Monday, 29 February 2016

BDA Careers Day 2016

As part of my DCT, a few weeks ago we attended the afternoon of the BDA Careers Day. What did I learn from that afternoon?



Some of you might have read my post from last year from another careers day I attended (see here), but that year has made a big difference on how I perceive my career to be heading and what options are open to me. 

Last year I was deciding if DCT would be the best option (which in my opinion it is!), now I'm thinking what to do next - carry on with DCT, become an associate, work as a locum, undertake further qualifications. The talks from the afternoon have helped me think further about the next step!


Career Opportunities in Primary Care


Raj Rattan delivered one of his charismatic talks once again (trying not to scare us young dentists off, despite the climate we've graduated into!).

As trainees in hospital posts we are often driven onto further training posts and qualifications; but what's wrong with going back into primary care? Well there's nothing wrong with that at all, indeed 90% of dentistry is performed in general dental services. There are also plenty of ways to develop your career and aspects of your position that you can consider to keep things varied and fulfilling, instead of just keeping to that target of 1 UDA every 14 minutes (which is the average requirement for most associates).
  • Are you going to work full time or part time? At more than one practice? 
  • Are you going to NHS or private? Or a mix? 
  • Do you want to become a DFT trainer or joint trainer? 
  • If you're working for a corporate, you could consider becoming the area lead or the referral service in an area of dentistry you are particularly interested in
  • You could consider doing further qualifications and courses to develop your skills to become a Dentist with a Specialist Interest
  • You could become a dento-legal advisor (after gaining further experience and qualifications)
  • If you work in an area where there is a teaching hospital, you could teach undergraduates a few sessions a week
  • You could gain experience in the running of the practice so that you gain skills prior to purchasing or becoming a partner in a dental practice 
  • You could consult for companies that require experts to write reports (but you will need lots of experience prior to this, around 8 years) 


Dental Speciality Training


Peter Briggs spoke to us about speciality training and the different routes you can take. The best resource you can refer to if you are considering speciality training is the COPDEND website. 

5-7% of dentists work in secondary care. So how can you fund your speciality training? 
  1. Health Education England fund your post
  2. Your Trust fund your post
  3. Your Trust and HEE jointly fund your post
  4. NIHR/Academia programmes fund your post
  5. You self-fund your post
Posts can be very competitive (especially popular specialities like oral surgery or orthodontics), even the self-funded options. 

There are 500 trainees in the UK, 210 of those are in London.  

What requirements are needed when you apply for speciality training?
  • Candidates show a good and varied experience of dentistry in different settings
  • Audits (closed loop)
  • Publications (peer-reviewed journals)
  • Completion of MJDF/MFDS
  • Research posters and presentations
  • Demonstration of good organisation
  • Understanding of clinical governance
  • Good communication
  • Professional
  • Insight and honesty
  • Reflective logs and portfolio of work
Most training posts will have content of 60% clinical work, 25% academic and 15% research.


We also had talks from Paul Ryan on the academic pathway (which sounds like it can be long and arduous!), Jean Cooper talked about CDS and what working in the salaried services is like and finally Alex Creedon talked about Specialty Doctor Grades. Before starting my DCT, I have never heard of Specialty Doctor or Staff Grades, but certainly in our Oral Surgery Department, a good 50% of the clinicians are staff grades. These are staff who are working not as part of a training post, but are salaried staff who may be working part time in hospital, part time in practice. For me, these grades seem very attractive as it allows you to keep a hand in hospital where you can develop your skills but it doesn't commit you to a training pathway if that is not for you!



I hope this brief overview of the afternoon has got you thinking about your own career pathway! It certainly got my brain ticking about the possibilities!


Did you attend the BDA careers day? What did you think? Where do you think your career is heading? Let me know in comments below!


Friday, 26 February 2016

MFDS Part Two - The Exam

So last week I sat the second part of MFDS exam following my completion of MJDF (see my post about this here). So how did the exam go?




So last week I sat my MFDS part two exam. If you're still unsure what MFDS is or if you should sit it see my previous post here

Despite sitting MJDF part one, I could still opt to sit MFDS part two. I chose to do this due to the timings of the exam as well as preferring the format of MFDS. The exam was held at London (despite being the Glasgow college holding the exam) and so was very easy for me to get to!  

Preparation Tips

You can only take part two after one year of experience after graduation (as well as sitting part one of either MFDS or MJDF). 

There are some example questions on the MFDS website and their questions each year are very similar. If you know someone with a bank of previous questions, hassle them to share it with you! Most of the situations are things you would come across commonly when working in a secondary care environment although most of the scenarios assume you are a GDP in general practice. 


Revision Hints for the Exam


Here are some of the question topics that come up a lot and from what I can remember from the exam:

  • Treatment options for closure of spaces in hypodontia patients
  • Dealing with patients who have undiagnosed disease after seeing other GDPS i.e. supervised neglect
  • Explaining treatment options for infraoccluded Es
  • Management of supernumerary teeth that are obstructing eruption of adult teeth
  • Managing patient whose bitewings got stuck in the developer
  • Management of patient with avulsed teeth
  • Breaking bad news e.g. suspicious lesions 
  • Managing patients with complex medical histories e.g. warfarin, prosthetic heart valves, bisphosphonates
  • TMJD
  • Treatment options for management of white spots
  • Explaining diagnoses of findings of full mouth PAs/DPT
  • Explaining RCT vs. XLA
  • Management of needlestick injuries

Format of the Exam


The exam was 2 hours long. It is made up of 12 stations, 10 minutes long each. There are 2 rest stations and therefore 10 examination stations. 

At each station there is an actor and an examiner. Prior to going into the station you have 2 minutes to read through the booklet information for that station which may have photographs and radiographs  - you can write on the booklet if you want. For some stations I finished slightly early, whereas with others I could've gone on for another 10 minutes!!

I think the main focus of the exam is to test your communication skills; not your clinical knowledge. So it's important to listen and empathise with the patient's concerns and explain treatment options clearly without jargon. 

For more information, see the MFDS RCSGS or RCSED website.

I hope this helps those who are thinking about possibly sitting the exam at the next rotation! Fingers crossed everything went well!


Did you sit the exam? What did you think of it? Please let me know in the comments below!


Friday, 12 February 2016

An Interview with SMILENOTES*

Have you heard of SMILENOTES

What is it? Why should dentists use it? I had the pleasure of interviewing Lee McMeeking, the founder of Smilenotes to find out the answers!



What is Smilenotes?


Smilenotes is a software program (or web-app) for dental professionals which runs in a web browser such as Chrome or Safari. It has a fresh and simple to use interface that allows you to write-up detailed and accurate clinical notes or reports effortlessly using templates. With a mouse click, you then transfer your finished notes to the practice software where you normally store them.

The site is new! It launched in January this year and is steadily gaining new users as more people discover it's time saving features.


Why did you start Smilenotes?


As a dentist I understand how difficult it can be working in a busy clinical environment. With so many demands on your time it can be tempting to cut corners with record keeping. One thing is for sure, there never seems to be enough time to write up your note and when you're working under pressure it's sometimes easy to forget to write down all the important things you should!

A complaint or claim against you is everyone's worst nightmare and it's at times like these when you'll be relying on having good records.

After doing numerous record card audits and analysing my notes, I often wondered whether there was a better and more reliable way to record all this necessary information. Typing each note by hand is extremely time consuming and you often end up writing the same thing over and over again. Sensible use of note templates together with careful customisation can rapidly speed up the task of record keeping whilst allowing a structured, accurate and unique report to be documented.

Many practice software systems already have facilities for using templates but they're often very cumbersome and can result in poor records. Like many dentists, I started using templates that I kept in a Word document, however this still proved to be quite awkward.

Talking to colleagues confirmed I wasn't the only one struggling with existing solutions so I decided to build my own! It needed to be fully customisable and simple to use. I wanted to allow the creation of unique patient notes in a convenient and methodical way. This would help ensure accurate information was reliably recorded by design rather than chance, making it possible to write great notes for every patient every time.


Who do you think would find Smilenotes most useful?


It's the perfect tool for busy dentists, hygienists and therapists to assist with record keeping. 

Anyone can use Smilenotes, so you don't need to be the practice owner and it works securely in a web browser alongside your existing practice software. By logging into your own personal account it works wherever you work. You can write up your notes quickly and easily by dragging and dropping your templates, then customising them to make unique patient notes.



How might Smilenotes affect the everyday practise of dentistry?


Smilenotes saves a huge amount of time, freeing you up to spend more time with your patients. More time chatting to patients and building up rapport can mean greater uptake of your treatment plans and less chance of miscommunication and complaints. So happier patients and happier clinicians!

Smilenotes has been carefully designed to help make it easier to capture the facts and get them recorded securely in your notes quickly.
With increasing litigation and probity, keeping accurate records has never been so important. Local health boards, indemnity insurers and regulators all expect you to keep a detailed account of patient interactions and quite rightly so. In the event of a claim being made against you, your notes provide factual evidence to support your decision making and your actions, including NHS claiming behaviour, patient advice given and your adherence to guidelines. Our software simply helps make it easier for you to keep accurate, clear, and contemporaneous records.

Smilenotes runs in the cloud so it creates new possibilities for bringing technology into the dental surgery. You can write notes using a tablet or desktop computer and if you're logged in on both devices Smilenotes will keep your notes perfectly in sync. Recording repetitive information such as LA batch numbers is also extremely straightforward and convenient thanks to our handy tools. Smilenotes allows you to colourise your template text which can make your overall note easier to read and edit. Notes are created in a modular way using our modern software, so by dragging and dropping, its very easy to rearrange and customise the individual templates that make up each note.

Using templates is a great way to write notes, but it's essential to keep things up to date. Being in the Cloud Smilenotes lets you access and edit your templates anywhere with an internet connection helping you keep them accurate and relevant at all times.


What are the plans for Smilenotes for the future?


We're passionate about bringing technology into the hands of dental professionals. Right now we're working on some exciting new features and are constantly updating and developing Smilenotes to make things even better. We hope to reveal some new features later on in the year so please follow us on Twitter or Facebook for our latest news and releases!


Sign up for your 30 day FREE trial here!

Let me know what you think of the program in the comments below!




*Sponsored post

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Business of Dentistry with Dr Leah Totton

Back last month I attended an evening of talks about the Business of Dentistry including a presentation with a previous winner of the Apprentice Dr Leah Totton

Dr Leah speaking at the event

Dr Leah is director of a cosmetic skin clinic in London which she founded alongside Alan Sugar after winning the apprentice. She spoke to us about the medico-legal issues with setting up a business in medicine, building up a brand and setting up your practice. 

As well as Dr Leah, one of this year's Apprentice candidates Jenny Garbis spoke about the different ways to fund your business and Simon Tucker from Practice Plan spoke about how to set up your first practice. There was also a guest appearance from Dr Nav Ropra who rounded up the evening with his usual inspirational self!

So what issues are there when setting up a medical business?


The market is becoming increasingly saturated with services; however cosmetic medicine is booming, with 72% of cosmetic procedures being performed are now non-surgical.  BUT there are challenges to overcome as the world of business is very different to the world of medicine:
  • How are you going to brand your practice?
  • What will be your USP (unique selling point)
  • How will you staff your practice and how to manage them?
  • What treatments will you provide? (Base this on the clinical effectiveness, the demand for this treatment and the margin you will make)
  • Will you have a website? How much are you going to spend on it?
  • If you are setting up a squat, you will need architects to help you comply to regulations e.g. CQC
  • How will you advertise? Be aware of Advertising Standards Agency regulations. How much are you willing to spend? Costs can spiral, consider the use of social media

Dr Leah recommended building solid foundations in your business - when you decide to scale make sure you quality scale i.e. don't run before you can walk!


Funding options for your business


Jenny has worked for many different start-ups and so understands the how businesses are set up including the importance of a good Business plan. But what options are there to get the funding? 

1. Personal savings/family or friends
2. Debt finance
3. Soft loans 
4. Bootstrapping
5. Consumer funding
6. Venture capitalism
7. Government support/public funding
8. Business angels
9. Crowd funding
10. Tax relief


The business side of Dentistry is something we are not directly taught at Dental School and certainly when I first graduated when it came down to the money talk with patients it was definitely something that I was not comfortable with. It's important to learn how to have these conversations and value the treatments we provide. 

90% of dentistry is performed in primary care in businesses that are on the whole run by individuals or partners (only around 8% of the market are corporates), so there are plenty of opportunities for dentists to become business owners. This may not be for everyone, but was definitely one of the reasons I chose to become dentist in the first place!

Thanks to all the speakers from the evening and to Ajay and the KCL Dentsoc for organising the event! 


Did you attend the event? What did you learn from the speakers? Let me know in the comments below!



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