Career mapping – get it right from the beginning
Shalin Mehra – Chief Executive Officer of Rodericks Dental – is passionate about effective career mapping for dentists. Here, he answers some common questions to help newly qualified dentists follow the right path for them…
I recently completed Foundation Dentist (FD) training and will be working as an associate in practice. What could my career pathway look like?
The initial two-three years after FD training are about consolidating skills learnt in dental school and during your FD year. The aim is to move through the four stages of competence regarding general dentistry and reach ‘unconscious competence’. At this point, you will likely be ready to consider your options.
Once you’ve identified the area of dentistry you enjoy most, you’ll need to undertake further education to develop these skills. You might take short courses, a Diploma or an MSc, and this will depend on your personal objectives. From here, you can move into specialist areas, different environments, teaching, lecturing or mentoring. Your pathway will be unique to you.
I want to pursue a specialist interest but can’t choose between aesthetics, implant or minor oral surgery. How do I decide what to do?
If you really don’t know which areas to develop skills in, expose yourself to as many disciplines as possible. First, make contact with those dentists you currently refer patients to. Speak to them about what they do and what career pathways they followed. Observe them treating your patients. Dentists are always willing to help and pass on knowledge, and you can upskill while learning more about a new field. You will quickly see which areas you enjoy most for effective career mapping.
I work in a mixed practice doing NHS and private dentistry, but would like to do more private. How do I do this where I am?
For every patient, you need to provide all possible options as required in the GDC standards – this includes private options. It is, of course, entirely up to patients which they choose. However, in my experience, many patients will choose alternative treatment to NHS options when they understand their choices, especially when it comes to cosmetic crowns, fillings or dentures.
As some treatments are not available under the NHS, you may need training in these areas before you can offer them yourself. These might include tooth whitening, facial aesthetics, implants and short-term orthodontics. When you have the skills, you will have the opportunity to do more private dentistry. Once again, it starts with training and skills development, so careful career mapping is key.
I really enjoy teaching, how do I get into FD training?
We have several FD training practices within Rodericks, so get in contact with one. Meet with the FD dentist and/or Educational Supervisor/Trainer to get more information and decide if this is what you want to do.
If it is, then you need to have 4 years’ experience and provide an NHS contract in the region of 1,000 UDAs. Evidence of your teaching and/or education skills will also be extremely valuable for the interview process. At Rodericks, we routinely encourage dentists to undertake a dental/medical education certificate when considering a pathway towards FD training as well. The process then involves a practice visit and an interview, with some Deaneries offering an induction course for new FD trainers as well. Again, just let your manager or Clinical Advisor know of your interest to move into FD training and we can provide the information and support you need.
About Shalin Mehra
Shalin Mehra BDS DGDP (UK) FIoD., is CEO of Rodericks Dental. He is also a general dental practitioner with over 25 years’ experience providing NHS and private dental care.
Visit the Our People section of the website to read Shalin’s full biography.