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News / April 29, 2010

UCC offers full-time dental nurse course

by Guy Hiscott

In November 2009, the Cork University Dental School & Hospital launched an initiative to offer full-time clinical training positions for student dental nurses to gain their clinical experience within the Dental School.

This initiative was introduced as a result of continued interest in the dental nursing profession by prospective students who were not employed as trainee dental nurses in practice, which is required to undertake the National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland, and whose preference was to obtain their qualification by studying full-time.

In the pilot of this venture, eight students were chosen from interview and offered clinical training placements in the Cork University Dental School and Hospital. These students attend the Dental Hospital on a daily basis where they obtain their clinical experience under the supervision of consultancy staff and registered dental nurses.

The students attend each clinic for a number of weeks and rotate to each area to gain experience in all aspects of clinical dentistry pertaining to dental nursing. In addition to this, these students undertake the National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland, where the didactic component of their study is delivered using a variety of teaching methodologies, including video conferencing and web streaming.

In the past few months these students have developed their skills to the highest of standards and they have integrated well with staff and students alike, by providing support and assistance in the clinical areas.

Professor Finbarr Allen, Dean of the Dental School, says: ‘This is our first intake of full-time dental nurse students at the Dental School and Hospital, and we are very pleased to be able to offer this training “in-house”. Aside from the expansion of training programmes on offer here, it allows dental students to work with dental nurse trainees and improves the understanding of four-handed dentistry and teamwork.  For all students concerned, the experience will prepare them for working in a general practice environment in a way that we haven’t been able to provide for in the past.’

Staff members have been quoted as saying that when the student dental nurses are on holidays ‘they are greatly missed in the clinical area’.

Overall this seems to be a positive experience for the student dental nurses and the staff of the Cork University Dental School & Hospital and they hope that this initiative will continue throughout the coming years in the Dental Hospital.

For more information in relation to this initiative, please contact Siobhán Murray Shakeshaft on 021 490 1160 or email