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Choosing what to do next in your dental career?

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Choosing what to do next in your dental career?

Ciara graduated from University College Cork in 2013, from there she completed foundation training on the Charing Cross scheme in London. Ciara is now in her DCT1 year in maxillofacial surgery in Northampton General Hospital.

 “This article provides information and advice in the form of a checklist to give foundation dentists an insight into how they can they can take the next step in their careers in either primary or secondary care.”

Halfway through foundation training, one horrible daunting question lurks at the back of your mind – ‘What are you going to do next year?’ This may only consist of eight simple words but it is enough to cause minor heart palpitations. The thought of leaving the safety net of foundation training to progress into the next step in your career is positively terrifying.

This time last year, I along with my cohort of the class of 2013 were in those very shoes, whilst I was one of the lucky ones and knew I wanted to do dental core training, many of my friends were none the wiser. It was great I knew what I wanted to do, however achieving that goal also seemed unlikely, with the general doom and gloom of knowing that once again there were fewer places than applicants.

However do not despair; I have compiled a checklist to help you decide what to do next year and equally make that goal a reality.

  1. Go to a career's day – it may seem obvious but I found it so helpful last year – listening to various specialists speak on their career path helped enormously, you may even discover an appealing avenue that you had never previously considered.
  1. Update your CV – this is vital, you will not get very far without this essential item, get someone to read it and critique it – best of all they will find those spelling mistakes you had overlooked.
  1. If you decide on staying in primary practice then start searching for jobs at the earliest possible opportunity, just to get a feel for what is out there – if you don’t get the first job you apply for don’t be disheartened, learn from the interview, reflect on the experience and use it to improve – associate jobs are competitive but so was achieving a foundation position and you did that!
  1. If it’s the DCT1 pathway that you have set your heart on then start looking at NHS jobs, Oriel NHS and the BDJ – most DCT1 jobs are advertised on these websites. Though they usually give a month between when the job is first  advertised to the closing date – don’t delay – be warned they can decide to close early if they have received enough applicants. The application is usually quite detailed and requires well-structured answers. It is another reason for applying early as it will give you time to fill the application out to the best of your ability. Remember they shortlist from these applications so don’t do a half-hearted attempt.
  1. Look closely at the person specification for the job; this is what the employer wants, so be sure to tailor your experience where possible to meet these requirements. Don’t be too concerned if you don’t have all the ‘desired criteria’, after all you are only starting out in your career and you can say in your application that this is an area you would like to work on and achieve in the coming year.
  1. Keep your EPDP logbook up to date. I know its tedious but it is really the best way of showing your clinical development – employers want to see numbers to assess your ability, how many teeth you have extracted etc. so try to remember to log your entries as often as possible.
  1. Clinical Governance – I cannot stress how important this area is – get involved with audit and really understand the audit cycle and also the clinical governance framework – especially if you want to apply for DCT1, it will be asked at the interview stage!!

Finally I would like to wish you all the best of luck and a last word of advice - nobody I know from my cohort of dentistry friends are unemployed so stay positive. The next step in your dentistry career is more than achievable!

Ciara Ennis


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