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Dental nurses ‘need manual dexterity’

Posted by Allie Wright

Manual dexterity has been highlighted as one of the most important skills for individuals who want to become dental nurses.

According to Pam Swain, chief executive of the British Association of Dental Nurses, until relatively recently anyone could become a dental nurse as there was no regulation of this part of the oral health sector in the UK.

But in 2008, the General Dental Council (GDC) announced that anyone wishing to work as a dental nurse in the UK would have to be registered with the body in the same way dentists are.

“From 2008 to get onto the register as a dental nurse you have to hold a qualification. To get a qualification you have to work in a dental surgery as a student dental nurse and be on an approved course leading to a registrable qualification,” said Ms Swain, who noted this means that dental nurses already have a year or two in a practice under their belts as a student dental nurse being supervised.

After this period has elapsed, dental nurses are able to sign on to the GDC’s register and they can then carry on as a registered dental nurse.

Ms Swain noted it is important for dental nurses to be physically fit, due to the fact that they are going to be on their feet for a large part of their working day, while it is also crucial that they are “sympathetic, empathic and be able to listen to people”, as well as able to communicate well with their patients.

It was also pointed out that the best dental nurses are neat, conscientious and able to work well within a confined space with a dentist around the patient’s mouth.

The GDC recently issued a reminder to dental care professionals (DCPs) to keep track of their continuing professional development (CPD), as well as to ensure they keep hold of any attendance certificates they have received.

It was noted by the body that more than 40,000 DCPs will reach the end of their first five-year CPD cycle at the end of July next year.

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