Feature | Published:

‘Dental nursing now has the potential to be a career’

BDJ Team volume 3, Article number: 16151 (2016) | Download Citation

Fiona Ellwood is Patron of a brand new organisation for dental nurses.

The Society for British Dental Nurses, otherwise known as ‘The Society’, was launched in early June 2016, after numerous requests from dental nurses and other members of the dental profession, in order to fill a void in terms of education and support in the changing world of dental nursing.

Notably, very little changed in dental nursing from the late 1930s up until the Nuffield review and then until the introduction of statutory registration 2001-2008. Since then there has been much change, more expectations, an array of qualifications and additional duties courses. Dental nursing is viewed by many in a different light and now has the potential to be a career rather than just a job.

Formerly, dental nurses qualified and those who were ambitious or had the opportunity set out to undertake the then ‘post qualifications', but this is no longer the case. Now dental nurses have continuing professional development (CPD) to navigate their way around, as well as the dental pilots and prototypes and the pending dental contract reform.

The Society has embraced all of these things and taken on board what has been said. As a result a number of dental nurse experts have come together to offer guidance and support to dental nurses and their mentors on their forward journey in dental nursing. The Society is forward thinking and adaptable to change and works very closely with dental nurses.

The Society is made up of a large group of dental nurse experts covering almost every corner of the profession and across a number of settings. We are also fortunate enough to have a number of prominent Honorary Fellows in Professor Robert Ireland, Richard Leigh Evans, Professor Andrew Smith, Consultant Mr Andrew Baldwin and Margaret Ross who add a further layer of expertise to the Society. Equally these experts help to look at even wider fields and roles outside of dental nursing.

I was delighted to take on the role of Patron, as both education and helping to grow and develop people are very much my mantra.

The Society aims to create an opportunity for dental nurses to be fully involved in shaping and informing their future. It will provide a protective space for discussion either with mentors, experts or amongst colleagues. The intention is to support and develop the dental nurses of today and of the future, and to grow new and up and coming dental nurses so that they are equipped to take the profession forward.

Core values

The five core values of the Society are:

  1. Influencing policy and informing change

  2. Enhancing the capacity and ability of our membership

  3. Placing education, learning, experience, growth and development at the heart of the Society

  4. Recognising national and local priorities and our role within these areas

  5. Dedication to the education and support of student dental nurses.

Never has there been a more important time to address the needs of the dental nursing profession and to offer a helping hand, and the Society are well placed to do this. The intention is for continuity over time in order to maintain the level of expertise and the professional relationships already established. There has been a huge amount of support across the board to date and we hope to encourage this going forward.

Of course, we are a not-for-profit organisation and that means everything goes back into the dental nurses and their future.

Member support promises

The Society promises these benefits to its members:

  • Offer or guide members to an appropriate person or body who can best support them

  • Provide mentorship at key milestones in their dental career

  • Provide regular, up-to-date information on the dental nursing profession

  • Give direction to courses and events that may be of interest

  • Ask for members' opinions and contribution to consultations

  • Alert members to changes in policy, guidance and regulations that may affect them.

We will also offer one free hour of continuing professional development (CPD) for every core topic of CPD with Stephen Hancocks (stephenhancocks.com), will provide resources to dental students where appropriate and offer discounts at conferences. Equally the Society has worked closely with Towergate in developing two levels of indemnity for dental nurses and neither is tied into membership.

The East Midlands Regional group are hosting a dental nurses' symposium on 17 September and the quarterly meeting will be held on 5 October 2016. In more general terms we have been invited to speak at a number of events and represent dental nurses in education and development.

For further information about The Society for British Dental Nurses, visit www.sbdn.org.uk.

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