Why is Dental Nursing a great career choice & what career paths does it open up?
Looking for a promising new career can be very difficult, especially with the thousands upon thousands of polarizing career options to choose from. Before you set sail to find your unique niche, there are a lot of things that need to line up. Job growth is one of the most vital things to consider when you’re venturing out in the sea of new opportunities, in search of a more valuable and palpable position.
In heed of this career talk, let us address a common modern-day lore. You might have heard of the phrase “follow your passions or dreams” many times in your life. However, if you have no one burning career goal you want to pursue obsessively, the task of following your passions may seem insurmountable. This happens often because you’re caught up in a “passion puzzle”, constantly looking for the next big thing to stir your wonder. Career planning becomes essential then, to sate your insatiable desire for personal growth, development, and success.
In today’s healthcare environment, a perpetual rise in demand for quality care is driving an enormous wedge in the system. Dental care and oral health, as a result, are not being given their due diligence in the U.K. Only about 56.1 per cent of adults have been reported to visit the dentist as much as they should. This creates a huge divide in proper oral care and accessibility.
If you’re interested in joining the healthcare industry, the dynamic and rewarding career of a dental nurse is precisely the one you should choose. Below, we discuss the incredible benefits of a dental nursing career and why it is a great career choice for you.
THE REGULATION OF DENTAL NURSES
Back in the day, not too long ago, the role of a dental nurse was seen by many as insignificant, with a reputation for no greater than an efficient cleaner. Anyone could waltz into a dental practice and call themselves a dental nurse, even with the absence of previous experience or set skillset. In general, dental nurses were held with little to no regard, having merely introduced to surgery and let loose on an unsuspecting flock of the public.
However, as of 2008, a person striving to perform as a dental nurse now has to be officially registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) in order to be given the permit to work. This requires a qualification that involves working in surgery as a student dental nurse and completing an approved course and examination, either required by attending night school or through day release.
WHAT IS A DENTAL NURSE?
In the U.K., a Registered Dental Nurse works as an indispensable part of a dental dream team in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings. A dental nurse is an auxiliary professional who works closely with the dentist, providing assistance throughout the patient’s dental care journey.
That being said, the role of a dental nurse is wide-ranging and extends far beyond simply assisting the dentist or the dental team to carry out routine check-ups. Today, with the ever-evolving climate of regulation enveloping the culture of dentistry, professional slots like dental nursing have become more widely acceptable as well as essential.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A DENTAL NURSE
Some important aspects of the dental nurse duties include:
Patient assistance: They are the friendly face for nervous patients, constantly helping to keep the patients calm and collected during the visit. After the procedure, they may go over care instructions, such as what medications to take and when, or relay proper teeth brushing techniques to the patients.
Assisting the dentist: Preparing various materials and equipment required in the dental clinic or during surgery, cleaning and sterilising the used instruments as a medium of prevention of infection and cross-contamination, recording details provided by the dental clinician relating to the patient’s dental health, and processing radiographs are some everyday duties of dental nurses.
Administrative tasks: Dental nurses may be assigned to help at the reception desk to schedule appointments, take payments, deal with billing and insurance issues, and handle the paperwork. They may also be required to fulfil office tasks such as being in charge of maintaining stock control.
DENTAL NURSE TRAINING & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
In order to become a qualified dental nurse, you must either hold a recognised qualification and be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) or be working towards registration on an approved training course. The GDC approved courses are offered through local colleges, online learning providers, universities, and apprenticeship schemes.
Exact course requirements will vary from provider to provider, but a minimum of 2 GCSEs (4/C grade or above) in English language and maths or a science subject are typically required for a part-time course. Full-time degree level courses may require A-levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications.
DENTAL NURSING CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Once you’re fully qualified, there is a wide array of career opportunities for you to explore as a professional dental nurse. There isn’t just one type of role as a dental nurse at one’s disposable in the U.K. Those signing up with dental nursing recruitment agencies could find themselves applying for an impactful job in general practice, a dental hospital, a mobile unit, or even in the armed forces.
You may even opt to pursue further training, which allows dental nurses to undertake additional responsibilities. These post-qualification certificates can be done in oral health education, radiography, and conscious sedation.
DENTAL NURSING CAREER DEVELOPMENT
Once you’ve collected the appropriate accolades and gained enough experience as a dental nurse, you may be curious about your career development and how you may be able to expand or upgrade your skill. As luck would have it, dental nursing is a wonderful career option due to the expansive career development it offers.
You may progress as a senior dental nurse or step into management or teaching areas if you see it fit for your personal growth. Better yet, through a dental nursing career, you can also chart into different prospect careers with further qualification and training such as the role of dental hygienist, dental therapists, or orthodontic therapists.
Dental hygienist: Dental hygienists play a vital role in preventing oral complications from furthering and carry out essential procedures such as scaling and tooth polishing. They may also be required to help patients who are in surgery or those with particular medical conditions.
Dental therapist: Dental therapists perform similar tasks as dentists such as routine check-ups but without the need for referral. Currently growing in popularity, this line of work also deals with patients who have high treatment needs, special needs, or dental anxiety.
Orthodontic therapist: A dental nurse can assume the role of an orthodontic therapist through locum post-qualification experience and further training. As an orthodontic therapist, you’ll be required to assist patients in emergency situations by relieving pain or making sure that appliances are safe to use.
Senior nurse, management, & education: As a senior nurse, you can make headway with your career by specialising in areas such as orthodontics, implants, or even oral surgery. You can also move into the scope of management by becoming a dental nurse team leader or practice manager. Teaching can also be a fruitful path for you as you take up a vital role to impart your vast knowledge to new trainee dental nurses.
CPD for Dental Nurses: Dentistry, like all other medical branches, continuously sees new innovation and augmentations in science, technology, and treatment procedures. Due to this ever-changing climate of the dental industry, dental nurses are required to be voracious about keeping up with this change by doing a certain amount of continuing professional development (CPD).
The GDC requires registered dental nurses in a five-year cycle to do 150 hours of CPD of which 50 must be verifiable. The GDC has a number of subjects that they recommend, but you can do anything as long as it relates back to your job. This responsibility not only widens your knowledge but also prevents you from forestalling a bounty of new career options and opportunities coming your way.
The opportunity of a career as a dental nurse is in perfect juxtaposition with your candid career goals and hence must be exploited virtuously. A quick browse will confirm your doubts that the traditional three-step career path (graduate college to getting a job to enduring it for 20 odd years and gradually climbing the corporate ladder) is outdated.
Today, individuals are more informed and calculated about their choices and are looking for career alternatives that are equally as stimulating as they are fulfilling. So, whether you’re in between jobs and enjoying your respite or are fishing for more gold and flexibility in your career or are a job-hopping fiend on his next hunt, dental nursing is an avenue you should definitely explore.
If you are looking for or interested in pursuing a career in Dental Nursing Dental Partners are recruiting. “We are committed to creating the Best Place to Work for our colleagues which in turn leads to the best patient care. We become The Best Place to Work by finding the best talent, engaging and empowering our colleagues and creating great teams”.
We spoke to Kerry Leach, a Senior Nurse at Dental Partners about her amazing career.
Kerry started as a trainee dental nurse in 1996 with a small practice that was supportive and encouraging. Through day release at college and on the job training she qualified and has never looked back! She quickly fell in love with the profession relishing the clinical responsibility and enjoying the variety of the role where no two days are the same. She has since completed further specialist training, such as a sedation course, and progressed into a lead nurse role as well as being promoted to assistant practice manager. Kerry’s practice became part of Dental Partners through acquisition, in her typically positive way she has embraced all that this has offered, including the opportunity to assist with more complex cases of dentistry such as minor oral surgery and implantology, Kerry said ‘the ongoing training and support during the Covid 19 pandemic has been fantastic with robust systems in place to keep staff and patients safe while still allowing me to develop my career even further with an implant nursing course planned’ whilst working for Dental partners she has also been given the responsibility of becoming the sedation lead for the North, the first aid lead and the quality assurance and audit lead for the practice. The range of systems and apps available has been really welcome allowing different practices to collaborate and see what each other are doing/working on, From simply booking holidays, to online training and events. Kerry said that dental partners is an expanding company but she feels recognised, valued and rewarded as an individual team member.
Kerry’s top 3 reasons to work for Dental Partners as a nurse are –
- Continued learning, training and the opportunity to improve and develop yourself.
- A truly supportive and inclusive business where you’re not just another name.
- Great pay, perks, career reviews and progression opportunities.
Apply today on Dental Talent and take active steps towards your career in Dental Nursing with Dental Partners!