I was initially interested in the field school, thanks to a close friend who completed the
Camosun College Dental Hygiene program a few years ago. Once I was accepted into the
program she immediately encouraged me to consider the opportunity. My friend
recommended that I partake in the field school since it provided her with a new outlook
on the profession of dental hygiene.I also chose to apply for the field school because I've
always wanted to volunteer in another country. Since returning to Canada I too can say that
my perspective of dental hygiene has changed. I believe this experience will shape how I
practice as a dental hygienist and I encourage dental hygiene students and dental hygienists to
take advantage of any volunteer/field school opportunities- they are well worth it.
I will never forget this experience as it has given me a new perspective on the profession of
dental hygiene. I know have a deeper understanding of the complexity of human needs. A
particular memory comes to mind: At the hospital in San Pancho I met a woman who
suffered from Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis in addition to multiple chronic health conditions.
This client was withdrawn, nervous and in obvious discomfort. She asked if our team would be
able to extract her painful tooth during her dental hygiene visit and appeared disappointed after
learning that we could not perform this treatment for her. After completing the assessment
phase my client requested to have a short break but unfortunately, did not return for further
treatment. Although this was difficult for me, I realized that my client had various unmet human
needs which took priority over dental hygiene care at this assessing all potential unmet needs
and assisting your clients in addressing their most immediate concern first. I am thankful that
my client was able to fully express her concerns and that I was able to give her direction prior
to her unexpected departure.
I think this experience will help focus my practice as a dental hygienist. As previously mentioned
I will continue to assess the 'big picture' and remain aware of all potential unmet human needs.
I will also continue to take the time to listen to my clients and assist them in addressing their
most immediate unmet need first.