Registered Dental Hygienist and
Clinical Instructor for Owens Dental Hygiene Program
1983 Owens Graduate
"Owens completely prepared me with a good, solid foundation to enter my field and succeed."
Profile of Excellence: Sue Nichols
Owens Community College Alumna
Sue Nichols takes dental hygiene very seriously-and never forgets to floss. She knows firsthand the outcome of those who do not. Sue is a Registered Dental Hygienist for Dr. Michael Porter and a Clinical Instructor in the Dental Hygiene program at Owens Community College. Sue is also a 1983 Owens graduate.
Growing up in Tiffin, Ohio, Sue thought she wanted to work in an office. She worked a summer in an accounting firm-hated it-and went back to the career drawing board. Her parents and Sue agreed that a two-year degreed program would be a good starting point and Sue chose the dental field.
Only a small number of Ohio colleges offer a dental hygiene program and Owens Community College was Sue's number one choice. One week after her high school graduation, she started college. Since Tiffin was too far to commute, Sue lived in an apartment complex close to campus with a second-year dental student. "During the first month, I was overwhelmed," said Sue. "I wanted to drop out." Encouraged by her parents to stay the course, by the end of the first semester, she was doing well with her classes and clinical experiences.
Sue began by learning all the parts of the mouth, nerve and skeletal configurations, anatomy and the multiple surfaces of the teeth. During the first semester, Sue and her fellow students were practicing on each other. In their clinical labs, they would become comfortable with the movement of instruments and how to position themselves to work on their patients.
By the second semester, Sue and her classmates were ready to practice on "real patients," which meant family and friends. When those were exhausted, the dental students would canvass other Owens students. "We could clear a room pretty fast," laughed Sue. "When a group of hygiene students entered a room, people would scatter."
In June 1983, Sue had graduated from Owens Community College and took her written National Board and North East Regional Board. By August, the results were in and she had passed both. Sue accepted two part-time positions with two established Toledo dentists. "The flexible schedule allowed me to work as much or as little as I wanted," she said. "I could adapt my career to meet my needs." This built-in flexibility proved paramount as her four children were being raised.
When Sue had practiced almost 10 years in the dental field, she was recruited by Owens to be a Clinical Instructor. Excited to return to her original stomping grounds to help current students, she accepted. "I lend my experience to complement what the Owens students are learning in the classroom," she says.
Citing the sweeping changes in dentistry since she began in the field, the Owens Clinical Instructor brings the positive message to today's students. From the increased awareness of diseases that can be orally transmitted; the impact of gum infections to overall health; and the explosion of cosmetic dentistry, the dental hygienist occupation has been tagged as a hot career for the next 20 years.
Asking Sue the key to her accomplishments, she said, "The Dental Hygiene program at Owens Community College is very thorough and broad. Owens completely prepared me with a good, solid foundation to enter my field and succeed."
"And remember to floss!"
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Contact Laura Moore at (567) 661-7410 or firstname.lastname@example.org