More important than book learning and technical skills alone, patient-centered care is something that most healthcare professionals must learn on the job. Developing the listening skills and compassionate nature required of many of these career paths takes most professionals years of on-the-job training — but this isn’t the case for Goodwin students, especially Dental Hygiene students.
As our mission reflects, Goodwin seeks to educate its diverse student population in an environment that aligns education, commerce, and community. Community outreach is at the core of our mission, and it’s one of the best ways Goodwin prepares students for real-world success.
We asked Goodwin Dental Hygiene students to reflect on the work they perform in the community, the difference it makes in their lives as future dental hygienists, and how it impacts the community surrounding our campus.
Here are their stories.
Goodwin Dental Hygiene Students Reflect on Their Experiences Offering Community Education.
This piece was a collaboration of students in Goodwin’s Dental Hygiene program with the help of Program Director, Christine Walsh, and adjunct instructor, JoAnne Libano
As Dental Hygiene students, we aim to have a positive impact on the community by providing oral care to those who would otherwise go without. We educate the youth, intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals, and senior communities on the importance of oral hygiene, how to improve their oral health, product recommendations, and nutrition as it relates to oral health.
Going out into the community to share our knowledge and discuss dental hygiene issues is a great way to prepare us for our future careers as dental hygienists while providing local populations with much-needed care. We find this experience rewarding. In answering questions, offering recommendations, and explaining the role of dental hygienists, we have the opportunity to help many people while we’re still in school preparing for our careers. Bringing awareness to our communities about proper oral hygiene is an amazing opportunity for everyone involved.
In our second year of the Dental Hygiene program, we visited daycares, elementary schools, nursing homes, senior centers, rehabilitation centers, and Hartford Hospital’s dental clinic. These opportunities have allowed us to excel in many areas in both our personal and professional lives. We’ve gained a newfound confidence in our abilities to present and provide care for the public. These experiences also give us as individuals a chance to determine which populations we hope to work with most in the future.
The bond we’ve created with each other while going through the Dental Hygiene program is like no other. The challenges we’ve faced have built our character and pushed us to become better versions of ourselves, as well as better dental hygienists. Goodwin’s program has prepared us for a professional career as trustworthy and caring healthcare professionals. The opportunity to work with the people in our communities has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences in our time in Goodwin University’s Dental Hygiene program.
Here is What Goodwin’s Dental Hygiene Students Had to Say…
“I have found a passion in helping the geriatric population with their oral health. Furthermore, the program as a whole has allowed me to rely and work on my faith as a source of peace and motivation.”
“It is so rewarding to care for children with autism. When you see the children progressing from not tolerating any treatment to having a cleaning done, it makes my job feel so important.”
“It is so rewarding working with preschool-aged children who are excited to learn. The presentations are fun and interactive, which leads to the students learning and having a great time.”
“When visiting senior centers, I love how engaged they are and all of the amazing questions they ask. Mulberry Gardens was an amazing facility, and the staff and residents were so helpful and willing to learn. Presenting to senior citizens provides me with an enthusiastic feeling for the future.”
“For me, nothing is greater than helping children learn and seeing them smile when we visit their classrooms. The dental hygiene program has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life. Goodwin has provided me with the necessary tools to pursue a rewarding career in dental hygiene.”
“Since I want to go into periodontics, I loved talking to the geriatric population about information they never knew before! They were so passionate and interactive about their own oral hygiene routine and new products. It was such a rewarding experience.”
“The intellectually and developmentally disabled populations were the most fun to work with and the most gratifying for me. The appreciation for the amount of new knowledge they gained from listening to and engaging in our presentation was seen by the smiles on their faces and the multiple hugs we received.”
“I enjoy teaching older adults about their oral health and watching their eyes light up when they learn something interesting.”
By providing hands-on experiences where students offer free services to people in the community, we can foster a lifelong passion for service within our students while providing them with the clinical knowledge and experiences they need to be prepared for success in their future careers.
Throughout our programs, you’ll find opportunities like this, which serve as a bridge between school and career by providing meaningful hands-on learning experiences that enrich our local communities along the way.
To learn more about Goodwin’s Dental Hygiene program, contact us today!