Just graduated and looking forward to starting VT? (after a well earned summer break of course!)
In the following article Hamzah Ahmed gives an insight into what to expect as a Foundation Dentist (FD) / Vocational Dental Practitioner (VDP).
Hamzah Ahmed, BDS | Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHamzah is a young enthusiastic graduate of Glasgow Dental School (2008-2013). Upon completing his undergraduate studies, he undertook Vocational Training in general practice at Knightswood Dental Practice in Glasgow. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep hold of him and he currently holds a CT1 (DF2) post in Forth Valley (PDS) and will be in the OMFS unit at Monklands Hospital from Feb 2015 onwards.
WHAT IS DFT?
“Dental Foundation Training”, or “Dental Vocational Training” as it is known in Scotland, is a post-qualification training period that introduces new graduates to general practice in a protected environment. It usually lasts 1 year and is mandatory for UK graduates to undertake in order to be able to work in the NHS.
The main aims of DFT are to give you a broad range of experience in all aspects of Dentistry, gain the relevant administrative skills and in turn, continue to maintain high standards so that by the end of the vocational training period you are confident and competent to begin working as an independent GDP.
Foundation Training also helps prepare you for examinations such as MFDS or MJDF and acts as a stepping stone for careers in primary dental care or further training posts leading to specialist training.
You are allocated a trainer who is an experienced GDP. They provide support and help whenever it is needed. It is a great time to identify personal strengths and weaknesses and to balance these differences through a planned training programme agreed with your trainer.
One of the benefits of DFT is to practice and improve your skills free from undue financial pressure and the opportunity to continue professional education and training. You will attend regular study days, carry out an audit on a topic of your choosing and present a case presentation at the end of the year.
Throughout the year you also have regular “LEPS” (Longitudinal Evaluation of Progress) which are observed assessments by your trainer (or external trainers) but this is something many of us will be used to from our time in dental school so it’s nothing to fear!
DFT is a great year to consolidate all that you have learned as an undergraduate and put it into practice. It can be a steep learning curve albeit an enjoyable one. I was fortunate to have an extremely supportive trainer during my time as a FD and learned a lot in one year. Leaving dental school and working in practice for the first time can be an extremely daunting thought. Going from treating 5 patients per day to 20 sounds like an impossible task but DFT allows you to be eased in to general practice, navigate your way through the myriad of rules and regulations of the NHS whilst naturally becoming quicker in the work you carry out as your confidence and experience grows.
Any other advice to a student about to start DFT?
What you put in is what you get out, so it is important to be pro-active and get stuck in right now. Never be afraid to ask your trainer for help, it’s what they are there for!