Dignity and Charitable Contribution

     Yesterday was my first experience volunteering with my school's Dental Club for Access Dental Care Partnership at a church in VA Beach.  Before arriving I wondered what I could offer far as assistance and to be useful for my school and the people I was about to serve.  I did not want to be useless or come across uncaring.  I thought for a moment I had already started off on the wrong foot for not wearing anything bright or clown like to honer my hero Dr. Patch Adams.  

    Clearly as I walked in with my fellow dental scrub mates, this day was going to a challenge, and we were the underdogs that had showed up on time. We quickly noticed that everything was unorganized and too many people were trying to be in charge.  We remained stead fast informing of our capabilities and greeting everyone with warmth and confidence.  Inside my mind I was thinking this is wear I learn how I will fit in and adjust learn what my beliefs are and were my weakness are.  

     As the flood of volunteers came in it was quickly apparent the hygienist from a norfolk college were the preferred to assist the Dentist and other medical staff.  My director was over-looked as a D.D.S. herself until a student approached her with appropriate title.   But an hour into serving my fellow dental assistant's proved to their Dentist that they were more than competent for the portable setting.  This setting looks like a disaster zone emergency triage unit.  

     The setting alone would make someone uncomfortable and concerned if these people are truly helping them from the kindness of their heart or have to as some sort of gain or punishment.  I can completely empathize with those who came for service.  I got into dental care because I am a patient of a local free clinic myself.  I know how horrible and costly insurance is.  I know what it is like to be denied insurance.  I know how the care varies and the patient's self worth depends on that care.  I had an emergency root canal done my first week of school.  I was unable to complain about the built up of dust on the light above my face.  No other Dentist would take me in with out insurance and accept payments.  I had to swallow and pray that dust that fell in my mouth was cleaner than the dust that enters my mouth on a daily basis.  When providing a charitable service,  professionals and students have to be tactful when dealing with other's especially in a church that is hosting the event.  I can not control other's only myself.

       As the morning change to afternoon, half of those who were their for some school related gain or other means had left. Then a new panic arose of Dentist leaving as larger group for service came.  This was were I got to learn who where the D.D.S. that were humanitarians.  I got to see who was truly professional and kept to their Hippocratic oaths and who didn't.  I got to realize if I would be professional and a humanitarian at the same time.  I'm damn proud to say, I finally matured into a Southern Belle.  I was frank when needed to be with staff, honest to all, sympathetic, hugged, shook hands, and ensured those who I helped that I cared. My signature was on the voucher they were receiving for further care.

      I now have 100% confidence with the direction of my life and my current field of education.  I know in the next few years the pay scale is going to switch between Hygienists and Dental Assistants.  I can't wait for the next event.  

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