Mackay Hospital and Health Service has welcomed its 2021 cohort of 10 dental students who will undertake clinical placements as part of their final year Bachelor of Dental Surgery studies.
Director of Oral Health Dr Ronel Bornman said the five-month placement offered students valuable practical training experience within the public health system in partnership with James Cook University.
“This opportunity provides the skills and knowledge they need to become confident and competent dental practitioners,” Dr Bornman said.
“The combination of a practical approach and collaborating with JCU ensures dental students are faced with real-world dental procedures during the clinically supervised placements.”
Eight students will complete their placement at Mackay Base Hospital while Proserpine Hospital will host two students.
“Students are supported by senior dental staff at each oral health facility where they will learn how to manage large volumes of patients,” she said.
“Throughout their placements students will provide a range of dental services to patients and have the opportunity to observe operative dentistry that takes place in the Base Hospital’s surgical theatres.”
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.”
This year’s student cohort includes Mackay local Zarin Tasnim who completed her education at Fitzgerald State and Whitsunday Anglican Schools.
Ms Tasnim said she was thrilled to be returning to Mackay and working with the Base Hospital’s dental clinic.
“Providing dental services has a big impact on a person’s health care and quality of life,” Ms Tasnim said.
“I’m looking forward to performing a range of treatments on patients to restore the appearance, shape and function of their teeth while providing education to reduce future tooth decay, gum disease and other conditions.”
She said the practical and creative side of oral health helped with her decision to pursue a career in dentistry.
“Every patient is unique and has their own individual needs. You’re working with your hands to help patients who may just need a filling or patients who have suffered dental trauma through injury,” she said.
“I’m proud to be contributing to not only improving their health but restoring their confidence because they can smile again.”