Dental nursing isn’t dying, it’s progressing

In response to ‘sexist’ comments about recruitment struggles in dental nursing, Preetee Hylton highlights why it is essential that employers have an attitude change.

Rebecca Silver responded beautifully to this incendiary article. In addition to this, I would like to mention a few points.

The (anonymous) author of the original article mentions the role of the dental nurses being predominantly female. I agree that it is.

Was it ethical to mention that one of the reasons of the so-called recruitment crisis is that us females choose to start families, and consequently, do not want to come back to work or wish to work part-time? Were they implying that there would be no shortage of dental nurses if the role was predominantly male?

I am not sure, but it does not sit right with me; I find the comment to be sexist.

The author also takes issue with the General Dental Council’s (GDC) regulation that dental nurses cannot be hired unless they are either qualified and registered or on an approved training scheme.

And why is that a problem? Is it not in the patient’s and public’s best interests that a qualified and registered individual is part of the clinical team providing dental care and oral health instructions?

‘The dental nursing role is progressing’

The author also challenges the qualified and registered dental nurse’s wage in London. An offer of £27k a year was on their advert but they still struggled to get candidates.

But what other incentives did they offer? Are they paying for the dental nurse’s annual retention fee and indemnity? Are there bonuses? Is there any opportunity to grow? Will they contribute towards any post-certification courses?

Will the dental nurse be treated with respect and compassion? And will they be supported should they need any help? I will not delve into the work culture of this practice, as the article speaks for itself.

Recently, Hayley O’Neill wrote an article about how low remuneration, no recognition and a lack of flexibility and career development is having a negative impact on the recruitment of dental nurses. But it seems to have fallen on deaf ears (of some employers).

According to the author of the article, the solution to their inability to hire a dental nurse seems to be removing the dental nursing qualification and GDC registration, only hire those who are unable or unwilling to bear children, and perhaps convert the dental nurse role into an entirely voluntary one (note the sarcasm).

It would help if they looked at their own attitude towards the dental nursing profession and worked towards changing it (while applying a growth mindset, instead of retreating back into the dark ages). Maybe then trying to recruit a qualified and GDC-registered dental nurse for their dental practice may become less of a challenge.

The dental nursing role is progressing and will continue to do so, regardless of the naysayers.

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