Professional Volunteer FAQs

Mission of Mercy: Professional Volunteer FAQs

The Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation have partnered to host the 2020 Mission of Mercy project; a special statewide dental access program to be held July 24-25, 2020, at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Mission of Mercy will represent Minnesota dentistry’s largest free dental clinic event to date.

Dr. Alejandro Aguirre, is serving as chair of the 2020 Mission of Mercy event. The Minnesota Dental Foundation welcomes individuals who have a passion for dentistry and caring for the underserved, to volunteer for this important project.

Many other state dental associations and foundations have similar Mission of Mercy events. Find more information at the Americas Dentists Care Foundation website.

1. What is a Mission of Mercy?

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A Mission of Mercy (MOM) is a 100-chair dental clinic with portable dental stations set up in a large public arena. Dental screenings and services are provided on a first-come first-served basis, at no charge to those who attend. MOM combines the donated services of hundreds of dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental laboratory technicians and an array of volunteers to provide these free dental services.

Patients will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis with hundreds of patients typically lining up outside the night before. Care will be provided to adults and children. Dental services that will be provided include: gross debridement and prophylaxis, amalgams, composites, extractions, limited endodontics, and treatment partials. Services not provided are implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, molar endodontics and 3rd molar extractions.

2. Why volunteer for the MDA Mission of Mercy?

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Volunteering at the MnMOM provides a sense of commitment and service with ourselves, our communities and our state. It is a soul satisfying experience because it comes from the goodness of your own heart, with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Your service to the MnMOM event also highlights the continued problem of access to care to the citizens, Legislature and leaders of Minnesota.

3. When and where is the event being held?

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When
Clinic Dates: July 24-25, 2020
Set up: July 23, 2020
Teardown: July 25, 2020 (immediately following clinic closing)

Where
St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center
10 4th Ave. S.
St. Cloud, MN 56301

Directions to Venue

4. I am a Minnesota licensed health care professional, what do I need to know to volunteer for a clinical position?

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All medical and dental health care professionals are required to be licensed by the state of Minnesota and have a current, active Minnesota license to practice. Minnesota Mini Licenses are required to be worn by all dental professionals during the event. Anyone involved in direct patient care or sterilization must have received Hepatitis B vaccinations. Infection control practices will be maintained at all times during the event.

5. I am a dentist or hygienist, but do not have an active license to practice in the state of Minnesota. Can I still volunteer?

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If you wish to provide patient treatment you must apply for a special volunteer license through the Minnesota Board of Dentistry. There are many wonderful non-clinical areas where you can volunteer. Patient ambassadors have an opportunity to interact with patients, to answer questions and to ease their anxiety while escorting them to the various clinic areas. Be a patient greeter or work in exit interview. Perhaps you would like to help in the hospitality area to provide food and beverages to the many volunteers.

6. Will my liability insurance cover me while at the MnMOM?

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The Minnesota Mission of Mercy purchases liability insurance for all volunteers.

7. Will dental and hygiene students be able to treat patients?

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The MnMOM has many wonderful opportunities for students. A limited number of dental students will be allowed to provide direct patient treatment under the supervision of their dental school proctor. This event will be a great learning opportunity and we encourage students to volunteer in positions where they can interact with patients – dental triage assistant, patient education, post-op instructions, assisting in restorative or oral surgery, or patient ambassador.

8. I am not a dental health care professional – what can I do at the MnMOM?

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There are many positions available to general volunteers. Interact with patients by being a patient ambassador, in registration, translation services, waiting room coordinator, patient greeter. You can also work behind the scenes in data processing, food and beverage service, maintenance or parking.

9. I have difficulty in standing and walking for extended periods of time. Will I still be able to volunteer?

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Absolutely, we have a limited number of volunteer positions that can be performed while sitting. Please let us know of any concerns you have on your registration application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. If we are unable to fulfill your request or you find you are unable to perform your assigned duties, just let us know and we will see where we can utilize your talents and contributions.

10. Is there a minimum age for volunteers?

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In order to assure everyone’s safety, all volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.

11. Is there a local hotel you recommend?

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Room blocks have been reserved at the following hotels in St. Cloud. Be sure to mention the group codes to receive the special rates.

Best Western Plus Kelly Inn (Headquarters Hotel)
100 4th Ave S, St Cloud, MN 56301
Rate: $99
Group Code: MN Dental Assoc.
Reservations must be made via phone: 320-523-0606
Rooms will be released on July 8, 2020

Courtyard by Marriott
404 W St Germain St, St Cloud, MN 56301
Rate: $104
Group Code: MN Dental Assoc.
Reservations must be made online via this link
Rooms will be released on July 8, 2020

12. Will there be designated parking for volunteers?

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Parking will be complimentary for volunteers. This will be included in future communications.

13. What should I expect at the Mission of Mercy?

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The St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center will be set up as a portable dental clinic with the anticipation of seeing 1,000 patients per day for the two-day clinic. Add to that approximately 1,000 volunteers and you have a Mission of Mercy.

As patients register they will be asked to complete a form for basic demographic information and their health history. The form will be used for triage and to record patient treatment information. Patients will be treated based in their most urgent needs, with infection control and pain elimination as the first priority.

The clinic will be divided into several areas: Registration, Medical and Dental Triage, Radiography, Hygiene, Restorative, Pediatrics, Endodontics, Oral Surgery, Prosthodontics and Lab, Pharmacy and Patient Education. In addition, there are support areas such as Sterilization, Dental Supplies, Volunteer Registration, Data Processing, Hospitality as well as Food and Beverage.

A dental clinic with 100 portable dental chairs, lights and units will be set up to treat patients. The chairs will recline and the units will have access to water and suction. Given space restraints, each dentist will be able to have one dental assistant.

Children 12 and under will be treated in the pediatric clinic area.

In addition to receiving needed dental treatment, MOM patients learn the importance of good daily oral hygiene practices, healthy diet and routine preventive dental care. They learn about the negative effects of pop, sugary beverages and tobacco products, the link between dental health and overall health, oral cancer and more.

14. Will dental instruments, equipment and supplies be available or should I bring my own?

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Dental instruments and handpieces will be provided. There are amalgamators and curing lights available, one for every two restorative stations and one cavitron for each hygiene station.  Dental restorative materials, burs, anesthetics and disposable dental supplies will also be available. All gloves are latex free.

Those who prefer to work with their own instruments are welcome to bring them along as it may make the experience more enjoyable. Please feel free to bring your own STERILE instruments, clearly labeled with your name. There is a process in place to help ensure you get your personal instruments back after they have been sterilized. If possible, please bring your instruments in cassettes. Instruments not in cassettes will be individually bagged. The sterilization department will process personal instruments separate from the MOM instruments.

There will be a portable dental stool for each work station but feel free to bring your own. Please be sure all equipment brought to the clinic is CLEARLY labeled. If you are volunteering for both clinic days you may leave your equipment at your station. There will be overnight security in the clinic area.

15. Will radiographic equipment be available?

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Radiographs will consist of digital periapicals or panoramics. Select patients will have pre-treatment images taken of the tooth/teeth in question as part of the registration/triage process and prior to being seated in the post-triage waiting area.

16. Is nitrous oxide available?

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No, nitrous oxide will not be available for dentists or hygienists to use on patients.

17. What else should I bring?

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WHAT TO BRING:
The same Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Centers for Disease Control guidelines that apply in the dental office also apply at MOM. We will provide masks and gloves for all volunteers needing them and disposable gowns. If you have favorites, bring a supply of them for your personal use. There are no guarantees we’ll have a specific product, because we get supplies donated as much as possible. Clinicians should bring protective eye wear. Eye wear is only provided for those working in sterilization.

We want your experience to be as enjoyable as possible and for some that means using a specific instrument or material when working. Therefore, we encourage you to bring your own. There is a process in place to help ensure you get your personal instruments back after they have been sterilized. Bringing your instruments in cassettes will help save time otherwise each instrument will be individually bagged.

STOOLS:
Please consider bringing a stool or two from your office, especially if you have a comfortable one that you like to sit on.

WHAT NOT TO BRING:
Please leave valuables at home or lock them up out of sight in the trunk of your vehicle. There is no place to lock them up inside the facility.

WHAT TO WEAR:
Dress comfortably. You will be doing a lot of walking or standing on a concrete floor, so

Comfortable, closed-toe shoes are a must. No open-toe shoes are allowed.
Doctors will receive a scrub top and all other volunteers will receive a t-shirt. Please wear the shirts provided so you can be easily identified as a volunteer. You can wear pants, jeans, shorts or skirts – whichever you prefer. Shorts and skirts should be of a length that is appropriate for a professional atmosphere, family setting and shows respect for patients.

Every effort is made to maintain a comfortable inside temperature, but it is next to impossible for it to be comfortable for everyone in such a large group. Therefore, you may choose to wear layers under the volunteer scrub top or t-shirt provided or a sweater or jacket that allows your volunteer shirt to show. Having the option to change into shorts and/or pants is also a good idea.

18. What should I NOT bring?

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Please leave valuables at home or lock them up out of sight in the trunk of your vehicle. There is no place to lock them up inside the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center.

19. Where should equipment be dropped off?

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If you are bringing your own stool or other large amounts of equipment, there is an equipment drop-off area at the loading dock area of the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center.

20. Can I bring my own dental assistant or will one be provided for me?

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You are welcome to bring your assistant, but they must register individually. Once onsite they will be paired to work with you. If you do not bring an assistant one will be provided to you to work with. Dentists are encouraged to have their entire office sign-up; there are opportunities for everyone in the office to help. This builds staff camaraderie and they will be talking about it for months.

22. How do I provide my employer with proof that I volunteered for the MnMOM?

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After the event we’ll send out a thank you confirmation email listing your hours of volunteering.

23. What should I wear?

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WHAT TO WEAR:
Dress comfortably. You will be doing a lot of walking or standing on a concrete floor, so comfortable, closed-toe shoes are a must.

Clinical volunteers will receive a scrub top, and non-clinical volunteers a T-shirt. Please wear the shirts provided so you can be easily identified as a volunteer. You can wear pants, jeans, shorts or skirts – whichever you prefer. Shorts and skirts should be of a length that is appropriate for a professional atmosphere, family setting and shows respect for patients.

Every effort is made to maintain a comfortable inside temperature, but it is next to impossible for it to be comfortable for everyone in such a large group. Therefore, you may choose to wear layers under the volunteer scrub top or t-shirt provided or a sweater or jacket that allows your volunteer shirt to show. Having the option to change into shorts and/or pants is also a good idea.

24. Will there be food for volunteers?

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A light breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided for volunteers onsite in a break room away from the clinic floor. Because some of the food is donated we can’t guarantee that we can provide for every special dietary need.

Only water in a covered cup or bottle is allowed on the clinic floor. No open-top beverages will be allowed.

25. Will there be an orientation?

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Everyone is required to attend a department specific orientation session prior to working their first shift on Friday or Saturday. (There is not an orientation session required for set-up or tear-down.) Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your shift so you will have time to register and attend the pre-requisite orientation.

At Thursday evening’s dinner we will have a general orientation for all volunteers. It begins at 6:00 pm and you will have an opportunity to go through orientation, register, get your shirt and get a tour of the clinic.

26. If I can’t volunteer at the event, is there another way I can help the MnMOM?

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Absolutely! A project of this magnitude requires nearly $260,000 in tax-deductible donations and in-kind contributions to cover expenses for dental equipment, facility rentals, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food costs. Consider donating money or in-kind products or services. Your contribution, no matter the amount, will make a difference in treating thousands of patients. Please visit the Donations page on the Minnesota Dental Foundation website and select Mission of Mercy from the dropdown list.