Research

Projected speciality career choices among undergraduate dental students in Scotland

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Abstract

Background Despite increased numbers of dental specialists, around 90% of dentists in the UK continue to work in general practice. Previous research shows that undergraduate students indicate interest in speciality careers, however few studies have explored which specialties are of interest, when and why. The aim of this study was to explore whether Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) undergraduates attending Glasgow Dental School (GDS) indicate a desire to pursue a speciality career, why, and the extent to which they feel prepared in this regard.

Method We conducted an internet-based survey (response rate 81%; n = 331) of all GDS students between October and November 2016.

Results One hundred and eighty-six students (56%) had decided to specialise. Seventy-eight percent of these students cited enjoyment of that service, or types of patient seen, as the single most influencing factor on their choice. Oral surgery was the most popular choice where one was indicated (35%), followed by orthodontics (26%). Just 14% of BDS4-5 students felt sufficiently exposed to cases in their chosen speciality. A large majority (88%) said they would like information regarding speciality pathways at BDS3 or before.

Conclusions Educators should provide undergraduate students with information about specialties in a structured way, so that they can consider available options.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all students who participated in the research. We would also like to thank Ann Shearer for reviewing an earlier draft of this paper.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Glasgow Dental School, School of Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, 378 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JZ, UK

    • Y. Lee
    •  & A.J. Ross

Authors

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Contributions

YL conceived the study. YL and AR prepared the survey tool and submitted the ethical approval application. YL undertook the fieldwork. AR led the statistical analysis. YL drafted a paper, and AR contributed to the final draft.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to A.J. Ross.

Refereed Paper