A Week in the Life of a DCT: Community/PDS in Glasgow with Eimear Doran

So here is another entry for this year's DCT competition by Eimear Doran...
Eimear, a DCT1 in Glasgow based in Community/PDS
I’m a DCT1 in Community/Public Dental Services in Glasgow. Sadly, I’m coming towards the end of this rotation but looking forward to my next 6 months in Oral Surgery at Glasgow Dental Hospital. I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2019 and completed DFT in Chester. 

Initially, my aim for DCT was to develop Oral Surgery techniques to enhance surgical and extractions skills that could be used in general practice. However, working in Community has introduced me to a whole field of dentistry that I would now consider pursuing!

Allow me to ‘extract’ a typical week in my PDS post.


To start off the week, I normally attend a Special Care Consultant Clinic. Work ranges from assisting in new patient assessments to ward visits and domiciliary care. Patient needs vary too, and I care for those suffering with mental health issues, immunocompromised patients and patients with learning difficulties. I recently treated a patient with Marfan's syndrome ensuring that he was dentally fit prior to his aortic root surgery. This was something I had only encountered before in dental textbooks!

Dealing with patients with complex medical diagnoses has greatly improved my history taking skills, and I have gained confidence in managing and completing clinical procedures. Special care dentistry highlights the importance of communication, problem-solving skills and the ability to adapt to each patient’s needs.


I work at the Emergency Dental Clinic treating unregistered, walk-in patients. In this busy clinic, I can be confronted with a range of issues from trauma, facial swellings to ‘Turkey teeth’, and my decision-making ability has developed accordingly. 

I also assist in telephone triaging patients before they attend. I am sure everyone in dentistry now knows what is involved with triage, thanks to the impact of the Covid pandemic on our profession. However, triage has enhanced my ability to take thorough pain and medical histories and taught me also how to appropriately manage patients, e.g. by referring them to the correct department within the PDS.


At the Paediatric Outreach placement I assist in teaching undergraduate dental students through tutorials and clinical supervision. It has only been a few years since I was in their shoes but now, I’m imparting knowledge and completing their Liftupp feedback! 

In this clinic, patients are first assessed to deem the most appropriate treatment option using GA, IHS or with LA +/- wand, and then are given preventative advice and treatment. Behaviour management is imperative in paediatrics. Of course, patients are always our number one focus, but patience itself is an important quality in this setting!


My post includes Paediatric GA extractions, which is one of my favourite clinics, although it can be disheartening doing multiple extractions on very young patients. While daunting at first, after a few months in, I’m more confident in carrying out the procedure for each patient from start to finish. 

I also attend Special Care GA sessions where only 1 to 2 patients are treated as more comprehensive care is required. Typically, this work entails examination with radiographs followed by treatment which may not be definitive until the patient is sedated!


Finally, to end the week, I work at a brand-new setting for 2020…the AGP Clinic! This involves treating unregistered emergency patients, usually needing extirpations, who had previously been assessed and consented to an AGP. Who would have known when starting out on our careers that we would have to wear such fashionable outfits just to do a scale!

As Covid-19 has impacted many aspects of our lives, it has also affected certain areas of training. However, I’ve still gained so much invaluable knowledge and had the opportunity to work with a variety of supportive teams.

The diverse clinical experience I’ve gained is one of the main reasons I would encourage anyone to apply for DCT. No two weeks are ever the same! Even for those not considering a specialisation, it’s an amazing opportunity to transfer skills and experiences into general practice. 

To ENTER YOUR SUBMISSION: email your submission via the contact page on the blog - DEADLINE February 28th 2021

Do you have any questions about DCT or the competition ? Let me know in the comments below. 

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