Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Foundation to Dental Core Training: An Update

It's been almost 2 years since I posted my original blogs about Dental Core Training... it's about time for an update! And what more excuse could there be than by contributing to a textbook about the process!

What changes have there been?

As with all postgraduate training posts, there are continual changes throughout the years as the recruitment process develops. These are the most significant changes since I applied:
  • The process, similar to most postgraduate recruitment, is now National Recruitment
  • The process includes a Communication Station with an actor, very similar to the DFT recruitment process. I did not have this when I applied for DCT
  • You will NOT be given the scenarios/main questions prior to the actual interview itself in order to make the process as fair as possible which had been trailed in previous years
  • There is a Situational Judgement Test! Boo! When I applied I only had to take part in a pilot SJT but now it is part of the application and again similar to DFT, is conducted on a different day
  • For DCT2 and 3 applicants there is a portfolio station where you MUST bring your portfolio to the assessment (I have blogged about what should be in portfolio here

How should I prepare?

I hope you have stumbled across some of my previous DCT posts to help give you an idea not only of how to prepare for the interview itself, but what can be expected from a DCT post and the options you have. 

Together with other previous core trainees, I have been able to contribute to the NEW 'Foundation to Dental Core Training' text book by Dr Kalpresh Prajapat and Dr Dima Mobarak. This is your A-Z of the process with example questions and scenarios and a must for anyone who is applying for DCT1, 2 or 3!

Get your copy now on Amazon here!

And of course make sure you read all the guidance on the COPDEND website which has all the need to know dates you should put in your diary.


Have you purchased the textbook? Did you find it useful? Let me know in the comments below. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Social Ventures Weekend with Cambridge Judge Business School

Back in November, my boyfriend and I attended a Social Ventures Weekend in at Cambridge  Judge Business School. We had been meaning to do this for a while as we have a few ideas of starting our own Social Venture. 

Cambridge Judge Business School - A polytechnic Hogwarts!

What is a Social Venture?

Social Ventures or Social Enterprises are companies or individuals (often referred to initially as Start-Ups), that exist to develop, find and implement solutions to solve social, cultural or environmental issues. Specific to my field of dentistry, we are hearing more and more about Social Enterprises in the Community Dental Services (CDS) i.e. private companies and not NHS trusts are winning tenders to provide CDS in certain areas e.g. CDS CIC.

Why was the weekend useful?

I don't think my brain has worked as hard in a long time. It was great to be able to chat to the other ventures who had chosen to come to the weekend and learn about some social and environmental problems I hadn't really come across or had much knowledge about. Some ventures were more established than other but it was reassuring to see that many, just like us, had come to investigate and explore an idea they had rather than already have a fully developed venture or business. 

The weekend allowed us to expand our thoughts about our venture and using a Business Model Canvas really helped us - especially with the help and input from some fantastic mentors. We also had the opportunity to quiz some of the Social Ventures who had entered the Incubator scheme offered by Cambridge Social Ventures. These included eco-friendly wax food wraps, an educational company helping Indian children and a cleaning service whose employees were the homeless. 

Throughout the 3 days we had several talks which were not only relevant to setting up Social Ventures, but the topics were also highly relevant to any sort of business (including running a dental practice!). These were:
  • Legal Structures and Governance
  • Finance
  • Market Research
  • Sales
  • Pitching
Team 'Dentrepreneur' sneaking a selfie in between lectures!

We came away heads buzzing with ideas and wallets full of business cards of everyone we had met! Many thanks to all the ventures for sharing your ideas with us, the speakers and mentors over the weekend and Cambridge Social Ventures - especially Tamzin and Belinda for all your hard work!

If you want to find out more about Cambridge Social Ventures or sign up to the next weekend, see their website. And watch this space regarding our Dentrepreneur project!

Have you been on the Social Venture Weekend or applied for the Incubator? What did you think?  Let me know in the comments below. 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Crisis at Christmas 2017

After last year's post about Crisis, of course it's clear that I wouldn't resist returning for another year volunteering to help the homeless population access dentistry at Christmas.

One of the dental vans in use this year

To learn more about Crisis, read my post from last year here

This year, I decided to volunteer at the other centre in South London and also on the set-up day. 

Setting-up Day

The first day that you can volunteer for Crisis at Christmas is the set-up day. Each centre (usually  at a school) needs to be made ready for guests to visit and stay over the Christmas period. For the dental team, this mostly is making sure the vans are ready to be used. 

I have worked on mobile dental units not only last year at Crisis, but also during my time working in my community dental service - but usually by the time I arrive, the van is all ready to go! The 2 vans donated by the community dental services (Kings, Bedford CIC, KCHFT) needed to be plugged and piped in. The process was useful for me to see especially as I am now heading out more in our dental van (in fact one of the vans donated to Crisis), so I can now rely on our drivers much less! 

We made sure not only each van was up and running, but also fully stocked up. As well as the vans, we also decorated the guest's waiting area with copious amounts of Christmas decorations that were kind donations. 

One of the most challenging parts of the day was setting up the decon area (a challenge for many dentists at the most of times!), in one of the school labs once we established how to turn the main water switch on. Aaaand with that we were READY!

Treatment Day

The next day, our Crisis team fully assembled with tinsel and wearing our best smiles, we set about treating the first Crisis guests of the year. 

I spent the morning on my van seeing whoever wanted to see us for whatever they may need or want! This included simple scale and polishes, fillings, extractions and I painted fluoride wherever I could. I loved chatting with the guests, especially learning about their backgrounds and personalities. Quite a few of the guests weren't British and required someone to translate especially when taking consent or filling in medical histories, but there were plenty of multi-lingual volunteers around. 

Despite it only being the first day, it was non-stop on the vans all day. In the afternoon, I split my time between running instruments between the vans and decon, attempting to sterilise instruments (and then immediately dropping them on the floor!) and drumming up business around the centre itself. 

Drumming up business also meant we got to check out what was going on in the rest of the centre, which included some classic karaoke and we spotted the hairdressers who seemed just as busy as we were!

I met some fantastic people in these 2 days and it was really nice to see everyone pull their weight and work together as a team so the service could run as smoothly as possible for the first day!

Our fantastic Crisis Team for Day 1

This year Crisis saw 431 guests of exams and treatment and amazingly this year for the first time ever, the other dental centre piloted a denture service which provided 24 dentures. Before this year, Crisis was unable to provide dentures for the guests and from my experience of seeing homeless patients so far, dentures are one of the most common requests when seeing a dentist. Thanks to DenTech for providing this service!

Once again, I had a fabulous time at Crisis and cannot recommend it enough if you have spare time over the Christmas period.

Bring on Crisis 2018!

Have you volunteered for Crisis Experience? What was your most memorable moment?  Let me know in the comments below. 

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