College Vice President (Dental) and Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, Mr Andy Edwards has reached out to dental students in Scotland following the recent announcement they will be required to extend their training by up to an additional year.
“I know many students will be experiencing anxiety and frustration that is impacting on their wellbeing. Our College has worked hard over the last year to ensure all of our profession feel supported throughout this pandemic, providing regular updates, guidance and signposting to wellbeing resources and services for those affected,” Mr Edwards said.
“We will work with students and universities in any way we can to support training and educational development. Students are welcome to join our Faculty of Dental Surgery free of charge. This enables them to access to online clinical and non-clinical courses and conferences, awards and scholarships, and discounted text books, all of which can be used to build their portfolio, confidence and skills while they study. I do encourage students, and indeed universities, to use the resources and services we have available.”
The College has organised a webinar with a focus on wellbeing for students, which will take place on 16 March. Details will be available on our website soon, so please look out for that. Students can also sign up to our mailing list to be kept up to date with College activity.
While this has been difficult news, the impact of the pandemic has meant many students did not have sufficient experience or direct patient contact time during the last year, and it was felt it would be unfair to put new graduates into a position where they did not have the knowledge or experience to deliver the highest standard of care they are capable of. Lack of confidence could destroy a career before it even starts, and we do hope this extra year will provide students with time to access the educational opportunities and confidence they need, so that when they do begin their careers in dentistry they feel better equipped to do so.
The decision for students to extend training will mean that no new graduates enter into the postgraduate/vocational training programme required of newly qualified dentists in Scotland. This will have implications for the workforce and a knock on effect for recruitment that could potentially be felt for many years.
Mr Edwards said, “It is critical that the infrastructure is in place to maximise the students experience in training, and this needs to extend beyond the undergraduate years into the early years of practice. Linking the university degree with vocational training will help to ensure long term stability in the flow of students and vocational trainees into the workforce.
“Work to minimise the financial impact on students is encouraging, as was the relatively quick decision-making between the multiple parties involved. Moving forward, it will be important to ensure students, trainees and the wider profession continue to be kept informed and that further ways of mitigating financial impacts are implemented.”