That ABPD Window Cling

Posted: 11/23/2015

During residency, we were encouraged to pursue Board Certification. So upon graduation, my first chance to sign up for the Oral Clinical Exam (OCE) was in March of 2007. I was sure that I was THAT candidate the Examiners would be talking about for years to come, as the nerves got the best of me and I hyperventilated during my exam. After the exam, I remember sitting on the bus going back to the hotel and Dr. Nowak telling us what a wonderful opportunity we would have as a Diplomate of the ABPD. He encouraged us all to apply to become Examiners for the oral exam. When the timing was right, I applied and was assigned to help give the Oral Clinical Examination.

As a private practitioner in a solo “nuts-and-bolts” practice, stepping into the testing center room in Dallas with the rest of the Examiners was awe inspiring. I was rubbing elbows with the people whose articles I read, studied, and memorized. These are the people I recognize from their pictures in the ADA News and other journals. It was as if there was a Pediatric Dentistry Hall of Fame and I was a visitor. But I wasn’t a visitor, I was one of the gang with the warmest, welcoming and most friendly people I have ever met. Mind you, I will never forget that day I sat for the exam; however, being an Examiner is an entirely different set of emotions. We are cheerleaders on the inside, while on the outside we are Poker-faced (pleasantly neutral).

Being an Examiner for the OCE is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun, and a great review of Pediatric Dentistry. People say it is the best continuing education that anyone can receive. I always come back to my office as a better dentist.

Now, I am at year 9 of being a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and am eligible to take the written (on-line) recertification exam, which has been looming over my head for a while. Being out of school for many years, I no longer have that crutch to lean against. I do not see as many syndromes or medically compromised cases, as they were an everyday occurrence in residency. Waiting to take a comprehensive review course, I built up the courage to complete the (ROC) test. Once you start it, you have 48 hours to complete it. Truthfully, it was a stress free and enjoyable experience. The questions were from a very wide array of topics and again, I learned a great deal of information. It was amazing to see how many questions pertained to treatment I do on a daily basis. It is a good review of the guidelines. It should be seen as a stress-free online CE, rather than thought of as a potential career-ending exam.

That ABPD window cling in my front office window has a tremendous amount of meaning, as it does for my entire Board Certified residency class. There are many more responsibilities in being Board Certified, but in the end it makes us better individual doctors.

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