There’s a new face, and a new situation, at a downtown Warren dentist’s office.
Warren County Career Center Health and Medical Assisting student Samantha Beatty is working in a co-op with Dr. Peter Hoffman.
Beatty is learning her craft and being paid through the career center’s TANF co-op program.
When she started in the co-op, Beatty expected a good experience with a lot of observation.
She’s gotten that and more.
There are some things Beatty is not allowed to do — anything that requires a certification that she does not have, for instance.
But, for most tasks, the decision is up to Hoffman. “Everything we do here is under the watchful eyes of Dr. (Whitney) Trubic and me,” he said. “We can delegate anything that a person is capable of.”
“Right now, he’s having me assist,” Beatty said. “I get to see root canals, help with impressions, and billing. I get to watch the dental hygienists and get experience from that.”
“There are a lot of ways you can learn and participate,” Hoffman said. “She asks great questions.”
“All the co-workers are amazing and they try to make my experience better,” Beatty said. “They’re teaching me how to do sterilization of instruments, packaging instruments, setting up and tearing down rooms and cleaning them.”
Beatty has been working out very well at the office, Hoffman said. “We made her part of our dental family.”
“A couple of times, a technician had to go do something else and she stepped in and assisted,” Hoffman said. “We gave her pretty much free rein.”
Beatty was expecting to be almost exclusively an observer.
“I didn’t think they’d be having me do this much,” she said. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”
The skills and knowledge she takes back with her will better prepare her for a course of study as a dental hygienist. Beatty has been accepted into the program at Penn College.
The HMA program doesn’t have a heavy focus on dentistry. “Mrs. (Diane) Swartz knows that and helped me get into the office,” Beatty said. “It’s going to give me a huge head start. I’ll go in knowing more and having a lot of experience.”
“Our whole idea was to take her and give her some advantages,” Hoffman said. “The more you know, the better off you will be.”
That includes things as basic as the nomenclature of things in the office to any techniques she can pick up.
He said Beatty will be able to save time in areas she is comfortable with from her time at the office and apply that extra time to concepts and practices that are less familiar.
There’s another benefit.
“I get the opportunity to earn money from the program which I will put toward college,” Beatty said.
The placement is a feather in the cap of the career center.
“We’ve never placed a student out of the Health and Medical Assisting class at such a high placement,” Smith said. “Dr. Hoffman has been absolutely wonderful.”
The co-op is working out for the student, the office, and the program and what Smith, Swartz, Beatty, and Hoffman have begun could well grow in the future.
For now, Beatty is working only in the mornings. Hoffman has already informed Smith that she is welcome to continue in the summer if the program has funding for her.
And, if the career center has an appropriate intern next year, “we’d be happy to do it again,” Hoffman said.