The morning rush of people fills the dental clinic waiting area, as more than 80 patients arrive for their appointments at Schulich Dentistry’s main adult clinic. Staff members coordinate the crowd, offering reception support and organizing purple patient folders, while dental students greet their first patients of the day. The room buzzes with activity.
This is a regular morning start for staff working in the Undergraduate Dental Clinics. “It is an extremely fast-paced environment,” explained Jennifer Devlin, administrator of the clinics. “The team works very hard.”
The dental clinics’ administrative team is made up of 19 staff members, working in reception, supplies, purchasing, scheduling and student and patient services. The team supports 7,500 active patients and approximately 22,000 appointments per year, as well as the 146 dental students and 55 faculty members that provide clinical services to the public.
These clinical services include the main adult, children's and emergency dental clinics. The Dental Outreach Community Services (DOCS) program, part of the dental curriculum, functions with support from the team as well.
“The clinics are very important to the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry community,” said Devlin. “They not only provide fundamental learning opportunities for the dental students, but also provide a service at reasonable cost for our community.”
The supplies division of the clinics is a key behind-the-scenes factor in delivering these important services, keeping materials in stock and ready for students to use. The supply room houses plastic teeth, dentures, dental equipment parts, boxes of gloves and colour charts for teeth.
Despite being spread throughout the Dental Sciences Building – the children's clinic and supply room are on different floors – the team comes together for meetings, potluck lunches and a team-building retreat. “The Undergraduate Clinics staff is a large and well-functioning team,” said Devlin.
But what connects staff members more than physical proximity is the outcome of their efforts. Working with both patients and students is a rewarding experience for everyone on the team. “Every day in the clinics there are memorable moments that put smiles on our faces,” said Devlin.