Dr Tashfeen Kholasi MFGDP(UK), Faculty Board Member and member of the College of General Dentistry's Advisory Strategy Group, explains how the new College will encourage collaboration and cohesion within the profession and promote dentistry's role in general healthcare.
For those of you who know me, I am a firm believer in connected health. I believe we should be working alongside our medical colleagues to provide holistic healthcare. My interest, coming from a digital background, means I look at the bigger picture first before narrowing down into component parts. This is where I have often found myself frustrated with dentistry in that we only ever look at our profession through one lens. Understandably, it is a multifactorial historical issue, we are just used to working in silos. However, when one looks at the rest of healthcare, we see our allied clinical teams working across boundaries and supporting each-others’ professions: from nurses and midwives to pharmacists, GPs, surgeons and mental health colleagues.
The pandemic has highlighted how dentistry can support the health service and provide a relevant skill mix. Dental professionals already have an excellent bedside manner and have experience in managing patients in acute pain to those suffering anxieties, and this management is not solely down to the dentist - it’s a team effort, everyone from the receptionist, the nurses, dentist, technicians, hygienist and therapists all have a part to play. Therefore, if we want to be connected to the healthcare service, we probably need to start working collaboratively as a profession – understanding each-others’ perspective by creating and developing opportunities to enhance skills. This is where I see the new College of General Dentistry (CGDent) developing a unique cross collaboration and cohesion of the dental profession. Bringing in structure and support to develop career pathways - either portfolio or specialism - for the whole team - which will mean complementing each-others’ skills, and importantly representing each role in the dental team in one place. There are many Royal Colleges, including those focusing on nursing and midwifery, but not one that supports dental nurses or any other DCP related to dentistry, even though there are over 70,0001 registered in the UK.
In addition, the CGDent is an opportunity to reflect the profession in the modern world, where dental professionals are paving new career pathways in digital technology, dento-legal, global health and humanitarian causes. We don’t have to look too far to see the portfolio careers dental professionals are creating for themselves, from online emergency consultation platforms (32-stories.com, emergencydentist4u) to apps such as Toothfairy and BrushDJ, to educational platforms such as Dentinal Tubules and Immersify Education, to services supporting the profession in dental compliance, stock inventory management, consent platforms and humanitarian causes such as DentAid, Smiles Across Nepal, MaasaiMolar, Smileawi and Den-Tech. These organisations are run by dentists or DCPs and need a home to engage with the profession and for the profession to explore opportunities and be inspired by different approaches.
The CGDent has started to work in collaboration with the profession, the Advisory Strategy Group is a dynamic mix of the dental profession, to bring diversity in to the new College from the four nations in terms of professionalism, ethnicity and experience. Members and Fellows will benefit academically, professionally and socially, such as through peer support, learning, mentoring as well as through member benefits. The CGDent is preparing itself to become the new home for general dentists and DCPs and wants your support through membership and fellowships to transform the profession for the modern era. Are you ready to be part of the change in Your profession?
1. GDC Registration Report 16/11/2020
https://www.gdc-uk.org/docs/default-source/registration-reports/11-registration-report---november-20204523c453-4627-456b-bf6e-578a468f4ddf.pdf?sfvrsn=2446c88f_9 accessed 14/12/2020
Faculty members can join the college as a Fellow (FCGDent), Full Member (MCGDent) or Associate for a small fee of £20. Full details of the membership scheme are available here.
As a UK-based Fellow or Full Member of the College of General Dentistry and the Faculty, you will be eligible for a discount of up to 8% on your individual subscription fees with Dental Protection. You can find out more information about the discount here.
Read more posts at www.fgdp.org.uk/deans-blog.