Career progression options for young dentists
When I graduated from Birmingham in 2003 the dental career route was simple.
Either practise in hospital as a specialist via the (previously) insular MFDS route. Or work in general dental practice and (if you were lucky) specialise at some later date if you developed a longer term passion for a specific field and you felt it was time to limit your practice. How times have changed for young dentists and for the better!
Now two year foundation training is the pre-requisite for all those wanting to work in the hospital as a specialist and the previously thick line drawn between a hospital and general practice career are much less polarised. The main benefit being that young dentists have longer and more opportunity to be flexible about not only the type of dental career they wish to pursue but the way they choose to pursue that journey. These are exiting times for the young dentists of today.
A career in a dental practice is no longer an isolated route. The development of the innovative MJDF at the RCSEng and the vast array of FGDP (UK) led programmes of study which synchronise with other academic institutions programmes nationwide allow all young (and old) dentists and dental professionals to maximise their potential. This can be carried out in a way the dentist chooses, at a time and in a way that suits their unique individual requirements (including fitting around family life).
In my case this was to pursue a restorative pathway. I now work as a dentist with full-time, dedicated special interest in restorative dentistry, which includes placement and restoration of dental implants. I love going to work and the choice of work locations available to me and the flexibility I have to dedicate as much or as little time that I choose to a particular restorative discipline whilst working in combination with other likeminded dentists. Most of all I’ve never touched a UDA in my life which truly does put me in control of my everyday clinical dentistry. Best of all patients love the dedicated, tailored care they receive.
My advice to any young dentist today is simply when going for a prospective post enquire to the practice owner / lead dentist / consultant or whoever is interviewing: “How can your role help me to fulfil my career aspirations in addition to helping you grow your business in all directions?” If the response is weak or vague, I suggest a polite response and kindly move on to the next prospective employer who can realise your potential in the modern dental career pathways.
It’s a hugely exiting time for young dentists to realise their own potential in dentistry, so go out and find your own route to the dental career you have always wanted.
Kevin Harrison BDS, MSc (Restorative Dentistry), MFDS RCSEd, Dip Rest Dent RCSEng, FFGDP (UK).
Kevin has a full time special interest in Restorative Dental Care. Since graduating from Birmingham in 2003, he has undertaken GPT in Edinburgh (the precursor to Foundation training) and worked in busy hospital environments in addition to private dental practice since 2007. Kevin is currently an examiner and contributor to the newly developed Membership in Primary Dental Care examination at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. In addition he is a full board member for the FGDP (UK) West Midlands division.
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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