This has been a busy year for young dentists, the Young Dentists Committee has been working on a range of issues that affect young dentists and we've been involved in events planning for 2017.
One big theme we have been focusing on is the lack of clinical training for dental students. There is a perception amongst recent graduates that they have much less exposure to clinical scenarios.
It's not that rare to hear someone say in a conversation that they hadn't done a single molar endodontic case. Earlier in May I was part of the BDA delegation to the Council of European Dentists' meeting. One of the fascinating presentations was by the European Dental Students' Association (EDSA) about a survey into clinical training across Europe.
One of their shocking preliminary findings was that 10% of dental graduates across Europe have not performed any clinical procedures on patients. The exposure of dental student to real patients and the level of procedures undertaken seems varied despite EU-wide requirements for appropriate clinical training during the dental degree. More information on the findings is available from the EDSA.
It shows that many issues in dentistry are shared by other countries, and it is by working with partners in the UK and abroad also that we will come up with the solutions to problems like this.
The Committee also received a report on the first phase of a major piece of research into the corporatisation of the dental market in the UK. The research was funded by the Shirley Glasstone Hughes Trust Fund.
Since the number of independently owned practices is falling, increasingly, younger associates will be taken on by corporates which could have implications in terms of clinical freedom and employment status. As such this is something we will be keeping a close eye on.
Satisfactory completion of foundation training has been on the agenda. One of the particularly contentious issues with this was the possible inclusion of a target of 1875 UDAs to be eligible for satisfactory completion. We felt that this diminished the protected learning training environment. The Young Dentists Committee and the BDA have put their views against this to the Committee of Postgraduate Deans and Directors (COPDEND).
Tips for making the most of 2017
But it is not all doom and gloom. Part of getting engaged in your professional association is about what you can give, as well as what you can get back. Here are my top tips for making the most of 2017:
- Plan ahead: if you're thinking about what path to take next, book in for the BDA's Careers Day on Friday 10 February 2017 and get 4.5 hours verifiable CPD!
- Take a break: dentistry can be a stressful profession, don't forget to schedule in some relaxation and fun activities. Getting connected can help, here's some ways you can do it.
- Develop your skills: never stop learning, think about what you really enjoy doing, and develop and further those skills whenever possible. If you are considering specialist training, check out our new guide.
- Communication, communication, communication: we've gone on about it this year, but I can't over-emphasize the need for appropriate planning and treatment consent, enough said.
But also, don't feel that you have to make all your major decisions now – part of planning ahead is thinking through your options and carefully considering what is right for you. Talking to friends, family, colleagues is a great way to discuss your ideas, get you thinking about your future, and helping get you on the path that's right for you to take.
And on a final sad note, we are shocked by the tragic loss of YDC committee member Joy Harrild, who was killed in a car accident earlier this month. Joy was an enthusiastic and brilliant young dentist, who contributed positively to our meetings and our work, and she will be sadly missed. Joy worked at the Brookfields Hospital for the Cambridgeshire Community Services where she was much loved colleague. Our thoughts are with her family.
Chair, Young Dentists Committee
What can the BDA do for young dentists?
The BDA's Young Dentists Committee aims to represent dentists who have been qualified for up to 10 years. The Committee is made up of a variety of young dentists who bring an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience to this group.
Tell us what you think
We'd love to hear your views, issues and any comments on how the BDA can support you as a young dentist, please email: Young Dentists.