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Community Connection

Students visit nursing homes on new rotation

Dental students and dental hygiene students are teaming up on a new rotation that provides care to patients in local nursing homes.

Two D4 dental students and two dental hygiene students accompany Dr. Patricia Skur, assistant professor in public health sciences, to one of 13 local nursing homes on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

The nursing home rotation began as an option for dental students in the spring 2007 semester. The idea came from Skur, who provides care herself at the homes. She worked with Dr. Dan Jones, professor and chair of public health sciences, to establish a student rotation.

“Many of the students who participated that spring enjoyed their experience, so we decided to incorporate it into our rotation schedule in the fall 2007 semester,” Skur says.

Near the completion of the rotation’s first year, leaders from the dental hygiene program expressed interest in joining the rotation. JoAnn Scofield, dental hygiene associate professor and clinic coordinator, organizes the dental hygiene students’ participation.

“We gave the students the responsibility to determine which services they could provide that would help the patients,” Scofield says. “This includes brushing their teeth, cleaning their removable appliances, performing oral health education, or just providing a smile and a little company. The students took the initiative to visit each room to see what they could do.

“The nursing home rotation has been such a good experience,” Scofield says. “I am very proud of the students.”