Peer support for hygienists and therapists

A new website portal for the Philips’ Transitional Support Programme (TSP) has been devised to help newly qualified dental hygienists and therapists adapt rapidly from students into autonomous practitioners.

Working in a new team and clinical environment where certain expectations have to be met can highlight learning needs and clinical issues.

The scheme is based upon the guidelines of the General Dental Council’s Standards for Dental Professionals, which identified the need for mentoring as part of continuing professional development and eventual revalidation.

A range of webinars and films given by high quality presenters are being created over the next few months to enable members of the Transitional Support Programme to tap into a wealth of knowledge and expertise from those who are already working successfully in practice.

Also available is a selection of downloadable resources as well as a monthly newsletter.

All these are delivered free of charge, thanks to Philips’ investment in the future of dental hygienists and therapists.

The TSP portal has also been designed to provide a valuable link to a team of preceptors as well as facilitating peer support. It provides an opportunity to pose questions or conundrums, creating a thread of questions and answers which can be shared with other members of the programme.

The questions and answer format it designed assure hygiene therapists that their peers are experiencing similar issues to themselves. It also presents solutions tried by more experienced clinicians, raises other similar topics for consideration and promotes autonomous problem solving.

The programme is run by six highly experienced clinically based Dental Hygienists and therapists who undertook accredited training from a course specialising in clinical mentorship. The preceptors encourage the opportunity for hygiene therapists to reflect upon, apply, receive feedback on and develop knowledge, skills and values they have already learned.

Along with access to the online forum, the programme provides opportunities for job shadowing and mentoring, a learning journal, reflective practice exercises, and action learning sets and lectures. All features are provided for a year following graduation, enabling newly registered practitioners to take responsibility for their own professional and career development and ease the theory-practice transition.

As well as aiding newly qualified hygienists and therapists to transition into confident clinicians, the programme presents further advantages. Patricia Rawsthorne, professional education manager of Philips Oral Healthcare responsible for the development of the Transitional Support Programme explained: ‘For the profession as a whole, and the public too, the benefits of this Programme include the attainment of a high standard of practice with care as the ultimate priority at all times (in accordance with CQC and GDC professional standards).

‘It is also bringing about a cohort of skilled, empowered practitioners who act with integrity and uphold the reputation and image of the profession.’

Philips has designed the TSP portal to be an invaluable asset on the learning journey for dental hygienists and therapists and looks forward with interest to interacting with members online.

For more information about the Transitional Support Programme visit the dedicated website set up by Philips for the programme

Anyone interesting in joining the Programme can contact Patricia Rawsthorne for details; or call mobile number 07775535203

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