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A warm welcome to our new first‑year students

Posted by Cheryl Bell on October 23, 2023 in News
New first-year students celebrate the beginning of their studies in oral health care

The atmosphere was festive as over 100 new first-year dentistry and dental hygiene students gathered together at a First-Year Welcome Reception on August 31 to mingle with each other and meet faculty and staff.

There was also serious business to conduct as well. Dr. Ben Davis, dean of the Faculty of Dentistry and representatives of the Provincial Dental Board, the College of Dental Hygienists of Nova Scotia, and the American College spoke about the responsibilities and expectations of being an oral health care professional.

In his remarks, Davis reassured students that they have joined a "supportive community of people who want to help you to succeed and flourish". At the same time, he stressed the need for students to be truthful, courteous, and respectful to patients and to commit themselves to lifelong learning as professionals. Most importantly, "professional and ethical behaviour should be reflected in every aspect of your life".

Stacy Bryan, registrar for the College of Dental Hygienists of Nova Scotia, looked back on her 36 years in the dental hygiene profession and said that the students would make lifelong friends during their programs and have wonderful mentors and guides to teach them about their ethical and professional responsibilities.

"I have no doubt your integrity, compassion, caring, and ethics were part of the reason you were drawn to these professions," she said. "You will be able to further develop these characteristics as you advocate for your clients."

She urged the students to focus on serving others with integrity and courage and to "find your passion within your profession".

Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia registrar Dr. Doug Mackey stressed the importance of communication – as well as clinical – skills, saying that they were essential to becoming competent and ethical practitioners.
"Of the complaints the Provincial Dental Board receives against dentists from members of the public over the course of a year, the vast majority could have been avoided had better communication taken place," he said.

Speaking on behalf of the American College of Dentists (ACD), Dr. Debora Matthews talked about the ACD as the "conscience of dentistry" and its role to promote the highest ethical values, professionalism, and leadership.

"Your entry into the profession of dentistry and dental hygiene begins now," she said, "and will continue not just over the next few years within the Faculty, but throughout your personal and professional lifetime."

The First-Year Welcome Reception marks a change in the way the Faculty has welcomed new students into the profession. Traditionally, a white coat ceremony has been held early in first year at which students were presented with their white coats. The First-Year Welcome Reception is a less formal way to meet and mingle with faculty, staff, and other students. Personalized white coats will now be presented to students at their respective graduation dinners as we send them off to begin their professional lives.

See the Facebook album of photos from the event.

Below: l-r Dr. Doug Mackey, Stacy Bryan, Dr. Debora Matthews, Dr. Ben Davis