Why did you choose your specific health professional career?
As a youth, I worked in the dental department. While there I enjoyed working with the patients as well as seeing the dental assistants work one on one with patients to make a difference in each patient’s oral hygiene. The patients left that office happy after they realized that they could make a difference by using techniques that were shown to them by the dental assistants.
What experiences did you have to make sure this profession was right for you?
Several experiences that I had came from visits to the Well Child Clinic with my own children. I noticed that there was a large amount of baby bottle tooth decay in many children. This led me to make a difference in my own family’s oral hygiene. I made sure they had regular checkups. In addition, I didn’t give my children a lot of sweets and I took the time to help them brush their teeth correctly.
Describe any obstacles or barriers to success that you encountered along your health professional career path and how did you overcome them?
When I made the decision to attend Apollo College, I had lost the father to my children. The realization that I was now the sole provider for my children made me work harder to get into school and keep up with my attendance. I disciplined myself to be on top of my work and I encouraged my children to always do well in school. Through the example of my determination, I have opened more doors for my children to work hard on at their education as well as sports and not to be afraid to take on any challenge.
What do you do in your current job?
As a lead Dental Assistant it is my job to oversee the every day duties of the clinic. This includes working on patients care, being a liaison between staff and patients, as well as working with the receptionist. I am also responsible for coordinating work schedules and work orders. The new employee orientation in our department administers the dental radiographic quality test. I also work with the Tohono O’Odham Nation Police department to expedite the forensic identification procedure as well as the Tohono O’Odham Nation’s Solid Waste Department for Bio-Hazard Material/ Chemicals for the proper disposal. The most important duty as a dental assistant is to be the right hand of the dentist at all times and to remain at the chair side.
What advice do you have for American Indian/Alaska Native students who are interested in health careers?
My advice would be to study hard and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Learn to be patient and pray every day; this is where I got a lot of my strength from. If you decide to go to college for four years, time goes by fast and before you know it, you are on your way to fulfilling your dream.