Dental internships are often hard to come by, but I was lucky enough to land an opportunity in Fort Wayne. Here’s an overview of my experience as a paid dental intern with Hale Family Dentistry. It’s been invaluable and has given me a new perspective on dentistry. If you are thinking of going to dental hygiene school or taking on an internship, read on!
In my courses at Indiana University Fort Wayne School of Dental Hygiene, I learn a lot, but there’s nothing that compares to being out in the real world. Getting to observe Dr. Hale, the assistants, the hygienists, and even the office staff helps me use critical thinking and application of all the skills I have learned thus far in a real-life patient situation. Working at Hale Family Dentistry has given me a chance to excel in my studies and will set the stage for future success. It’s been a great opportunity to get hands-on experience.
Learning Different Roles
Working in a dentist office has helped me see that not everything goes according to plan. This has helped me embrace variability and learn from more experienced dentists. I’m gaining knowledge and experience that I wouldn’t get in school. I’m able to learn more than strictly hygienist duties such as sterilization, down-time duties, scheduling, marketing, and more. I’ve been taught a lot about insurance and financial aspects, which are a vital part of dentistry and patients’ satisfaction with their dental visit. I have also learned more about the dentists’ role and the different types of exams he can conduct.
Shadowing Dental Hygienists
Listening to how our incredible hygienists interact with and create relationships with our patients has helped me see how to value our patients and treat them so that they feel comfortable. It will help me with creating a safe and secure environment for my patients at the clinic during the school year.
A huge part of dentistry is creating rapport with patients and creating a space where they’re confident in sharing their questions and concerns without fear of judgment, and Hale Dentistry has shown me a perfect example of how to do so.
Dental Insurance Woes
Since it is something we haven’t spent much on in school, insurance as a whole is something that is challenging to understand for me. The girls in the office are so knowledgeable and patient with me as I continue to ask questions and try to become more educated on the basics of insurance.
The different types and policies that each insurance contains are a lot to try and remember and can be discouraging when attempting to keep everything straight. However, Mollie and Marita are always willing to walk through things with me step by step and remind me that learning new things takes time and to not let it discourage me.
Adapting & Learning in Dentistry
The skill of being able to adapt to new environments is something that is essential to being successful in your career. Not each place you work is going to run and operate the exact same way. Adapting to your surroundings so you and the work environment can work efficiently as possible helps everyone work as a team and work to the best of their abilities.
Also being willing and eager to learn or observe new things is an important attribute to have as well. I often watch procedures that the dentist and assistants do, even though I am in school to become a hygienist because it is interesting and valuable to me to see the reasoning and thought process behind the procedure.
Having a passion for learning new things and information is a valuable trait that I will carry throughout life because the ability to grow and become more knowledgeable is always available.
Tips on How to Get a Dental Internship in Fort Wayne
Networking in the Dental Community
Connect with the professors in the field and ask if they know any dental clinics that are hiring or offices that regularly use interns in their practices. Ask family members about their dentist, or schedule a meeting with someone already in the field of hygiene. This can help you establish relationships prior to graduating, and get you one step closer to your dream job.
Reach out to Local Dental Clinics
Many practices like Hale Family Dentistry are happy to train students who are looking to be in the dental field. Good employers know it’s essential to be a part of the next generation of learners and future employees, too! They learn from us just as much as we learn from them! It’s a win, win!
In a dental internship, you will get much first-hand experience, but you must be willing to step in and help where needed. Be flexible and willing to help out to learn more about the profession. It will be invaluable in the long run.
Ask for a Meeting
Being a student means you are in learning mode. Set up a meeting with someone in the profession and interview them. Be prepared for the meeting (of course) with questions and interests you may want to learn more about. This will help you get in the door and create relationships you wouldn’t have before.
Being proactive and following these tips will increase the chances of landing a job in a dental internship and maybe start earning some money in the process.
Dental Internships at Hale Family Dentistry
We hope you enjoyed learning about what it’s like to be an intern in the dental field! We are so grateful for the support of our patients who let her shadow and we hope to continue supporting her on her journey towards success. If you or someone you know would like more information regarding our dental internship program at Hale Family Dentistry please feel free to reach out we’re happy to answer whatever questions you might have too!
– Call (260)482-3759 –