ORANGE is on the cusp of turning out its first group of graduating dentists who will be world-class standard, according to Charles Sturt University academic Dr Sabrina Manickam.
The final-year students and their tutors have returned to the Orange campus one month before other students to fine-tune skills before leaving Orange and taking up clinical placements at other CSU campuses.
With the fifth-year students now in their final phase of study and many planning to practise in rural areas when they graduate, Dr Manickam says the experience feels surreal.
“When I first came to Orange 14 years ago I was the only dentist working in public dentistry,” she said.
“Now I look out the window of this amazing facility and think here we have 32 new dentists who have trained in Orange.”
Undergraduate Dee Ann Culverhouse, who came from Brisbane and Sydney to study here, says she is planning to practise in Orange.
“I have already done a degree in Sydney and the support we have received here during our training has been wonderful - you just don’t get that in the big cities,” she said.
As associate head of the School of Dentistry at CSU in Orange, Dr Manickam, said the level of expertise developed by the students would not have been possible without the dedication and support of local dentists who have tutored and mentored students during their clinical training.
Shaun Day, who has also returned to CSU this week for his final phase of study, says he has not only gained valuable experience but has appreciated being able to engage with the community, particularly with patients who have had their waiting times for public dentistry cut by attending clinics at the university campus.
“After coming from Albury and living in the country I just can’t see myself going to a large city to practise,” he said.
Dr Manickam believes the Orange course has been able to offer students a high level of training and expertise and hands-on experience in various treatment scenarios.
“With our new intake this year we will have 200 dental students studying here on campus supported by around 40 academics,” she said.