Khooshi Patel

Khooshi Patel

Oral Health Therapist, ARDS | Te Whatu Ora – Waitemata District Health Board
Bachelor of Health Science (Oral Health)

AUT is more than just a university; it’s a community, says Khooshi Patel who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Health Science (Oral Health).

“The students at AUT are super friendly which makes it easy to connect and create friendships by simply getting involved in any one of the countless opportunities offered at AUT. I really enjoyed visiting other campuses, getting involved in AUTSA events and meeting up with friends to join a dance class or watch a movie at the AUT recreation centre.”

One of the many opportunities she took part in while at AUT was the AUT Edge Award, which ended up being a highlight for her.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity where you get the chance to grow professionally and personally. Initially, I was a bit sceptical as I did not want to spend what little time I had left over from studying on volunteering or fulfilling requirements to get the award. But once I ventured into this journey, I simply could not stop. The person I’ve become now is barely recognisable to the person I was before I started doing the AUT Edge Award.

“The most valuable thing I have gained from this award are the soft skills and connections developed from volunteering at various organisations and meeting amazing people from diverse backgrounds. I truly recommend it to everyone who aspires to endeavour on a life-changing journey of growth.”

An easy decision
The world of teeth has always intrigued her, Khooshi says.

“I was always playing dental games on the computer and was super excited when my name was called out in class for a dental checkup. In my final year of high school, I decided I wanted a profession that incorporated a range of areas and skills. When I stumbled across the oral health degree at AUT, it was the perfect blend for me. It offered a job where I could enjoy both being on the computer and using my people skills to interact with patients.”

Her first clinical placement as a third-year student was a lightbulb moment for her, and she felt that all the puzzle pieces finally came together.

“I really enjoyed this part of my degree where I was able to use all the knowledge and skills I had been learning for years and finally put them into practice. The placement gave me a taste of what it would be like to work as an oral health therapist, and that’s when I knew I had definitely picked the correct career path for myself. This experience fuelled my motivation to study harder and get through to the finish line as fast as possible.”

A passion for preventative care
Now working as an oral health therapist, Khooshi loves helping her patients meet their oral health needs or goals.

“I deliver quality dental care to patients, including diagnosing and treating oral diseases like dental caries and periodontal disease, as well as providing key oral health education on how to care for your teeth and gums. Whether it be providing relief from a sore tooth or boosting aesthetics – I always find joy in putting a smile on my patients’ faces.

“I particularly enjoy focusing on preventive care through oral health education when treating patients. Most oral health diseases are preventable, so I focus on educating my patients on how to prevent dental caries and periodontal disease so that they can adopt a better oral health routine. It’s one thing to tell your patients to brush twice daily and floss every night, but it’s another thing to explain the reasoning behind it. It feels amazing to see the lightbulb moment on a patient’s face when I have taught them something new.”

She says that being able to so easily connect with other people at university has definitely benefitted her current job.

“By connecting with a diverse group of people – whether it was through AUT clubs, at clinical placements or at volunteering events – I learned how to network and improve my soft skills. Using these skills in my role now has enabled me to take my relationship with patients from average to excellent.”