A schedule for everything: your dental career pathway?
As you throw your graduation caps in the air, don’t you suddenly realise that the world is so wide that you wish you were still...
... stuck inside your little cubicle being mentored and protected by your most trustworthy teacher? The fear and anxiety can be easily conquered by a simple plan. Like the treatment plans you lay out for your patients, a career plan for yourself makes everything look more constructive and calms your uneasiness about the unknown.
Before commencing your foundation dental training it is a good idea to have a brief schedule for the things you may be able to achieve in the year. Things such as completing certain training courses provided by both your training scheme and your PCT could really help to boost your confidence. While taking these courses you could learn so much of the current knowledge required for your key skills and it really helps to have a schedule. You should also write your key skills according to the talks arranged by the foundation training scheme. Knowledge about the current medical emergencies criteria and drugs, radiography guidelines, HTM01-05 guidelines for example were all mentioned in the lectures arranged for you. Without a plan many tend to neglect the valuable information available at the conferences and missed it while the courses were still free. Why is this important? You may be preoccupied with passing your foundation year or completing your case presentation, thinking to yourself that you can take your MJDFs later. The clock is ticking and time isn’t going to wait. Before you realise you will be starting an associate job, busy with calculating your UDAs and checking the lab fees that you won’t even have time to think about a career pathway. Planning can save you so much time and money in the future and one should never forget that as you become an associate, courses get more and more expensive too!
While other people start pondering what lies ahead of their career, most dentists on graduation face some relatively distinctive career pathways. Other than a year of foundation training, it is also very trendy to consider going abroad such as Australia. Some of my colleagues have been down under and had some most amazing experience along with some fantastic pay too. Options are available everywhere if you look for them. Alternatively the traditional routes give most people a sense of security. Some would decide to become a senior house officer afterwards as it is the main route to becoming a specialist. Community dentistry is also an exciting option for those who desire salary over stressing to earn the UDAs. Besides becoming a practitioner you could also consider entering the academic route if you’re interested in researches. A clinical PhD typically requires you to have completed a year of foundation training, preferably with several years of practising experiences but everything is flexible in the dental world. The lists of the options are exhaustive and the career options are more extensive than you think. So why not take out your pen and paper now?
Linda Sun Liu, won 2nd Prize in the Premier Awards 2010
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