How to find the right course for you

Phantom-heads Which courses will prove to be a sound investment for your time and money? Dr Malcom Edwards, director of postgraduate dental education at the University of Central Lancashire finds out.

Patients’ expectations regarding the aesthetic outcomes of treatments have increased markedly over the last couple of decades. We have also seen a rise in the level of complaints and litigation with an increase in the number of legal firms ‘specialising’ in dental litigation. Therefore, there is a greater need for accredited courses that provide dentists with valuable training.

Clinical-Practice-with-patientOne only has to open a dental journal these days to see the number of postgraduate courses available, and knowing which one is the right one for you can be a tricky and often expensive decision to make. Pick the right one and your career could really take off, pick the wrong one and you could feel frustrated by what has turned out to be a waste of your time and money.

How do you decide which course to attend? Which courses will prove to be a sound investment for your time and money? Which will enable you to develop your career along a sound path to empower you to provide your patients with appropriate and high quality care?

What are you looking for?

scan-of-teethYour first decision is whether you are looking for a CPD event, or series of events. These are often little more than technique courses, and often without context or the evidence base. The alternative is a quality assured, university course that offers an impartial, evidence-based approach to treatment planning and delivery.

As a busy dental practitioner it is most likely that this will be a part-time programme and as such will need to fit in with your busy lifestyle. It is certainly true however, that the students who do well on such courses are those who engage with the course, and set aside some time each week to keep up with reading and coursework. Most courses will involve a blend of seminars, group work, some plenaries, and time in the skills laboratory acquiring new clinical skills and improving upon existing ones. This is usually where it stops however, leaving you alone in your own surgery when you first start putting into practice the skills and knowledge you have acquired.

Treating patients

patient-adviceHere at the School of Dentistry at the University of Central Lancashire, we have built a state-of-the-art dental clinic to address this problem, and provide postgraduate students with the opportunity to treat patients under specialist supervision as part of their postgraduate programme. Having successfully completed the first year of the course, much of the teaching then takes place in the clinic, treating patients who are provided by the university.

You will have the opportunity to assess, plan and treat these patients, applying the knowledge and skills that have been acquired during the course, thereby building your confidence when it comes to providing similar treatments in your own practice. Communication and presentation skills, as well as the opportunity to develop academic writing skills so that you can write up a clinical case for publication or participate actively in a study club, are areas that are important for developing your career and profile.

As a school we are committed to your professional development, sign up to one of our postgraduate dentistry advice events and come to see how you can benefit from one of our programmes.

Postgraduate MSc programmes:

Find out more, visit the website.

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