Monday, August 26, 2013

Dental Hygiene student Bethanie Baird shares her experience of cleaning teeth in Nicaragua

Bethanie Baird, TCC Dental Hygiene student, visited Nicaragua this summer where she and other students cleaned patients' teeth. Below, she shares her experience with us.

After arriving in Managua, Nicaragua's capital city and the location of the airport, my first emotion was shock. Seeing so many buildings and homes with only two walls and dirt floors was so unthinkable to me. The massive amounts of trash and debris on the side of the roads were unbelievable. The most heartbreaking sight was the animals, or walking skeletons. I had never seen anything like this in my life. I admit, I was very nervous and I never thought I would survive a whole week there. After meeting our driver, Juan Pablo and the dentist we would be working alongside, Dr. Sampson, I soon realized the people were nothing as I expected.

My first experience cleaning teeth was that following day. I had seen pictures and a video of the working conditions prior to the trip, but it is nothing one can imagine until it is experienced firsthand. The patients sat in lawn chairs, and we stood either behind them, or we would squat beside them to see inside their mouths. We worked outside in the blistering heat, and after every patient we would have to wipe the sweat from our faces. The amount of decay and tartar these patients had was unbelievable, even on children as young as two. Some of the patients had never even owned a toothbrush, something we don't think about in the United States. We traveled to different cities and "sectors" as they are called, and after four days of cleaning teeth and applying fluoride to children, we counted approximately 360 patients we treated.  We also had the opportunity to visit a nutrition center -  this is where parents sent their children if they were malnourished and could not afford to feed them. I think we all left in tears that day. A total eye-opening experience.

These people were the kindest individuals I have ever met. They were so appreciative of our services to them and did not complain at all, even though they were in obvious pain. The procedures we performed on some patients would require local anesthesia in our clinic, and these patients did not have anything to numb them. They had a whole attitude of "my house is your house" and welcomed us everywhere with open arms.  I fell in love with the culture while I was down there. Family is very important to them, and they are so trusting of one another. It was amazing to me to see people who have so little, be so grateful and so proud of what they do have.  After spending a whole week without things I never thought I could live without (air conditioning, hot water, flushing toilets, technology), I started looking at things from a different perspective once I arrived back to the U.S. I wish everybody could have the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua and learn from the people and their way of life. 

Pictured above: Dental Hygiene students clean teeth in Nicaragua during summer 2012.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A virtual 'meet the teacher' awaits

In elementary school, it was great because you always got to meet your teacher a couple of days early at the highly-anticipated "Meet the Teacher" night. You got to see your new classroom,  pick out a spot where you'd like to sit, and check out your classmates. But in college, it doesn't quite work that way, for better or for worse. You may not meet your instructor until the actual class starts, and you may not even know where your classroom is unless you put in some prep work for locating the class.

Even though you might not "Meet the Teacher" officially before class starts, there are ways to get familiar with the instructors at TCC on the TCC website and through Blackboard. Many areas of the College have faculty web pages, including Full-Time Faculty in the Business and Information Technology Division on the Southeast Campus. And, check out this great introduction of Suzanne Reese, associate dean of allied health on the Metro Campus.

No, not every instructor has a detailed profile page, but you can learn more about your instructors before that first class by doing some digging on TCC's website or Blackboard.

Happy browsing!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Congrats to the people making a difference

People are what make TCC great. Students eager to learn and build their resumes. Faculty prepared to share their expertise. Staff positioned to help students enroll, find their classes, apply for scholarships, etc. Again and again, when people talk about TCC, they talk about, well, the people.

Employees from every area of the College gathered yesterday on TCC's Southeast Campus to kick off the new academic year. At this event, several employees were selected as TCC Excellence award winners. These winners were nominated by their peers for the excellent work they do with and for students. Since many of you may know the winners, I'm thinking you might want to tell them "congrats," either by leaving a comment on this blog or telling them in person, so here are their names:

Lynnda Brown, Kara Ryan-Johnson, Jim Elder, Mary Ellen Sullivan, Patty Smith, Glen Jones, Tom Rowe, Jerry Rhodes, Larry Bittick, Becca Floyd, Pam Lucas, Keilah Deatherage, Lyn Kent, Lindsay Fields, Gornie Williams, James Price, Cheryl Lindle, Peter Kovaleski and Dianne Kirk.