strongly agreed with this because I think that not only are we dealing with a person's body part, but also it is a business in which we hope that the patient will continue to return after their first appointment. After a brief overview of the whole clinic I went to see a student work on a patient.
I observed a student, Jasmine, as she was meeting with a new patient. Accompanied by her mother, the patient was about 4 years old and she had never had her teeth checked before. Jasmine was very professional when asking the mother questions about the patient's health and medical history. The interaction between Jasmine and the little girl made me realize the importance of providing attentive patient care.