After hearing from the previous field school participants about how rewarding their experience was in San Pancho, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I’ve always been interested in volunteering in a different country and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Although I’d never been away from home for that long, the community of San Pancho was so welcoming and accommodating that it became my ‘home away from home’.
The experience in San Pancho was so rewarding and valuable both personally and professionally. I have learned to adapt well to change because not everything is going to go the way I want it to, particularly in a foreign environment. Being taken away from the use of all of the equipment and supplies in our clinic and not having a dental chair and light allowed me to work with what I had and still finish treatment. One of the more valuable aspects of our appointments was that we really focused on completing treatment for our client in one appointment. Because we were booked solid every day, it was very unlikely that space was available on the limited days remaining whereby the client can come back for another appointment. This allowed us to use our best judgment and focus on the areas in their mouth that needed the most attention. Knowing that it might be years before the client has another hygiene appointment was hard to grasp, but it inspired me to treat them the best I could in that one appointment. Not only has this helped me with my time management skills, but it also gave me more confidence that it is possible for me to see a client in 1 hour or so, similar to what it would be like in private practice J.