24 September 2016 – 3 October 2016 – 11 Semester 8 IMU dental students spent one week visiting a dental hospital and university in Shenyang, China for an elective posting. Batch representative, Lee Yuan Wei, relates to us the students’ experience in China. “The overall itinerary that was planned for us includes observation of clinical cases by tagging us to different specialist (which comprise of majority of our schedule), live demonstration of endodontic cases and periodontal cases, interaction and discussion with local students and staff, practicals in dental lab and visit to a dental clinic in Gaizhou. We were exposed to a lot of clinical cases in the dental hospital in Shenyang and noticed that their clinical procedures were mostly aided with technology such as laser, ultrasonic irrigation and cadcam. We were also able to compare with local students the differences in our education system. Firstly, we learned about the concept of the dental hospital. Besides that, we also learned about how cadcam works, casting of cobalt chromium denture and management of paediatric patients . We also learned that the caries status in the Chinese population is quite high in children even in families with higher socio-economical status, suggesting that oral health awareness was not strongly implanted. The oral health system in China focused a lot more in paediatric patients as compared to that of Malaysia. We were also exposed to marketing skills and entrepreneurship through discussion with staff of the dental hospital. We were also taught about how to use bulk fill composite to achieve higher success rate in restoration for children. Dr Shao introduced to us the steps to achieve full mouth rehabilitation by allowing us to observe his clinical procedures with patients.
As the batch representative of the class, I was given the chance to communicate with Shenyang dental hospital representatives before we depart, as well as during the elective posting to make some necessary amendments. In my opinion, the posting went very smoothly. We were well taken care of, and our interest to learn in specific fields were taken into consideration.
During our visit to the dental lab, we were assigned to observe dental technicians at work. Our group members voiced up that the session was allotted too much time (a whole day) as we were all familiar with labwork. I communicated with the staff in charge and came to realise that the arrangement was made because dental students in China were not exposed to any labwork until Year 5, and they assumed that we were the same. After proper communication with them, they decided to teach us about things that we are not exposed to eg wax up of veneer, color selection and fabrication process of veneers. I was very glad that the issue we voiced up ended with a good outcome. In my opinion, this elective posting is a success as all the objectives are achieved. This elective posting improved my own professional development and taught to be more patient and efficient in clinical work. My weakness revealed during this posting was being anxious when a situation arises while my personal strength was my ability to communicate in Chinese fluently. I still need to develop social skills , communication skills as well as critical thinking skills . What would further improve this posting was to involve more specialists from oral surgery and prosthodontic fields as the main focus was given to paediatric dentistry during this visit. Lab visit duration should be shortened. Other than that , it will really be great if we were exposed more on knowledge about entrepreneurship . In conclusion, we benefited not only in clinical knowledge, but also introduced about work opportunities of Malaysian dentists in China. This elective posting was not only fruitful and productive to us, but also stimulate their dental students to think in different perspectives. We hope their students also have the opportunity to have elective posting in other countries. There was a proverb in Chinese stating that ‘Traveling a thousand miles is better than reading a thousand books’. We sincerely wish that the subsequent batches were given the same opportunity as us to explore, to learn, and to broaden their minds and vision. We would like to express our gratitude towards our dean, Prof Toh for giving us an opportunity to participate in this elective posting, Dr Ng Jet Wei for flying from Singapore to make sure that we were well taken care of, as well as Dr Shao and his colleagues from Shenyang Aoxin Hospital who had put in a lot of effort to arrange the itinerary for our best interest . We are extremely grateful to be a part of the meaningful and unforgettable posting.”