Systems 1 Update

Since I posted about Systems 1 earlier this week, a handful of classmates have reached out to me with different views regarding the class, Systems 1. In particular, some classmates do NOT enjoy the fact that we’re spending ten hours per week on Systems alone when we could be drilling or learning other dental-related classes. Others aren’t the biggest fan of Systems because the class demands a decent amount of research conducted outside of what is presented in the classroom. According to one friend, “this [amount of work] shouldn’t be legal!” While said mainly in jest, I’m not surprised because I see her (and many other dental students) occupying library corners, group study rooms, and the 24-hour reading room during all days of the week, especially weekends. (Granted, I do recognize that not all people study in UCLA’s biomedical library, and I also acknowledge that heuristics come into play since I can recognize many dental students but few non-dental students.)

The greatest Systems-related concern my classmates have told me is that our professors have presented conflicting information. We have had 5 professors for the cardiovascular system alone. Some cover the same topics, but they do so different extents. When exam time comes and each professor writes their own set of questions, some classmates are worried that there might be two right answers when only one will be accepted. I remember one in-class clicker quiz that had a question about a patient whose respiration rate (RR) was 20/min. Technically, a normal RR lies between 12-20/min. However, our professor (contrary to a professor that I had earlier that week) labeled the patient in question as suffering from tachypnea, or a rapid breathing rate. I was confused. Good thing those in-class quizzes are primarily for learning and checking attendance!

All in all, I really enjoy Systems 1. I love what we’re learning because it provides context for the importance of oral health. In the CV system alone, we are learning a decent amount of pharmacology and how it applies to dentistry. How do you balance the risk of perioperative bleeding and sustained use of anti-coagulants in patients who are at high risk of thromboembolism (a blood clot that migrates and lodges elsewhere)? How long after a stroke, valve replacement, stent placement, or even CABG must you wait before starting dental treatment? When is antibiotic prophylaxis (dis)allowed? In what situations are epinephrine retraction cords (or literally any local anesthetic) contraindicated? These are all questions we’ve learned to answer for our exam this Wednesday!

As mentioned in a previous post, we had our human patient simulator (HPS) experience recently, and I loved it! I wouldn’t mind having HPS sessions more often. It was initially odd to hear the simulator talk, and feel him breathe and sweat and BLINK (!), but we acclimated quickly. HPS was a great learning experience!

Patient(ly) waiting
Classmates post-HPS!

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