From Dental Assisting student to Dental Assistant
Maritza Estrada was recently featured in one of our Student Spotlight blogs; she stood out for her dedication to her studies, her positive attitude, and her commitment to helping fellow students and mentees. We now follow up with Maritza, who is enjoying her first job.
Maritza Estrada began her first job the day after passing her Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam; she was ready.
“She took her exam on a Friday morning and started her job on Saturday,” explains Sasha Czyzewski, her instructor. “Once you have that certification, you can practice taking x-rays on an actual patient.”
Maritza was one of the nine cohorts who prepared, studied, and passed the exam together—a milestone that can significantly boost their chances of finding employment.
Maritza’s employer—Risas Dental and Braces—had been eager to hire her since she had done her externship with them; she was offered the job before her exam. She is excited to now be part of their team as an Orthodontic and Dental Assistant, gaining valuable experience every day.
“Most of the time I work in general practice, so we handle children and adults,” she says. “We do cleanings, fillings, extractions, and root canals. Other times I work as an orthodontic assistant, doing braces. Right now, I do adjustments on patients. My coworkers who are more experienced do starts (people getting braces for the first time).”
Her favorite part of her job so far?
“I really enjoy meeting new people,” she says. “I get to meet all sorts, from all professions, and hear so many different points of view. It’s interesting to get to know them, to build a rapport with your patients.”
Working in the dental field in the time of COVID-19 means more precautions, of course.
“We take precautions to protect patients from exposure to each other,” Maritza explains. “Walk-in or early patients wait in their cars; we don’t let a lot of people into the lobby—maybe three patients at a time. The PPE for us is mostly the same as it had been before COVID, but we wear two or three masks instead of just the regular one. We aren’t allowed to take them off—not even in the lab or the back. We can only take it off when we are eating in the break room, and when we do, we take off lab coats or PPE so we don’t transfer anything from PPE to our breakroom.”
During her fourth term at Carrington College, while still learning virtually, Maritza herself had COVID-19; despite that challenge, she was able to turn her work in on time and not miss a beat. She chose to keep her illness private until she was fully recovered and medically cleared to go back to school.
“I was well enough to go to school, and I didn’t want special treatment,” she explained. “I just didn’t want to fall behind.”
Maritza showed integrity, compassion, and kindness as a student, and was dedicated to helping her fellow classmates, mentees, and instructors. We know she will do the same in her career, providing the best possible care to her patients and to those who work with her. Congratulations, Maritza, on your new job!