What is the most important investment for dental groups to make? New tenders? New surgeries? New equipment? In fact, the most important investment we make should be in the care of our dentists themselves.
Throughout my career, I have ensured that the training of new dentists remains firmly on the dental industry’s agenda. Through induction programmes for Foundation Dentists and the provision of a clinically-focused support network, dental groups have the unique ability to be able to offer guidance to the next generation of dentists and to aid them in career mapping. For me, career mapping is prevalent in focusing professional goals for dentists and driving success. Moreover, what should also be at the focus of all dental corporates, is the happiness of our clinicians. In order to provide the best possible care to patients, we must first provide the best possible care to our clinicians.
Instilling a culture of constant learning and developing is imperative within the dental industry. We must never remain complacent in the care that we provide, rather we must always be striving to deliver the absolute best. In the face of an evolving corporate climate, we must encourage our dentists to take every opportunity to further their knowledge and discover where their interests lie.
One of the most effective means of supporting new dentists is through effective career mapping. A means through which dentists are able to reach the full extent of their professional potential. What is paramount to this is creating an environment in which dentists are able to figure out which is the right path for them to follow. Whether this be the pursuit of specialist interests or short term courses, the feedback given to us by our FDs is to try everything. Take every opportunity, go on every available course offered. Furthering knowledge and expanding the skillset provides the foundation for the provision of exceptional dental care. Not only this, but each occasion also offers a chance for mentorship. Every dentist’s unique skillset offers a wealth of opportunity to learn and develop their own work.
This is why I am so passionate about the provision of clinical support to dentists and ensuring that new dentists are made aware of the importance of career mapping, which I covered more in a recent interview available here. Below offers an indicative timeline demonstrating the stages of career development for dental professionals:
Dentist career pathways
1-2 years – Early career Development
2-5 years – the next steps
5+ years – pathways and career mentors
What this reiterates is that dentistry remains a continuously evolving profession. As such our investment in dentists is not restricted to newly qualified dentists but also those embarking on postgraduate professional development. Postgraduate study, in whichever form that may be, establishes the basis for continued learning, training and specialising as a developing dentist. This then allows clinicians to pursue their own personal goals as well as widening the breadth of their dental provision. As a result, the care they are able to provide is constantly progressing also.
Intrinsically, dental corporates have a duty to support all clinicians throughout the duration of their career. Whether this be through career mapping with FDs or supporting dentists through their ‘Continuing Professional Development’, we must provide the working environment that facilitates growth in each of our dentists.
If this is the case, collectively as dental groups we should be constantly working towards improving the care that we give to our clinicians. What support do you offer your clinicians in their career development? What more do you think could be done to support clinicians that isn’t being done already?
Shalin Mehra, CEO & a Founder of Rodericks Dental