Integrity, service and excellence: the experiences of USAF dental assistant instructors.
Subject: Teachers
Air forces
College teachers
Authors: Hernandez, Audrey
Montellano, Valerie
Pub Date: 11/01/2011
Publication: Name: The Dental Assistant Publisher: American Dental Assistants Association Audience: Academic; Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Science and technology Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American Dental Assistants Association ISSN: 1088-3886
Issue: Date: Nov-Dec, 2011 Source Volume: 80 Source Issue: 6
Accession Number: 287748738
Full Text: As U.S. Air Force (USAF) dental assistant instructors, it is our responsibility to train and mold young airmen to be the best dental assistants throughout the world. In order to meet the basic requirements for instructor duty, we must have at least three years of chairside dentistry experience and outstanding performance reports. Upon selection, our training and requirements to become a qualified instructor are: an intense five-week Basic Instructor Course, an Associate's Degree in Applied Science through the Community College of the Air Force, earning the Dental Assistanting National Board (DANB) Certification, and shadowing the entire 381-hour program.

The dental assistant program for our airmen is very demanding, spanning 48 training days which includes approximately 55 percent didactic and 45 percent labs. Our student labs include Dental Radiology, Infection Control, Dental Materials and General Assisting. Our program offers two of the three DANB Certifications--the Infection Control, and Radiation Health and Safety examinations--prior to graduation.

Being an instructor has impacted our Air Force careers in many ways, from the transformation of being a dental assistant to becoming educators in the military. This profession of educating the future dental assistants is gratifying. As instructors, we exemplify our Air Force core values, "Integrity first; Service before self; and Excellence in all we do." We have to be beyond reproach since we set the example for dental assistants and our military leaders.


Sharing our experiences and trials as educators with students has been rewarding; our impact has paved the path for future dental assistants in the United States Air Force. When a student graduates from our technical training he or she becomes a member of the ADAA. It's an honor to pin badges on their service dress uniforms to welcome them to our profession.

Serving as an ADAA delegate has given us the opportunity to see the dental assistant profession in another light. It was an honor to be associated with our Air Force Trustee and represent the Federal District; we voiced our opinions on key topics of our profession as dental assistants. As delegates we felt connected to our profession and our civilian counter parts. Often we read the ADAA journal for updates and utilize the ADAA website for our continuing education and proficiency training.

As ADAA delegates representing the Federal District, we will uphold our responsibilities during our term and look forward to participating in the future.

Staff Sergeant Audrey Hernandez is a Dental Assistant Craftsman assigned to the Dental Assistant Apprentice Course as an Instructor, Ft Sam Houston, Texas. She is from Kansas City, Mo.

Staff Sergeant Valerie Montellano is a Dental Assistant Craftsman assigned to the Dental Assistant Apprentice Course as an Instructor, Ft Sam Houston, Texas. She was born in El Paso, Texas.


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