How To Choose Your DF1 Training Practice

Here is the final instalment of my guide to the DF1 application process.


At some point, you'll hear from your deanery about the process of choosing your training practice.
Different schemes do things differently but for me this was a day down in London 'speed-dating' style: 5 minutes with each trainer to get to know them and ask them questions 

Some schemes just ask each of their trainers to give a presentation and some just have a list with addresses and websites to pick from. Different schemes also have different time frames; I had 2 weeks to rank the practices in order of preference but I know some schemes asked you to decide on the same day.

All I can say is research the practice and its area and if possible visit them (always ask before you visit, don't just turn up with no warning).
Don't base your choice solely on location either. You have to spend a year at this practice, imagine if you didn't get along with your trainer!

What questions should I ask?

Here are just a few examples of questions you could ask the trainers, but a lot of the time the answers are quite similar.

  • What will my working hours be?
  • What day will by tutorial be and how will the topic of the tutorial be picked?
  • How many people work in the practice?
  • Are there any hygienists/specialists at the practice?
  • Will I have the same nurse all the time?
  • How will my appointments be organised? Can I set the time of the appointments myself?
  • What kind of patients are treated at the practice?
  • What kind of treatments do you provide? NHS and private?
  • How long have they been a DF1 trainer? 
  • What areas of dentistry interest them the most?
  • What interests do they have outside of dentistry?
  • Do I have to come into the practice if I don't have a study day that week?
  • Does the practice have rotary endo/digital x-rays?

I guess I would probably just try and get a general vibe of what the trainer is like and if you would get along. There were so many trainers in my scheme by the time I got near the end I ended up just chatting about anything!
Also if they bring their current trainees along, it's best to direct a lot of your questions towards them and see the rapport between them and their trainer.

Once again, remember to submit your preference list on time!

To summarise, we have things pretty good. Even though this process can be stressful, it's ONE application and ONE interview. Those of you with friends doing other degrees have probably heard them moan about the countless graduate scheme applications they have had to complete. Furthermore graduate employment for dentists has always been very good compared to other courses.

Just make sure you prepare well and stay calm. At least for those of you with summer exams get interviews out of the way so you can focus on that all important revision.

For me, the fact that I was lucky enough to get my first choice job was something to get me through the revision and ultimately achieve my BDS!

 So Good luck everyone!

Please let me know if you found this guide useful and share your experience of the application process in the comments section below.

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