After being a student just months earlier, Dr Pabbati says he is frequently asked what life is like ‘on the other side of the fence’, joining his former teachers as a colleague.
"It's kind of surreal ‘on the other side’. It was daunting, working with my old professors and teachers. You'd imagine they'd still feel like they need to have responsibility over you — the 'training wheels' — but they've shown a lot of trust in me,” Dr Pabbati says. “At the same time, the faculty is still really supportive and here for me if I have any questions. That’s been fantastic for my development.”
After the daunting beginning, Dr Pabbati is now seeing more of the benefits he can provide to students by having so recently been in their position.
"For me, it's really easy to relate to students, knowing what they're going through because I was in their position not long ago. I think that gives good insight for me as a supervisor, knowing what they might need to hear, to provide assurance and build their confidence,” Dr Pabbati says.
"Teaching is a really good way for you to continue learning as well. When you’re explaining things to students it deepens your understanding and breadth of knowledge as well. That's something really special about this position."
The JCU Dental Clinics in Townsville and Cairns are vital parts of the provision of accessible health care in the North and Far North of Queensland. Since JCU’s Dental School was launched in 2009, over 80,000 patients have received care at the clinics. While service is open to all members of the community, it is of particular assistance to pension card holders who might not otherwise be able to afford certain dental care.
“The work at the clinic, for me, is going to the roots of what dentistry as a health care profession is all about: providing important services to those who need them. It's really fulfilling work and I'm grateful for the opportunity JCU has given me,” Dr Pabbati says.