Young dentists face so many pressures in the modern dentistry world. Dentists are graduating with limited clinical experience, whilst patient expectations and demands are at their peak. Accompanied with rising indemnity costs and GDC fees and increased student debt, it can be a tough environment to work within.
I stood for the BDA’s Young Dentists Committee, as I wanted to help make positive changes and improvements to working life as a young dentist. Taking part on this Committee enables me to champion the needs and wants of my peers and represent them at a national level.
If you want to make changes to your working life which cannot be controlled individually, then get involved with the BDA: joining a committee such as this one will help you to voice your concerns and make that change a reality.
I think it is important to gain a wide array of experience in different sectors and services of dentistry early on in your career, I advise you think beyond the usual, and branch out, explore. Doing this will not only highlight your strengths and weaknesses and enable you to determine what you really enjoy, but will also give you a broad range of skills that potential employers are looking for.
Even if you do not think a particular field of dentistry is for you, you may be pleasantly surprised. After having worked in general dental practice and in the hospital service, I realised the Community Dental Service (CDS) was the only area of dentistry I had not yet experienced.
Not only have I gained a mass of different experience, I have been fortunate to work alongside some of the most skilled and inspiring clinicians who have imparted valuable knowledge and advice.
The skills and knowledge I gain from the CDS will benefit me in any career path I decide to take in the future. I have learned more about patient communication and behaviour management here than in any other post I have worked within.
Additionally, there are so many opportunities to build and enhance skills such as conscious sedation techniques, general anaesthesia, and participating in epidemiology surveys and school inspections.
Helping people who cannot help themselves is incredibly rewarding, and together with the opportunity to make a real difference to the local community is what gets me up in the morning.
Learning and sharing
I believe sharing experiences creates an environment for learning. Dentistry is about lifelong learning, so we can consistently provide our patients with effective clinical treatment options. To me, sharing my experience by writing stories and tell people about what I’ve done, is really important to me and I hope it helps other young dentists think about their futures and start planning ahead.
The BDA can only flourish and thrive if we take part in it – if you want to take control of your career and your future, then I encourage you to take part.
Nikki Patel, BDA Young Dentists Committee