Next year will see a seismic shift in dental education and professional development.

ECPD is soon to be a reality for dentists and will become so for dental nurses come August.

In essence, the CPD hours you accumulate will need to be intrinsically linked to a personal development plan – reflecting both your strengths and the areas you wish and/or need to develop in order to reach your full potential as a dental nurse.

With what you learn firmly cemented in the enhancement of your professional development, for those with a gap in their skillset, ECPD will highlight key needs. These new expectations are, therefore, an attempt at making it easier to plug such gaps with specific and meaningful learning.

As the GDC’s Chief Executive, Ian Brack says: ‘Having a better system for continuing professional development – with a much clearer emphasis on planning development, reflecting on learning and embedding that learning into current practice – ties in with prevention of patient harm element, which was one of the principles set out in Shifting the balance.’

So, not only does it improve the job prospects for dental nurses but it also makes the dental surgery a safer place for patients, too. By raising the bar when it comes to education, everyone benefits.

The trouble is, historically CPD has meant different things to different people – and, with an inherent tendency to ‘stick with what we know’, it has been tempting to remain static in professional development and re-learn what we know rather than expand on our knowledge base.


With these changes, the GDC is also seeking quality assurance when it comes to verifiable CPD. Journals such as ours seek to provide CPD that supports your need for valuable learning and we will continue to do so.

If there is a topic we haven’t covered in a while, please do let us know and we will do our best to provide relevant articles. Remember, there is also our website here where we have a catalogue of back issues into which you can dip as a subscriber to the magazine. We also offer other articles to enhance your career – that test and challenge pre-conceived ideas and profile dental nurses who have already built on their original qualification.

In this upcoming January issue, John Fowler discusses the need to embrace reflective writing – in your personal as well as your professional life – and ECPD. In essence, it forms part of the ‘Plan, Do, Reflect and Record’ cycle set out by the GDC, so it 's an essential read.

One dental nurse who has already seemingly adopted this approach to her learning is Paula Martin who kindly contacted us via Twitter and wrote: ‘Just thought I’d let you know I graduated in the Advanced Dental Nursing Degree (FdSc) from University of Kent. Ceremony was amazing and all the hard work paid off. Can’t thank you enough as I used so many publications from your wonderful magazine along the way. Thank you Dental Nursing.’

For all of you chomping at the bit to climb a few rungs in your own career ladder in 2018, a bumper subscription to our journal and articles here in the 'subscribers only' area might just be worth the investment.