Effective career mapping from the beginning – Shalin Mehra Rodericks Dental

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  Posted by: Dental Design      27th November 2019

For dentists in the early part of their careers, progression of skills and experience is essential. However, with so many different areas to move into, choosing the right one for you can be challenging. This a topic that Shalin Mehra – Chief Executive Officer of Rodericks Dental – is passionate about. Having been heavily involved in professional training and education for several years, Shalin answers some common questions to help newly qualified dentists follow the right path for them…

I recently completed Foundation Dentist (FD) training and will be working as an associate in practice – what could my career pathway look like?

The initial two-three years after FD training are about consolidating and enhancing the skills learnt in dental school and during your FD year. You need to become more efficient in order to see the higher number of patients you will treat as an associate. The aim is to move through the four stages of competence regarding general dentistry and reach ‘unconscious competence’. At this point, you will likely be ready to consider your options. So, what do you want to do? It might be orthodontics, dental implants, cosmetic, paediatric or restorative dentistry, among others.

Once you’ve identified the area of dentistry you enjoy most, you’ll need to undertake further education to develop these targeted skills. This progression is underpinned by your Professional Development Plan (PDP) as required for enhanced CPD. Within this, you should record the CPD and training you plan to undertake, and how it is relevant to your current or intended field. So, if you want to move into dental implants, your PDP should detail courses related to implant restoration and placement, along with the anticipated outcomes of each. If you’re not sure what you want to focus on in the future or can’t identify areas you want to improve in, use the PDP the other way around. Identify areas you feel less confident in and plan how you can improve your experience in these fields.

I want to pursue a specialist interest but can’t choose between aesthetics, implant or minor oral surgery – how do I decide what to do?

If you really don’t know which areas to develop skills in, it is necessary to expose yourself to as many disciplines as possible. Make contact with those dentists you currently refer treatment to – speak to them about what they do and what career pathways they followed. There will often be various postgraduate training opportunities available from day courses to short courses, diplomas and MSc’s, so you need to do your research to see what might suit you best.

Where possible, observe the more experienced dentists treating your patients and work with them. Dentists are always willing to help and pass on knowledge, and you can upskill while learning more about a new field. You will quickly see if you enjoy the work and if you’d be interested in specialising yourself.

I work in a mixed practice doing NHS and private dentistry, but would like to do more private. How do I do this where I am?

For every patient, you need to provide all possible options as required in the GDC standards – this includes private options. It is, of course, entirely up to patients which they choose and care should be taken not to mislead them in any way. However, in my experience, many patients will choose alternative treatment to NHS options when they understand their choices, especially when it comes to cosmetic crowns, fillings or dentures. 

It is essential to understand the NHS rules and regulations on what you can and can’t provide. As some treatments are not available under the NHS, you may need training in these areas before you can offer them yourself instead of referring out. These might include tooth whitening, facial aesthetics, implants and short-term orthodontics. Once you have the skills, you can provide services that aren’t available to patients on the NHS, helping you do more private dentistry. Once again, it starts with training and skills development.  

I really enjoy teaching, how do to get into FD training?

It’s worth making contact with a local practice that offers FD training in the first instance. Ask to meet with the FD dentist and/or Educational Supervisor/Trainer to get more information. This will help you decide if this is what you really want to do.

 If it is, then you need to have been qualified for 4 years or more and you’ll need to service an NHS contract in the region of 1,000 UDAs. Evidence of your teaching and/or education skills will also be extremely valuable for the interview process. A certificate in dental/medical education may be useful as this will help develop your skills as an educator. At Rodericks, we routinely encourage dentists to undertake a dental/medical education certificate when considering a pathway towards FD training. The process then involves a practice visit and an interview, with some Deaneries offering an induction course for new FD trainers as well.



For details about Rodericks Dental,

please visit www.rodericksdental.co.uk or call 01604 602491




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