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Continuing Professional Development for Dental Professionals

8th Aug 2023
professional development women talking

Continuing professional development or CPD, as many of us know it, is a life-long commitment to keeping our knowledge and professional skills up to date and providing a safe and appropriate service to the members of public. It enables dental care professionals to provide the highest standard of care to patients. For this reason, CPD is a requirement of our GDC registration and not conforming to it can put your ability to work in dentistry at risk.

Requirement of the General Dental Council (GDC)

All dental professionals embarking this journey are required to maintain their knowledge and skills up to date. The aim of this is to ensure that patients receive the highest standard of care. It also gives an opportunity to dental professionals to constantly learn and develop. As this is requirement is set out in law this gives the GDC the power to act accordingly if these are not followed.

Principle seven in the GDCs standards states:

Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills

Patients expect:

  • To achieve good quality care
  • That all members of the dental team
    • Are appropriately trained and qualified:
    • Keep their skills up to date;
    • Know their limits and refer patients as appropriate; and
    • Working within current laws and regulations.”

In order to comply with GDC, dental professionals must follow the Enhanced CPD scheme 2018.  Unlike the old scheme, the new guidance is based on flexibility and on reflective practice, giving opportunity for dental professional to be actively involved in their daily experiences noticing where knowledge or skills need to be refreshed or built.  Registrants will be required to demonstrate this through the creation of the personal development plan (PDP) that is relevant to their field of practice and accurate record of their CPDs via a log of activity.

The Benefits of CPD

  • Discuss the benefits of CPD, such as staying up-to-date with new techniques, improving patient care, and enhancing professional reputation.
  • Use examples to illustrate how CPD can help dental professionals achieve their career goals.

What attracts people to this profession is that they enjoy learning about the human body and the practical side of dentistry. CPD ensures that they are able to continue to learn and develop throughout their career. It encourages reflective thinking which prevent mistakes from happening and up taking of new information.

Keeping up to date

As new technologies constantly emergence CPD activity helps professionals to stay up to date. For example, a dental practice might be interested in purchasing an intra-oral scanner and dentists will undertake CPD to learn about the equipment and how to safely use it. Without this training equipped may be used incorrectly. Additionally, the dentist may not be aware of side effects of a material and how to manage them. In both situations, the patient safety will be put at risk which will harm the patient themselves but also the reputation of the clinician and that of the practice.

Maintenance of essential knowledge and skills

CPD is not only for developing new skills, but most importantly for maintaining those that are used on a daily basis. Take disinfection and decontamination for example. Dental nurses are advised to undertake at least 5 hours across the 5 years to ensure that the most up-to-date knowledge is maintain dental environment a safe and clean environment. Beside the sterilisation of instruments this also includes the regular checks that dental nurses need to do to check the efficiency of the sterilising equipment and maintenance of clean water lines in the dental chair.

Another example is medical emergency CPD. This is where GDC recommends that at least two hours of training to be undertaken yearly by all dental professionals. As medical emergencies can happen at any moment in the practice, dental professionals need to be ready in any moment to manage such events. The yearly refresher increases awareness in teams and helps keeping the knowledge fresh.

Networking with your fellows in the field

CPD activities help dental professionals to attend courses and connect with other colleagues. They have huge potential on increasing dental awareness on various subjects. By engaging in discussions with others more can be gained from learning. Dental professionals can find out useful information about goal and practices of others and ongoing trends which they can use on return their workplaces to improve care.

Follow your dreams

If you know that your passion is in a particular area of dentistry CPD can help dental professionals channel further that interest. This can be done by anyone in the dental team who wishes to specialise and undertaking these additional training will support their professional development and achieve their career goals. You can start by doing some small introductory courses on various websites.

 Growth in reputation of dental practice

Having a team of colleagues that are knowledgeable about their role and the dental professional will also help the reputation of the dental practice. Additionally, spreading the word about ones reputation will encourage other team and practices to develop and grow. This creates awareness about continuing development in dental teams.

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CPD is paramount to the successful career of dental care professionals and ensuring the delivery of safe care to patients. They contribute to maintaining knowledge and clinical skills to the latest guidance and provide opportunities for professional development. Speak to others about CPD and increase awareness about the development of dental professionals 

 

 

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