Dr David Jones passed his Endodontic training and exams in September last year however that doesn’t automatically make him a listed specialist with the general dental council, there is yet more paper work and forms to fill out. Earlier this month he found out that he had been listed on the general dental council as a Specialist Endodontist which is a huge achievement as it take a lot of work to become officially registered as a specialist in the UK. Here are a few words from him about what it takes to become a Specialist Dentist…
Earlier this month I finally became registered with the General Dental council as a Specialist Endodontist. Quite rightly, the GDC want to ensure that Specialists are appropriately trained to deliver high standards of care. This means that the criteria to become registered are pretty tough! I’ll try and explain the process involved in becoming a specialist – as you’ll see, it’s quite a challenge!
Entry onto a specialist training programme is a competitive process. The places on the programme are always over-subscribed, so applicants are selected based upon academic merit, work experience and quality of clinical work. It takes years to develop the right mix of skills for a successful application. I was fortunate to be selected following my first application.
My training programme had two components which ran simultaneously – an academic and clinical portion overseen by Kings College in London, and a second component which was under the supervision of the London Deanery. I studied part-time, over a four year period with around three days a week spent at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital. The course is self-funded so it’s also quite a big financial commitment!
The university component consists of treating patients in the hospital; this is under the supervision of experienced consultants and professors, as well as working closely with specialist trainees from other disciplines to manage complex combined cases. There are weekly seminars which deal with the science behind root canal treatment, as well as how knowledge in the field is developing. Regular written examinations, as well as structured assessments of clinical work help develop knowledge and skills throughout the training process.
One of the most challenging aspects of the programme is the much-feared research project. My research took years to complete, but it feels worthwhile now that it has been published in the Journal of Endodontics – one of the most respected journals in the field.
After four years of hard work I finally completed the training programme in September 2014. I was delighted to be awarded an MClinDent with a Distinction.
The Deanery component consists of annual review meetings with external experts to ensure that training is progressing as expected. The number of cases and the complexity of the case-mix are appraised along with training goals for the following year being set.
One of the final hurdles is the membership examination of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MEndo RCSEd), which is the exit examination for specialist training. This is an extremely tough exam which has written and oral components. The exam covers theory and science, clinical endodontics and treatment of multidisciplinary cases. The exam is based upon clinical work, research and knowledge of the topic.
Once all the exams are out of the way the Deanery has the final say as to whether or not the standard of a specialist has been reached. Fortunately in my case they were happy with my progress! The Deanery wrote to the GDC to advise them that everything was in order, after which the GDC invited me to apply for the specialist register.
I was extremely relieved when I got my certificate of registration in the post a couple of weeks ago. It’s the culmination of five years of hard work, which at times felt like it was never going to end!! I’ve now got three degrees after ten years at university. I have no intention of doing a fourth!!
I owe everyone at Woodborough House a huge debt of gratitude for supporting and putting up with me throughout the training process. I couldn’t have done it without them!!
You’ve Waited Long Enough
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