Dental patients benefitting from the addition of 10 dental students to the Mackay and Proserpine dental clinics.
Director of Oral Health Dr Ronel Bornman said Mackay HHS offered students valuable training experience within the public health system over five months in partnership with James Cook University.
“This collaborative approach ensures dental students are faced with real-world dental procedures and emergency situations during the clinically supervised placements,” Dr Bornman said.
“Students are supported by senior dental staff at each oral health facility. An equally important aspect which students learn is how to manage large volumes of patients.”
Dr Bornman said she was impressed with the students’ enthusiastic start and commitment to providing healthcare in regional areas.
“Students very quickly realise the importance of skilled public health professionals and delivering high quality health outcomes for our communities,” she said.
“The addition of dental students has proven to dramatically reduce wait times for public health patients and those who need it most.”
Last year Mackay HHS dental clinics provided more than 138,169 oral health treatments.
This year’s cohort of James Cook University Cairns Bachelor of Dental Science students includes three educated in Mackay.
Divya Arun studied at Central State School and then Mercy and St Patricks Colleges.
Divya decided on dentistry in Year 12, knowing he wanted to work in the medical profession.
“I had some guidance from my sister who is a dentist as well as family friends who are dentists, and I also did some work experience while at school,” he said.
Divya said he was attracted to dentistry because of the satisfaction it gave patients.
“It’s the smile you give people, they are really happy they have had care and been looked after. It’s also an interesting profession because we provide oral health check ups for problems such as cancer,” he said.
Kaveet Raniga attended Whitsunday Anglican School and switched career aspirations from engineering to dentistry after having orthodontic treatment.
“I went through quite a bit of dental treatment myself and also worked at an orthodontist after school twice a week to observe and help where I could.
“This showed me I would be comfortable in this profession. Moving forward I don’t have firm career plans but will be happy to keep working in a regional area,” Kaveet said.
Praveena Sivanujan’s inspiration is her dad, Mackay Base Hospital’s Emergency Department SMO Dr Siva.
“Ever since I was young, I wanted to follow after my dad. After doing some work experience, I decided on dentistry.
“Dentistry is not just science, it’s art as well. It has a creative side that I find attractive. It takes finesse to get a filling just right and make it look part of the actual tooth and you also get to work with a lot of different materials,” she said.
Praveena said seeing up to eight patients a day gave them all great experience and the opportunity to do complex procedures.