Saturday, July 26, 2014

In Honour of Volunteers

Life can be crazy busy sometimes, can’t it?  I often hear that as the reason as to why people choose not to volunteer in initiatives within their community.  And indeed, some people likely do have more time available than others; or individuals may find that at certain stages of their lives, ‘things change’.  That is okay, every little effort helps! 

Why bother to volunteer anyway.  It is not like there is a paycheck attached to it!  Sometimes, it is just nice to extend a helping hand, no strings attached.  But a string here or there does not  hurt either.  For instance, volunteering is a great way to explore possible career options.  It is also a great way to utilize some of your time when you are between jobs.  You can seek out opportunities which continue to hone your skill set while perhaps building new skills!  You are also broadening your ‘network of contacts’ which is crucial in today’s world.  There really is a lot to be said about the common catch phrase, "It’s who you know." 

Now let's set career building aside.  I personally find that volunteering some of my time is quite simply personally satisfying.  I do try to find volunteer opportunities that fit with my values, so for me, I am generally out and about helping with social justice and environmental education opportunities.  The video I created is a modest showcasing of a few people who are at different stages of their lives.  Some may volunteer more than others at any given moment, but the ‘key’ is that they take the time to help ... when they can!  Even though some of them volunteer in other ways not listed in the video, this is just a sampling of how volunteer efforts can make a difference. 

Within the YouTube video featured with this blog, I have listed several links to not only some of the programs these individuals are involved in, but links to other opportunities within Oxford County.  Take the leap and find a way that you too can ‘volunteer with vision’.  Not only is it personally fulfilling, you are most likely helping to make someone else’s life … somewhere … a little better because of your efforts! 

Catherine Stewart-Mott

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Dentist in the Making

Personable ... Professional ... Proficient

If I was asked to think of three words to describe Grant Vezina, the ones above would quickly come to mind.  Not only because the words sound poetic when vocalized, but because they are indeed accurate descriptors of the young man referenced in this blog entry.  Grant is a University of Western Ontario student who works diligently to achieve success in his academic studies and associated clinical work, yet he somehow finds time to engage in recreational interests such as astronomy, photography, and biking.  I am glad he recognizes the importance of work-life balance; mind you, it is not an easy feat when you are a student in a highly content driven course of study within the medical field!  Kudos to you, Grant. 

So how exactly did I meet Grant?  Here is my 'Who, What, When Where, and Why' approach to explaining it!

Who would I meet?  I originally called the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ontario to inquire about the dental services available and was booked for a patient screening appointment.  At this stage, I had not met Grant, but was advised a student dentist would call me to book an appointment.  Over the course of several visits, I would meet a variety of people, such as front line reception staff, dental hygienists, dental assistants and full-fledged dentists who served as clinical instructors.  And of course I would be introduced to Grant, pictured above!  On occasion, there would be an 'audience', meaning that additional students observed or acted as Grant's assistants if there was a patient cancellation.  I saw some great examples of team work at the clinic!

The Bionic Woman?
What could I expect?  At the initial appointment, I was advised of criteria I had to meet, obligations required of me, and what I could expect if I were to become a patient.  I was agreeable to the terms and looked forward to moving on to further stages, which would involve a more detailed tooth-by-tooth analysis, x-rays, a standard tooth cleaning, repairing some dental caries, and the creation and fitting of a mouth splint.  I was respectful of the fact that appointment times would generally take longer, due to the clinic's instructional setting where procedures are discussed and later reviewed with an on-site instructor.

Facebow Record (purple) & Mould

I would describe Grant as very adept at handling a range of procedures, and he had an exceptional ability to communicate with everyone around him.  At this time, Grant was a third year student in a four year program; he taught me so much along the way.  And as I am sure he could attest, my curiosity and questioning was a constant companion during our appointments!  I guess you could say Grant maintained a great 'chair-side' manner despite his vocal patient.  Luckily for me, Grant was very good in terms of administering injections.  That was lucky for him too, or I might have instinctively smacked him!  Just kidding!  No chance of that as they tied my hands down to protect themselves.  Again, just kidding!

When would my appointments be and how long?  My screening appointment was quite short. The remaining ones varied as to when they were booked and the length of each appointment, dependent upon Grant's and my availability as well as the nature of what was done at each appointment.  Generally speaking, it is suggested that you anticipate a three hour visit.  Grant himself was responsible for booking his patient appointments, and at one time, I learned he had almost twenty individuals to juggle around in his schedule!  I have a hard time imagining how this industrious young man managed to fit in academics, client bookings, clinicals, and exam preparation, all while squeezing a little recreation and rest into the equation!  I suspect he has good time management skills!

Where would I find myself with each visit?  Although the building location obviously stayed put, the ‘dental cubicles’ as I called them changed regularly, depending upon available space and services undertaken.  As there were close to 100 of these spaces, one could get lost in the maize.  Grant appeared to know the clinic layout like the back of his hand, and he was very familiar with the wide array of dental tools adorning each station.

My Mouth Guard!
Why would I choose a university dental clinic?  This is the biggy, really.  I could have contacted a dentist closer to home, but after someone suggested  the university dental clinic as a possible option, I envisioned an adventure of sorts ... a first hand opportunity to tag along on someone's career journey.  And that was a big enticement for me!  I mentioned my interest in writing about my 'adventure' to Grant and fortunately for me, he was agreeable.  It was him who took most of the photos seen here.  It also occurred to me that each person who visits the clinic as a patient is helping to shape the future of the students who attend.  Plus the mouth guard was a great deal, price wise! .  An all around win-win!

In Conclusion!

Grant Enjoying a Recreational Ride
Grant is currently three quarters of the way through his academic journey at the University of Western Ontario.  He possesses a natural ability to describe in layman's terms the various procedures and vast terminology inherent to the dental field.  I was impressed with his ability to internalize so much information and by extension, describe it to me.  I have absolutely no doubt Grant will be an outstanding dentist and in the not too distant future, a mentor within his field! 

A quick quiz!  Which of these is another term for a mouth guard? See answer further down! 
Bruxism Appliance?  Bruxism Splint?  Occlusal Splint?  Night Guard?  Bite Plane?
    (The answer ... all of them!  In my case, it helps protect me from grinding my teeth at night!) 

    Related Blog Entry:  Experiential Learning - Sink your Teeth into It!
    Website for More Information:  Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry

    Catherine Stewart-Mott
    Forward Momentum Services

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