The role of the dental nurse has been changing in recent years as dental professionals look to make sure the staff they work alongside have as many skills as possible for use in a surgery.
Specialisation now allows those who wish to work as a nurse in a dental environment to perform increasing numbers of tasks in many different areas of an office, from working within the dental surgery to the reception and business administration areas of any dental business. Qualifications are now being made available through a number of different examining boards that are making it possible for any nurse to take on a role that suits their interests and requirements within any surgery. These qualifications can be chosen to progress the career of the nurse to a higher level of employment satisfaction.
The role of a nurse in a dental environment
A nurse choosing to specialise in a dental surgery often has a demanding role that takes in more than simply assisting the dental professional in any surgery. The role of the nurse often sees an early arrival in any surgery to open the office and ensure the surgery is prepared for the activities of each day; often the first to arrive at the surgery a nurse is also often the last to leave the surgery after closing the office for the day.
The traditional role of a nurse working in a dental surgery has been all encompassing for those who accept this role; the role of the nurse is not limited to working in the surgery with the dental professional, instead the nurse will often perform duties of an administrative nature or to provide support in the reception area. This part of the nursing role can lead to further educational opportunities being explored for those who find they have a knack for the administration field. Communication plays a key role in providing administrative and reception support for the surgery, which includes booking appointments and taking payments for services provided.
The initial nursing education
Prior to becoming a nurse a qualification must be obtained that is recognized by the General Dental Council, this initial qualification takes between 18 months and two years to complete and should conclude with registration with the GDC. In many cases, a dental surgery will provide support for those wishing to become a qualified nurse and release them from duties for one day per week to attend college courses.
Continuing education opportunities
The career of a nurse in a dental surgery is no longer limited to completing the initial education and seeing this as attaining the highest level of education and employment position possible. Instead, the GDC has now recognised a number of continuing education courses that allow a nurse to specialise in the areas of the profession they feel they are interested in. Among the opportunities a nurse has for progression in a career are courses in dental sedation, orthodontic nursing, and many more courses.
Dental nursing qualifications
The opportunities provided in dental nursing qualifications allow a nurse the chance to create a career specialising in various areas a dental surgery may offer services in. There are many different areas of education a dental nursing specialist can take part in, which can include exploring the opportunities offered in dental hygiene and therapy; the majority of dental schools now offer these courses that can lead to a BSc in dental nursing for the individual.
The movement of most dental surgeries to offer specialist services has been reflected in the career progression of a dental nurse who can look to specialise their training in areas such as orthodontic nursing. A qualification in orthodontic nursing, usually a diploma or certificate is often seen as a requirement for those looking to explore a career progression taking in dental therapy, hygeine, or technology. This qualification in orthodontic nursing is generally completed on a day release program from the surgery the nurse is already employed with.
Administrative career progression
In the 21st century, the career progression of a nurse is not limited to working within the surgery of a dental professional. Many nurses discover they enjoy working in an administrative role within a surgery as the continuing education opportunities offered in this career have been moved on to reflect the many administrative opportunities available in any dental environment. A good opportunity to explore for those who wish to work within an administrative role is a qualification in practice/hospital management, which can take in more specialist opportunities to develop business opportunities for the surgery. Administrative opportunities can lead to a career away from the surgery and more focused on business and reception based duties.
Teaching can also be explored
The career progression of a nurse in a dental environment can also include the opportunity to explore the chances of becoming a specialist in teaching dental nursing to the next generation of nurses. There are many different courses available for those who see this as their natural career progression can seek to obtain a certificate in the Lifelong Learning Sector or continue to a higher degree level in dental education that makes the nurse a specialist in their chosen career path.
Assistance from a dental surgery
Many dental surgeries are willing to work with their nursing employees in a bid to improve their standard of higher education. A number of options are often explored by the dental professionals and administrative staff at a surgery, including assisting in payments for the completion of a course of continuing education.
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