Planning to share as a dental graduate

Most students choose to complete one year of Foundation training after graduating from Dentistry. This is an opportunity to work under the NHS and earn a fixed salary. It also places you in a Training Practice'. The assigned dentist will be your 'Educational supervisor'. They look after you throughout the year and help make the transition from being an independent practitioner to a safe beginner.

It was nerve-wracking to see my first patient. It was September, and I hadn't seen a patient since March. What had I done wrong? How would I remember to ask the right questions? How was I going to be able help my patient? We were all relieved to know that every action we took was double-checked by our clinic supervisors when we saw patients at university. It was a new experience to be able to manage a patient on your own. I was able to apply all the knowledge that I gained during my time in dental school and am much more comfortable seeing patients. My educational supervisor is always available to help me if I have any questions about the diagnosis or treatment options. They're there to help you!

Initial anxiety about managing time and seeing so many patients was overwhelming. We had seen four patients per day in our degree program, so 20 patients per day seemed extremely unrealistic. Training practices are supportive and will gradually increase the number of patients that you see. We are now restricted in terms of the number patients we can have in the building at any one time due to the pandemic. Therefore, we do not see as many patients as before.

Weekly Study Days are held. These days break up the week well and are managed by a dentist (the "Training Program Director") who oversees all education supervisors in your area. These topics cover communication, time management, and refreshers on clinical topics. You will usually meet other foundation dentists from your scheme to have a study day in person. However, ours is currently on Zoom. We were able to meet in person for some of the 'hands on days'. These are the days when you can use 'phantom head', which are basically models of people with plastic teeth on which you can practice certain procedures.

As part of the foundation year there are a few assignments, audits and reflective logs that you will need to complete, but overall the workload is much less than what you would have as a student. It is very rewarding and refreshing to put all your knowledge and experience over the past 5 years to use and become a real dentist (Dental Phantom Head).

There are usually many social events that you can look forward to in your foundation year. These include trips to conferences and meals out with foundation dentists. Even though my fellow foundation dentists hasn't been as active, we hope to be able to attend more events in 2021.

If you're curious about the life after Dentistry, don't be afraid to ask. There are many resources available to assist you in your transition. This university staff won't forget you once you graduate. They are available via email and social media for any assistance you may need.

So far I have enjoyed my first year at work. I also feel that the environment is supportive and will allow me to grow as a dentist. Although university was hard work, I had the opportunity to participate in many fun activities such as dance competitions or being on the committee for the dental student society. This course is highly recommended and you will reap the benefits if you're willing to work hard (Dental Simulator).