Prior to statutory registration, extended clinical duties for dental nurses were often discussed; as it was felt further career opportunities for dental nurses were required, that did not involve the dental nurse stepping away from the chairside. Since the inception of the GDC’s Scope of Practice (SoP) document in April 2009, extended duties courses are growing in number across the UK, thus providing opportunities for dental nurses to develop further knowledge and new skills in extended clinical duties. Some of the duties listed below have been available to dental nurses for sometime through the NEBDN Post certificate qualifications*.
The Scope of Practice document clearly lays out the extended duties that a dental nurse can be educated and trained to undertake, these are:
Additional skills a dental nurse could develop during their career include:
Additional skills on prescription
After qualification and GDC registration there are various opportunities for dental nurses to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Some choose to work towards formal qualifications, these are offered by various awarding bodies e.g. The National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN), Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP), City & Guilds, University of Bedfordshire, University of Kent and various dental hospitals. The qualifications undertaken by a registered dental nurse will be determined by the career pathway they choose.
The National Examining Board for Dental Nurses has a suite of post certificate qualifications for dental nurses. At present NEBDN offer the following:
Access to NEBDN post certificate qualifications must be made through an NEBDN accredited centre. All applicants must be registered with the GDC.
NEBDN also offer opportunities for dental nurses to become a member of their panel of examiners, in order to apply they request applicants are qualified for a minimum of 4 years and are involved in the training of dental nurses towards the National Certificate exam.
NEBDN continue to develop their suite of awards and plan to offer qualifications in Implant dental nursing, they also have plans for extended duties modules in impression taking and application of fluoride.
Further information on NEBDN post certificate qualifications and other opportunities NEBDN may have can be found on NEBDN's website .
Some dental nurses choose a career pathway in dental nurse education, in the past a dental nurse undertaking this role may choose to gain a qualification, however it was not deemed as necessary. However, in order to meet quality assurance set out by awarding bodies it is essential for those who choose this career pathway to embark on the qualification that supports the role they undertake.
PTTLS – Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector – this award covers the basics of teaching in continuing and adult education - including how to plan sessions, motivate learners and use a variety of assessment methods. Further information can be found on the City & Guilds website.
PTTLS is the first step for any dental nurse who wants to become a dental nurse tutor, however at present this qualification is adequate for those supporting student dental nurses in the work place, however a coaching or mentoring qualification would greatly benefit those undertaking this role. Work is being done by various organisations and awarding bodies to provide such a qualification.
Further study in teaching and training can be undertaken and this can be either the Certificate or Diploma in Teaching in the Life Long Learning Sector; however many DNs choose to move on to higher education (university) qualifications, such as the HE Certificate in Education. Some then go on to achieve a First Degree in Education, such as the BEd or a Masters Degree in Education MEd. The University of Bedfordshire now offers a Post Graduate Certificate in Dental Education, which can be the first part of a Masters Degree. Such qualifications are those whose main job role is that of a dental nurse tutor, as extensive evidence of work based learning in the classroom is required.
The NVQ primary qualification has also provided a route into training for DNs, with the need for NVQ assessors and internal verifiers. The qualifications to support these roles (A1 and V1 awards) are available through a number of awarding bodies and training providers.
The National Education Group is a sub-group of the BADN and its purpose is to offer support and networking opportunities for those involved in dental nurse education. Further information available from the BADN website.