A conference is more than pearls of wisdom

Oct. 19, 2010
Vicki L. Garza, RDA, ITC, shares her experiences and the personal growth she has gained from attending continuing-education seminars.

By Vicki L. Garza, RDA, ITC

Whether you have been in the dental field one year or 20 years, there is always room for continuing education. It could range from a self-help workshop to implants A-Z, but you get the idea. You never know it all and you can never know too much within your choice of career. Technology and techniques are always changing. The Internet is a very helpful resource — it allows us to participate in webinars and obtain our CE credits online. This age of technology is awesome!

If you haven’t gone to a workshop or dental conference, what are you waiting for? You’ll learn about new techniques, products, communication skills, and even coding procedures. The list goes on. Attendees leave a convention ready to share new information with the rest of the dental team, and feeling more knowledgeable in their field. You will experience a sense of dental rejuvenation!

What I have found to be most useful in attending various conferences is that I learn more when I can focus in a class by myself. About two years ago, I attended an ADIA meeting in Philadelphia (where I excitedly received my fellowship!). For most of my dental life, I have gone to conferences with another team member in an area that was fairly close to home. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone!

I was a little nervous as I settled into my hotel room in Philly. That’s when I realized that in my 20-plus years in dentistry, I had never gone to a conference by myself. I took a deep breath and said to myself, “It’s time to be a big girl!” I met some really great people and made new friends because I forced myself to meet new people and learn about other practices. The networking falls into place as well. When you go to a conference with another team member or your whole team, you tend to stick together and take the same courses. That’s fine because it is good team building. But I personally experience more growth and networking skills when I make it a point to meet a new friend.

We are never too young to stop learning and growing. Knowledge and experience is something that goes far in your career; you can take it with you wherever you go — take it from me, a true convention veteran!

Author bio
Vicki Garza has spent the last 23 years as a dental assistant in various practices in the Austin, Texas, area. Her current tasks include working with an oral surgeon in conjunction with a local trauma center, and serving as a lead surgical assistant and implant treatment coordinator. She can be reached at [email protected].