VIDEO: Students take bite out of dental wait list

Katelyn Murray is one of CQUniversity Rockhampton's Bachelor of Oral Health students who is studying to become an oral health therapist. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Katelyn Murray is one of CQUniversity Rockhampton's Bachelor of Oral Health students who is studying to become an oral health therapist. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

KATELYN Murray is one of the students helping to take a bite out of Rockhampton's dental waiting lists. 

She's part of CQUniversity's Bachelor of Oral Health programs, one of only two in the country where students are accredited to perform fillings on adults as well as children. 

Katelyn, who studies at CQUniversity by distance from her home in Bundaberg, was at the Rockhampton campus yesterday as part of a residential school running next week.

She said it was great to be able to have some practical experience after studying by distance. 

"It's quite hard, trying to apply things from textbooks," Katelyn said 

"It's great being able to see and touch and visualise (with the training models)." 

Katelyn dreams of working with children in third world countries, teaching them how to care for their teeth. 

She also wants to combine oral health therapy with education for children to eliminate the fear many feel when going to the dentist. 

"Helping people is the main reason I like it," she said.  "(I like) seeing I can make a difference." 

Associate Professor in Oral Health at CQUniversity Rockhampton, Leonie Short said accreditation to work with adults was an important development for a regional university. 

During their degree, second and third year students treat adult patients referred by Queensland Health, as well as working with children in the government's school-based dental clinics. 

"The work they're doing I think it really assisting in reducing waiting lists (for dental care)," Leonie said. 

Leonie said it was great to see the course grow from 14 students when it started in 2012 to 60 across first, second and third years. "It's amazing to see it develop and evolve from an idea on to paper," Leonie said.   

Topics:  cquniversity

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