Preparation For DF1 Year
After 5 years of dental school, one may think they’re totally ready to enter the world of work as a dentist, however the reality is far different. The DF1 year following dental school is crucial in establishing one’s career as a dentist. It helps to bridge the gap between student life and becoming a fully fledged clinician. There are a number of ways one can prepare for this year and this article will help touch base with a few of them.
1. Preparing during the final year of dental school
Preparation for DF1 commences in your final year of dental school when the process of choosing your practice begins. This process consists of a situational judgement test later followed by a clinical interview discussing cases at hand.
One will need to rank locations in order of preference and is subsequently awarded a DF1 place subject to their performance in the situational judgement test and latter interview. Different locations may present a different patient base and thus exposure to certain treatments in your DF1 year.
If an area is more inclined to attracting private treatments, one may have more exposure to restorative and aesthetic treatment for example whereas their colleague may have more exposure to procedures such as root canals, extractions and dentures in those demographic areas that are more deprived and have higher levels of tooth decay in their communities.
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2. The situational judgement test
The situational judgement test will present the dental student with a number of scenarios both clinical and non-clinical and as the name suggests, it’ll test how the student deals with everyday scenarios that may present in the dental practice. In preparation for this, it is essential that students study the GDC standards as well as familiarising themselves with the different members of the dental team, their roles, skill base and what they can and can’t do in practice. Members of the dental team must only work in their remit and the dentist being the head of the team should be well aware of the role of each of their members.
3. The clinical interview
The subsequent clinical interview will provide an opportunity for qualified clinicians to see your clinical abilities and how you may tackle a certain case that may be presented to you in practice. This section of the assessment will test your communication skills, analytical skills, diagnostic abilities and treatment planning. It will test you under pressure and see your ability to justify the choices you make. In preparation for this, attempt to go through as many everyday clinical scenarios as you can. Draft treatment plans and most importantly always justify your decision to ensure it is in the best interest of your patient.
Communication is key in your work as a dentist and thus this aspect will play a huge part in the assessment. Ensure you are coherent, logical in your approach and speaking in a way that a patient (if presented to you in the interview) will understand. Comprehension is vital and thus try to avoid using too much dental jargon with patients if you feel it’ll hinder their understanding of the procedure at hand.
Once the assessments are over and you’re given your place for DF1 and completed final year, it’s now time to enter the world of work.
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4. Establishing a good relationship with your trainer & associates
One may feel apprehensive and nervous but be reassured that your dental trainer for DF1 will guide you and be here for any assistance or queries you have during your year. Never feel you are working alone, your trainer and be it other associates in the practice will be happy to assist or discuss cases should the need arise.
In order to successfully get through the DF1 year, always seek help when you need it and never hesitate. Discussing clinical cases will help you improve and see ways to better treatment plans and outcomes for subsequent cases.
5. Workshops and weekly study days
Part of DF1 are a series of workshops and study days to compliment your clinical work and ensure you keep learning and progressing theoretically as well. Ensure you attend all of these as it provides an opportunity for you to touch base with your other colleagues at different DF1 practices and also go through different clinical cases, how you approached it and how others may have done things similarly or differently.
6. Confidence with humility
Lastly, be confident. You have completed five years of dental school and all the exams that go with it. You are ready to work as a qualified dentist. Know that dentistry fails and thus do not be disheartened if something doesn’t go to the exact plan as you hoped, but always justify all treatments and try your best. Your trainer is there to assist you, thus do not hesitate to seek help when needed and enjoy this new step towards your future career.