Alumnus Wells Anderson (D.D.S.’60/D) recounts his experiences and the lessons he learned as a resident at the VCU School of Dentistry:
In April of 1960, I was close to graduating from the School of Dentistry at the Medical College of Virginia. I recognized that before attempting to develop a private practice, I first needed to further develop my skills and talents. I had had a great dental education and needed to build upon that.
When a new dental residency was being established at McGuire Veterans’ Hospital, Dean Dr. Harry Lyons asked me if I would be interested. As the first resident, I would have the privilege of developing the new program so I said yes and almost immediately was 100% involved.
I set up rotations through Operative, Prosthetics, Crown and Bridge, Oral Surgery, Oral Pathology, Observation of Head and Neck surgery in the Hospital, Hematology, Photography and a half day every two weeks observing and learning in private dental practices.
I can’t tell you how valuable this year was to me. Much technique and financial and practice management knowledge was gleaned from the half day visits to the private practices of Dr. Fitzhugh, Dr. Butterworth, Dr. Jennings and others. Dr. Jennings, a pedodontist, had a wonderful way with children and I used his techniques and vocabulary my entire dental career. Dr. John Salley in Oral Pathology and Dr. Elmer Bear, Dr. Henry Kalwick and Dr. Carl Andersen consulted one morning a week in Oral Surgery and Pathology. Dr. Andersen, head of the department, tutored me in administration and also put me in charge of the supply room (which badly needed organizing). The dentists in operative and crown and bridge shared their knowledge and techniques as did the technicians in the dental lab. I did dental care on many quad and paraplegics and frequently tended to dental emergencies on hospitalized patients. The familiarity acquired from this hospital care allowed me to be on the Visiting Staff of Champaign’s Burnham City Hospital for more than seven years, but I realized in order to continue I needed more experience, so I withdrew.
My only regret was that I had no practice with Endodontics during my residency — I don’t believe that service was offered through the clinic at that time.
I understand from Dr. Robert Bigelow, who completed his McGuire residence in 2009, that it was for him and is now a two year program.
That means you can learn twice as much!