Day in the Life of Kimi Khabra

Part-time clinical instructor, hygienist, and full-time mom

01 May 2020

When did you graduate from the U of A?
I graduated in 2012 with a Diploma in Dental Hygiene, in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science and in 2016 with a Master of Science.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I currently teach part-time at the School of Dentistry, and my full-time job is being a mom to my 14-month-old son! Now that I have a lot more spare time, I'm either in the kitchen cooking an East-Indian dish, trying a new recipe or spending time outdoors.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. When I entered University, I found it challenging to choose a career path. I chose to job shadow in different health care disciplines before I applied to the dental hygiene program. I chose dental hygiene because of the one on one patient interaction.

Do you have a dental hero?
My dental hero is the late Dr. Sandra Cobban. She was a clinician, educator and researcher in dental hygiene and a huge advocate for the dental hygiene progression. During my last year in school, I worked on a research project with her. She was very passionate about research, a great mentor and an inspiration to me. It was she who encouraged me to explore my options in dental hygiene and pursue higher education.

What is your favourite thing about being an instructor?
I like the challenge of being an instructor. I often refer to teaching as an "art". Let's just say I haven't created a masterpiece, yet — it's always a work in progress for me! I learn a lot from my student interactions and enjoy seeing their progress throughout the academic year.

What's your favourite procedure?
As a hygienist, my favourite task is scaling banded calculus on the lower mandibular anteriors. It's gratifying to see the before and after. I'm sure other hygienists can agree! But my favourite thing about my profession is the relationships I build with my patients. I love the fact that I get to see my patients multiple times a year over their lifetime!

What has this crazy time been like for you?
While I miss the luxury of being able to go out wherever I please, I am enjoying the slower pace of life. It's given me more time to engage in activities that I enjoy and spend more quality time with my son.

How are you coping?
I've always believed in the importance of engaging in physical activity for your mind and body. I go for a daily run with my husband and son to get some fresh air and clarity. I have also been trying several new recipes at home, engaging in some home projects and taking a few online professional development courses.

How is your clinic?
My maternity leave ended on March 14th, and then shortly after, dental hygiene services were suspended. I planned to return to clinical practice; however, given the circumstances that did not occur. Like many others, I am following the news and AHS reports and waiting to hear about when dental hygiene services will be reinstated.

Do you have any advice for graduates?
When I graduated in 2012, the dental hygiene job market was saturated, and it was difficult to find a position. At times, it was frustrating because I was eager to practice the skills I had learned in school and wanted to pay my student loans. Now when I look back, I think I should have remained a bit more relaxed and maintained a positive outlook because everything worked out. I think new graduates should try to enjoy this slower pace and downtime because once they enter the workforce, life gets busier!

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