ADG Award winner Ali Nasser – A student’s take on professionalism in dentistry

Featured Products Promotional Features

  Posted by: Dental Design      1st February 2019

In modern dentistry, professionalism is an essential skill that all dental care professionals must possess. To help undergraduate students get to grips with what it truly entails and encourage an active approach to professional practice, the Association of Dental Groups (ADG) has run the ‘Professionalism’ Bursary Award for four years now. Open to all undergraduate students, the Award is an opportunity for students to explore professionalism with regard to ethics, patients, self and clinical team and peers.

The winner for 2018 was fourth year BDS student at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Ali Nasser, who proudly adds this accolade to two others gained this year: the British Society of Prosthodontics’ (BSSPD) Kulzer Undergraduate Award 2018, and the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) Keith Woods Essay Competition 2018. Here, Ali opens up about applying for the ADG Bursary Awards and what professionalism means to him.

“I found out about the ADG Bursary Awards from one of the more senior dental students at my university, who had entered and won the same Award previously. I was immediately immensely interested, as I knew it would be a great opportunity to gain some exposure in the dental community, earn national recognition and expand my knowledge – though of course the cash prize was a great motivator too!

“In terms of why I chose that particular category, professionalism is a topic that I have come to be very passionate about during my undergraduate education, due in part I think to my university’s extensive teachings during our ‘Professionalism, Teamwork and Social Responsibility’ sessions. Every year we focus on different aspects of professionalism, and the more time goes by the more I realise what a fascinating, diverse and pertinent subject it is.

“My time in clinic has certainly helped with this too. With each placement I have become increasingly more familiar and confident with the many different layers and complexities of professionalism, which has only strengthened my drive and determination to be as professional as possible at all times. I’ve also learnt that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to professionalism. Rather, everyone has their own principles and views on the matter and different ways of working; none of them wrong per se, but I have come to recognise that certain ways of practising are better than others.

“Alongside this, I now appreciate that everyone has innate professionalism within themselves; without even thinking, dental professionals (for the most part) will act professionally. This has really struck a chord with me because it just goes to show that it’s there within us all, it just needs refining from time to time. On the flip side, if someone doesn’t act in a professional manner or to the expected standard, I now notice it more.

“It is for this reason that working on this application was such an eye-opener for me as a soon-to-be graduate entering the dental profession. The process made me think about all the various aspects together rather than separately, and by exploring the concept of professionalism in dentistry, expected standards from governing bodies and what the term means personally to me, I feel I am much better prepared for what lies ahead. I’m also confident that I will practice in a much more conscientious way now and will not take professionalism for granted. I think this could make a huge difference to my career moving forward, particularly as I aim to buy my own practice one day. I firmly believe that the more of a grasp I have on professionalism and the better I can champion best practice, the more my practice will prosper.”

As it has done with others before him, applying for and winning the undergraduate ‘Professionalism’ Bursary Award has provided a good foundation for Ali as he ebbs ever closer to becoming a dental graduate. It is clear that professionalism is integral to the provision of quality patient care and in creating a good working relationship with colleagues, and as such must remain a key element of a professional’s education – both at undergraduate level and beyond.

Other Awards that were available at the 2018 ADG Bursary Awards include the undergraduate ‘Innovation in Dental Care’ category, which was new this year, and the postgraduate Bursary. To find out more about the Awards and this year’s winners, get in touch with the ADG today.


For more information about the ADG visit


No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.